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Apples - Apricots - Nectarines - Peaches - Pears - Persimmons - Plums

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Apples should have smooth, firm, unbroken surfaces free of bruises and blemishes. Some apples may have a brownish freckled surface on skin, usually caused by weather, but flavor is unaffected. 

To keep apples crisp, store refrigerated, in a plastic bag (to retain moisture).

To determine ripeness of apples in order to pick them from the tree, the following indices of maturity are known:
1. Days from full bloom. This is relatively constant from year-to-year in stable climates, but not as good where climate can vary greatly from year to year. Some cultivars mature in as little as 100 days, where others may take 180-210 days. 
2. Flesh firmness. Apples soften as they mature, so the force which results in flesh yielding is a worthy criterion for ripeness (pressure tester). 
3. Soluble solids. This measures the sugar content of the juice, which increases as apples ripen. Alone, this is an unreliable indicator since many factors influence sugar content. It is used in conjunction with days from full bloom to determine maturity. 
4. Starch test. Starch is broken down into sugars during ripening, and a quick iodine stain test on a half-cut apple can be used to indicate how far along this process has occurred. Often used on stored apples to assess remaining shelf-life.

For more information on apples click here.


Choose apricots that have a beautiful blush and are firm in texture. Apricots are orange-yellow when ripe. If you want to ripen immature apricots, keep them in a brown paper bag. Keep them at room temperature until they are slightly soft. 

Storage: one week, refrigerated. 

To determine ripeness of apricots in order to pick them from the tree, the following indices of maturity are known:
1. Firmness is a reliable indicator, as for plums. Apricots for fresh consumption are picked firm-mature, since they are far too soft for shipping if allowed to approach ripening on the tree. It is said that proper flavor never develops in fruit picked prior to physiological maturity.
2. Days from full bloom is a fairly reliable index given the relatively invariable growing conditions. 

For more information on apricots click here.

Nectarines - see peaches.


If you buy peaches look for ones with a creamy to gold undercolor that indicates ripeness. The amount of red on peaches depends on the variety, it is not always a sign of ripeness. Find fruits that have a well-defined crease and a good fragrance. Peaches with a green undercolor are not ripe and will not ripen because peaches and nectarines only ripen well  on the tree. Peaches are ripe when they give to gentle palm pressure. Green coloring indicates immaturity. Shriveling at the stem end or excessive softening are indications of overripe peaches.

You can keep peaches and nectarines for one to three days but you have to be very careful, one small bruise and it will go bad on that spot.

To determine ripeness of peaches and nectarines in order to pick them from the tree, the following indices of maturity are known:
1. The best index for peach today is ground color; red color is a function of cultivar and light exposure and therefore not a good index. Color "chips" were developed at Clemson University, which are standard colors painted onto cards, used to train harvesters. Ground color of fruit changes from green to straw-yellow during ripening, and fruit that match color chip 3 (out of 6) are mature enough for harvest. Fruit picked too early ( chip 2) never develop full flavor and texture, and may develop a condition called woolly texture or woolliness, characterized by mealy texture, and the absence of juice or flavor.
2. Firmness and days from bloom can also be used to estimate maturity. 

For more information on apricots and nectarines click here.


To check for ripeness press gently near the stem end. If it yields slightly, it's ripe. 
Pears are one of the unique kinds of fruits that ripen best off of the tree. If allowed to ripen before they are harvested, their smooth, delicate flesh often becomes 'gritty'. If you have to ripen the fresh pears that you purchased put them in a fruit bowl or paper bag at room temperature. Not all pears turn yellow as they ripen. Aside from Bartletts, which turn from green to bright yellow, or Red Bartletts that change to a bright crimson color, most pears show little or no change in color as they ripen.

To determine ripeness of pears  in order to pick them from the tree, the following indices of maturity are known:
1. European pears are harvested when "firm mature", stored immediately, and then allowed to ripen for several days prior to fresh consumption. When fully ripe, European pears have the typical "melting" flesh texture, and full development of flavor. Asian pears however, are similar to apples, and are harvested closer to physiological ripeness, and placed in cold storage. Flesh firmness is the single most reliable indicator of pear maturity. Firmness in the range of 10-15 lbs as measured by a pressure tester is desirable for most cultivars. This is often combined with days from full bloom or degree days for greater accuracy. In lieu of a pressure tester, one may observe when fruit lenticels turn from white to brown, and when skin color begins to lighten; at this stage, pears can be picked without shriveling. 

For more information on pears click here.


Choose smooth brightly-colored Persimmons that are plump. Ripen at room temperature and store refrigerated for several days. Then simply rinse, peel and slice.


Choose plums that have a beautiful blush and are firm in texture.

Storage. Plums have similar storage characteristics and problems as peaches, cherries, and apricots. They can be stored from 2-3 weeks at 32 F and 90% RH. 

For more information on plums click here.

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