How to ripen plums?

In the brief guide, we are going to answer the question ‘how to ripen plums’ with depth analysis of which safety measures we should follow to safely ripen them.

How to ripe plums?

Place them in a brown paper bag with a banana or an apple and close the top to speed up the ripening process. This produces ethylene, a compound that speeds up the ripening process. Unripe plums will ripen in about two weeks.

What steps should we take to ripen the plum?

Fill a clean paper bag halfway with plums

  • Any paper bag will suffice, as long as it is empty of all contents except plums. When plums (and other fruits) ripen, ethylene is released. Placing them in a paper bag with the top folded over keeps the gas close to the plums, accelerating ripening.
  • Put a ripe banana in the bag with the plums for an even faster method. The banana’s extra ethylene will cause the plums to ripen quickly.
  • Put the plums in a paper bag, not a plastic bag. Using a nonporous bag will prevent fresh air from entering, resulting in a strange taste in the plums.

Place the bag in a cool, dry place

  • The plums will ripen best if kept at temperatures ranging from 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Continue to keep them at this temperature until they are fully ripe.
  • Avoid storing the bag in a sunny window, as this will cause the plums to overheat. If the plums get too hot, they will rot.
  • Similarly, storing plums in the refrigerator or at a cold temperature before they are ripe will result in chill damage. A chill-damaged plum will never become juicy and sweet; instead, it will be mealy and tasteless.

Check the ripeness of the plums. 

  • To determine when your plums are ripe, lightly press the skin with your finger. The plum is probably ripe if you make a slight indentation in it. If it’s still difficult to touch, you’ll have to wait a little longer. If the plum’s skin is punctured by your finger at the slightest touch, the process has gone too far. Here are a few more methods for determining ripeness:
  • Examine the skin’s texture. As the plums ripen, they start to look dusty.
  • Touch the tip of a plum. When it’s finished, that area will be softer than the rest of the plum.

What can you make with sour plums?

There are a few things you can do with unripened plums that aren’t yet sweet. To make plum pickles, place them in a glass jar and pickle them. For a quick chow dish, cut them into small slices and soak them in pepper sauce and salt.

What does a plum look like when it’s ripe?

The majority of plums sold in supermarkets are of the purple variety and should be a deep, even colour. Ripe plums should have a sweet, fruity aroma. Finally, touch the plum. When it’s ripe, it should be semi-soft and give slightly when squeezed.

Will plums ripen on a kitchen counter?

Plums ripen well on a countertop when kept at room temperature. Plums develop an unpleasant mealy flavour when exposed to cold temperatures.

Avoid placing plums in direct sunlight because heat can cause plums to rot. Place plums in a paper bag and close the top to speed up the ripening process. 

Fruit ripens and emits ethylene gas; a closed paper bag naturally traps this gas and speeds up the ripening process.

Do plums ripen after being pickled?

Though each variety is unique, some ripen faster than others after being picked. After picking, all types of plums will continue to ripen.

Some sources claim that European plums are superior to Japanese plums for home ripening, but the evidence is purely anecdotal.

Plums ripened on the tree are always the best tasting, but if you don’t have any other options, letting plums ripen slowly on the kitchen counter at room temperature is a close second.

Will plums ripen if picked too soon?

Yes, tree-ripened plums will always be the sweetest and creamiest, but most plums are harvested too early. Plums will overripen and spoil quickly due to their high moisture and sugar content.

Is it safe to consume unripe plums?

Plums, apples, grapes, papayas, and bananas are classified as “probably safe to eat when unripe.” Green plums are considered a delicacy in many countries. These plums are high in fibre, which your body requires in small amounts. If you eat too many unripe plums, you’ll get a stomach ache.


In the brief guide, we discussed answering the question ‘how to ripen plums’ with depth analysis of which safety measures we should follow to safely ripen them. 


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Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.