Will Strawberries Ripen On The Counter?

After bringing strawberries home you found out it was hard and tasted terrible. Unsure what to do you may asking yourself, will strawberries ripen on the counter?

Strawberries will not ripen on the counter because when they are picked the ripening process stops. Strawberries are a non-climacteric fruit which means when they are harvested and picked, they stop the ripening process.

If you have just bought yourself some strawberries that aren’t fully ripe yet, don’t worry. In this article, we’ll tell you what you can do with them instead of throwing them out.

Why Don’t Strawberries Ripen On The Counter?

strawberries in a container on the counter.
Strawberries on the counter

As a Certified Health Coach many clients ask me about food storage including strawberries. Also, I purchase and consume them almost every day. Therefore, I have researched this topic in the past and present. Let’s examine the storage methods closely.

Much like most fruits, a strawberry starts out with a very high acidic content and a very low sugar content. The ripening process is where the ratio between the sugar and acid levels balance out and you start getting more sugar content. Once a berry has been picked from its stem, this process stops because the berry stops receiving nutrients from the tree 1.

Once the strawberry has been picked, it stops receiving a higher sugar content and what happens is, the sugar then starts to ferment in the strawberry. So instead of the strawberry becoming riper, it stays in its current state until it starts going bad.

Picking the best, ripe strawberries are only the beginning. Once you have them home, you’ll want them to last as long as possible. I used to throw so many away but not anymore.

I have a blog post on this exact topic which you can check out by clicking right here, This Is How To Store Strawberries For Best Results.

How To Tell If A Strawberry Is Ripe

Now that you know strawberries won’t ripen on the counter, you probably want to know how to pick only ripe ones in the supermarket 2. In addition, you’ll need the same information if you’re picking them from a strawberry tree.

Luckily with almost all strawberries, there’s a universal way to tell if they’re ripe or not. In this section, we’re going to take a look at what a strawberry would look like if it’s ripe. In addition, what one would look like if it’s unripe 3. Therefore, let’s get into it.

unripe strawberry on the plant.
An unripened strawberry

A Strawberry Is Ripe When:

  • The strawberry will be firm to the touch, and it will require a little bit of pressure to make an indentation in the strawberry when you squeeze it 4.
  • The strawberry should be a bright red color. However, some strawberries do stay a dark orange color and never turn fully red.
  • The leaves of the strawberry at the top will be a bright green color. That is universal regardless of which strawberry you have.

A Strawberry Is Unripe When:

  • If the leaves at the top of the strawberry are not green. This could mean they are either unripe or overripe. You’ll be able to tell this difference easily. If the leaves are dead, it could mean that the strawberries overripe. If they’re not dead, the strawberry is probably unripe.
  • If there are any white and/or green lines or stripes on the strawberry, it could mean they are underripe. However, most strawberries do have a slight white circle on the top of the strawberry coming from where the stem would be. This is perfectly normal and most of the time, you don’t eat that part of the strawberry anyway.

Find out if strawberries or blueberries are healthier in my article, Strawberries vs Blueberries: Which is Better? A Comparison.

Is It Bad To Eat Unripe Strawberries?

If you have just bought or picked a few unripe strawberries, you might be considering whether or not you should eat them. Let’s take a look if it is safe to do so.

Eating strawberries that are still white or green, and not red at all, is not good for you and not recommended. Your strawberries are typically safe to eat if they look like the following:

  • Are mostly red and have areas of light red.
  • Have a little bit of white, yellow or green around them. 

If they’re not completely red but safe to eat, they won’t taste as good as if they are all red. In addition, you’ll be getting a higher acid intake from them which could cause heartburn.

It’s important to remember that berries, when unripe, can be poisonous. Luckily this isn’t that bad when it comes to strawberries. The following are a few things you may experience if you eat white or green strawberries. These are only in extreme cases.

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea 

Find out if raspberries or strawberries are better in my article, Raspberry vs Strawberry: Which is Better? A Comparison.

If you have any questions to ask me about this article don’t hesitate to comment below or email us. You can find an email on our contact page.

Read Next – More Strawberry Articles!

Cherries vs Strawberries – A Complete Comparison

Will Strawberries Ripen on the Counter?

5 Strawberries That Have the Best Taste

Can You Store Blueberries and Strawberries Together?

Can You Store Strawberries and Blackberries Together?

Can You Store Strawberries and Grapes Together?

  1. ScienceDirect: Fruit Ripening[]
  2. University of Kentucky: Strawberries[]
  3. University of Illinois Extension: Strawberries & More[]
  4. USDA: Strawberries: When are Strawberries in Season?[]

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