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Fruits these days... goes bad before ripening

It's been over 4 years now that I've noticed that almost all fruits go bad instead of ripenning.

Is it just me or is anyone noticing this? I'm not one of those people who forgets about their fruit, I watch it all the time and this issue is getting out of control, it's a waste of money and produce.

Have these fruits been frozen somehow that do not allow them to ripen normally once thawed out? I check the stickers to see where they come from (Pears/south africa and they always go bad!)
They look perfect and firm and then they just never hit ripe but go straight to bad, from the inside out!

I've tried to stick to buying local, so Ontario fruits only but you know the peaches have done the same thing to me in the last few years, they're not like they used to be when I was a kid.

What's going on?? I've just about had it with some fruits that I won't even buy them, it's really sad.
Please share your stories or tell me if you've noticed the same thing.

I avoid the Loblaws superstore as their fruit is really already going bad in there but my no frills has a great selection and everything looks beautiful but once I buy it it simply does not ripen, even in the store there is evidence of fruits not ripening properly as I've picked up a bruised rotting fruit that looked perfect on the outside once or twice right at the front stand.

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  1. I have had exactly the same problem and same complaint for a number of years now...it doesn't always happen but it does Very often. I am very careful how I pick my fruit too.

    1. And vegetables too. Onions that rot on the inside first after a few days indicate a business that's freezing their unbought grocery items. Not good!!

      2 Replies
      1. re: arktos

        Yes! I noticed this in the last few times I bought onions. I assumed it was from this and last year's weather, onions were affected bad but now I don't know. Freezing does seem to cause problems, I'm starting to question my supermarket's practices.

        1. re: arktos

          I've noticed this as well. I just got back from Mexico, and at their local outdoor markets, their white onions are absolutely beautiful - spotless, firm, even. I get back to the US and they are rotting in the bin at the store. Something's up.

        2. Have you tried the brown paper bag trick? Especially for stone fruit. Stick them in a brown paper bag (tightly closed) for 2-3 days on the counter. Keep them from touching each other. Works great.

          1 Reply
          1. re: waking1

            I'll try it and see, but I'm not really looking to have them ripen quicker but just ripen properly without going from unripe to rotten without a stage in between.

          2. I suspect it has to do with being picked too green. Since you've done it for awhile, I assume you have a method that's worked and that you know about ethylene gas and such. Most fruits will ripen off the tree, some (like pears) have to to be good, but they have to be to a certain point when picked for it to work.

            1. As for mangoes? I give up. They morph from under-ripe, rock-hard oblate spheroids into mango jerky, with no juicy in-between. For many fruits, you have to be pick-it close or forget it.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Veggo

                I have strarted reading a book titled, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" a year of food life, by Barbara Kingsolver. This is about food, where it gows, and how we have gotten so very far away from the truth of it's origins. Really an eye opener as well as a great story of change.

              2. The other day, I walked by the local Greenmarket in Brooklyn. I usually resist the high priced produce they offer, but they had tasting samples of the fruit they were selling and I bought 3 nectarines for $3.60. Though pricey, I have to admit that, after ripening, they were the sweetest, juiciest pieces of fruit I've purchased in a while.

                1. I've spoken with storeowners here in NYC and the consensus seems to be thumbs down for MOST of the Canadian produce we receive here in the states. One store owner in particular singled out Kabocha squash and voiced his disappointment with it stating that it spoils too quickly (especially for a squash). Maybe it's how the produce is grown in Canada? Maybe a gross misuse of hydroponics perhaps? I don't have those answers for you, but in these past months OUR local produce fortunately has been good.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Cheese Boy

                    Wow! I had no idea! That is sad. Ontario produces quite a bit that I know we're eating here, but I had no idea that it's exported and "not so good" in other places.

                    Veggo, I know what you mean about the mangoes!! I've not bought one in years and if I do it's usually just to eat green or make a thai style salad, it's useless waiting for it to ripen, occasionally there will be a ripened one in the stash at the store and I give it a good check and if it looks sound I'll buy it and eat it right away.
                    Everything mentioned above is very interesting, I don't know if they're freezing, using gases, or creating stronger more resistant fruits and vegetables that perhaps just dont taste or act natural anymore but it's something we need to look into and figure out.

                    I would prefer to have some good fruit seasonally than all year round honestly, I just want good fruit.

                    1. re: BamiaWruz

                      Once fruit is off the tree it does not continue to mature (ripen). It will most likely get softer, and may develop a bit of juice, but it does not get "riper." As they say, "...look it up."

                      Vegetables like tomatoes (OK, I know that botanically it's a fruit) have been bred to have less juice, tougher skins, and uniform shapes to facilitate machine picking. They are harvested in an unripe condition, gassed to retard ripening, and shipped in vast containers to stores far, far away. No wonder they taste like styrofoam.

                      1. re: Mayor of Melonville

                        So we're supposed to eat that fruit as is? Hard pears and green mangoes?

                        I think I know what you mean now about fruits not ripening after being picked, but what does this mean then? Are they supposed to supply ripe fruit in supermarkets to buy.

                        Fruits like pears, nectarines, peaches, mangoes, pineapple are usually bought unripe.

                        1. re: Mayor of Melonville

                          Pears ripened on the tree will spoil. They are always picked unripe.

                      2. re: Cheese Boy

                        Here in southern Quebec I am ecstatic over the quality of our fruits and vegetables. After many years in Chicago it is comforting to know my taste buds still work and celery not only has a taste it is very tasty. With regards to the problems incurred by NY purchasers of our products. Quebec has extremely strong prohibitions with regards to the use of pesticides, fungicides and herbicides. With the abundance of rich muck soils in Quebec hydroponic products other than the orchids from the Lac St Jean region which are grown way up north using the heat produced in aluminium smelting.
                        If you have a chance to buy any Quebec grown vegetables I suggest you get them. Canada is a very large country and as with the USA the quality may vary from region to region. The quality of the Ontario fruit crop (peaches, plums, nectarines) has been excellent this year but because of its high sugar content must be eaten asap. The higher the sugar content the better the fruit or vegetable but the quicker it spoils. The onions, carrots, rutabagas this year have been very sweet I suggest they be processed or consumed asap but they are very good
                        If you want onions, potatoes and produce that doesn't spoil I would suggest Idaho as a source of veggies that don't go bad as there is very little in them to nourish bacteria and fungi. Stuff grown in chemically fertilized sand seldom goes bad..

                      3. I am trying to support local farms and only eat what is in season. I am fortunate to have put in a decent size garden and am canning what I can for the winter. I remember when there was only seasonal food, oh so many years ago. We have been fooled into thinking that everything is always in season now, because it is shipped from all over the place. Back to basics for me and my family, eating what is growing down the road or in my own garden whenever we can.

                        1. I believe it's all to do with very early picking - particularly for fruits which are imported from considerable distance away. It's a problem we constantly have in the cold climate of northern Europe, with many of our fruits being imported from more tropical countries.

                          Local and seasonal is the only practical way to avoid this - but, for many of us, that would mean never eating certain fruits

                          1. I just tossed a whole bunch of Frankenfood bananas. Purposely bought 'em a bit greener than usual, since I still had a couple of ripe bananas. These sat on the counter for 2 weeks (they became an experiment) and never turned 1 shade from the all-green. We finally wondered if they EVER changed colors, would we really want to eat them? Got chopped & put into the compost.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: pine time

                              Were they actually cavendish bananas? Most banana types don't ripen/color in the same manner as a cavendish.

                              1. re: jgg13

                                Yup, regular Cavendish. I do buy elachis (which I can find them) and other types, too, but these were just bizarre.

                            2. This topic immediately made me think of Eddie Izzard's take on it all:

                              "Pears can just fuck off too. 'Cause they're gorgeous little beasts, but they're ripe for half an hour, and you're never there. They're like a rock or they're mush. In the supermarket, people banging in nails. "I'll just put these shelves up, mate, then you can have the pear." … So you think, "I'll take them home and they'll ripen up." But you put them in the bowl at home, and they sit there, going, "No! No! Don't ripen yet, don't ripen yet. Wait til he goes out the room! Ripen! Now now now!"

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Cachetes

                                This is hysterical!!! Thank you for posting it, I got such a good laugh out of it because its true. hehe.

                              2. I agree with you completely Bamia. I noticed this with my Ontario peaches this year, but I've also experienced this many, many times with avocadoes and apricots. They would be firm on the outside, but black/brown on the inside. Yuck. I've all but given up on buying either of these fruits, which is unfortunate since a good avocado or apricot is a beautiful thing.

                                The first time I had a tree-ripened banana (during my travels to Vietnam) was a complete revelation...

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: obiter_dicta

                                  About the Avocado, YES!! I buy them a lot and oh goodness how many times have I cut into a black one, it looked great and firm in the supermarket and perfectly dark skinned and sound at home but it was kinda bad on the inside.

                                  I didn't make that connection with the Avocados but now I am starting to think about it. Maybe we should eat them sooner, I really have no idea.

                                2. I don't know how true it is, but I have been told that cold storage destroys fruits and vegetables. The fruits & veggies are picked well before they are ripe, and kept in cold storage and shipped in climate controlled trucks. Once they hit the supermarkets they are periodically sprayed with a combination of water and perservatives. By the time you take them home, and they are exposed to just "regular" air they start to rot. Unfortunately fruits are grown now to travel better than they are grown for taste. Heres an experiment put fresh flowers next to your store bought
                                  fruit (especially bananas) and see how long your flowers last.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: kpaumer

                                    Varies some- refrigeration harms the flavor of tomatoes, and destroys bananas and avocados, doesn't harm a lot of others. I don'[t think they add anything to the water they spray on vegetables in stores, at least not in California.

                                    1. re: oldunc

                                      I never put tomatoes in the fridge Anymore, I'be become a snob about it and they stay on the kitchen table but they do ripen awfully fast from hard to soggy in a matter of two days or so, it's just incredible, and all at once so I'm stuck with a whole lot!

                                    2. re: kpaumer

                                      Seems very much like this could be a problem in my supermarket, I may go elsewhere to buy fruits since I've been avoiding the fruit section anyway for so long. It's such a shame.

                                    3. I can't explain whats behind fruit rotting but I agree with you! Lately persimmons and mangoes from the regular grocery store (Stop & Shop) looked good on the outside, ready to eat in a few days, but when I cut into them were brown inside and rotten. Persimmons from Whole Foods did have this issue and I seem to notice the problem more with fruit from the regular grocery store.

                                      1. Same problems in NJ/NYC. Pears, peaches, nectarines, etc., either rot from inside, or are rock-hard after days in a brown paper bag. Somewhere, I once read that putting fruit in a brown paper bag helps the ripening process. I think that where long ship time is anticipated, the fruit may be irradiated to prolong its' shelf-life. The cause of fruit ripening is a natural form of a gaseous plant hormone called ethylene.
                                        Scientists continue to explore the biomolecular details of the ethylene production–response cycle, in hopes of developing better methods of preventing fresh-picked fruit from ripening during transport over long distances. The trick is to ensure that the fruit does not become ethylene-insensitive so that it never ripens. After all, who wants to eat green bananas that taste like fiberboard? Is it possible that processes currently applied to extend shelf-life, may compromise the ethylene process, and render the fruit ethylene-insensitive?

                                        1. I use to love fruits and vegetables getting them from road side stands in california...ive traveled and lived everywhere from kentucky to georgia and now colorado. Produce just does not compare to what ive been spoiled on in cali. Colordo is worst because we have almost seven to eigth months of winter here in alamosa...is is now mid June and i am still waiting for the local farmers market to start. Store produce is just too nasty, tastless and unripe as well as expensive.....sometimes i wish i hadnt eaten the produce of cali...cause then i wouldnt know what i was missing :-(

                                          1. I was going to start a thread about apples specifically. Although this thread is several years old, I've noticed in the past year or so that a growing about of apples are rotten or soft. They appear fine in the outside, feel firm, but after a few bits the inside is brown and soft.

                                            1. I learned long ago never to buy rock-hard fruits in the hope they will ripen perfectly. They simply won't.
                                              I will buy Peaches/Apricots/Plums and similar only when in season and then only from a local farm.
                                              I have gotten pretty good in buying good Haas Avocados, perfectly ripe and ready to eat within 2 days. You can usually pick them out by just looking at them, with minimal touching.

                                              1. These products have been irradiated changing the molecular structure of the fruit and vegetables, and heaven only knows what happens when they get into your body. Laws in specific areas of the country and fruits coming in from South America have to be irradiated. Even most bananas are irradiated. This retards the ripening process and that is why no matter how many days you put those lovely peaches in a bag to ripen, they will still be all brown and hard inside.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: forgetit

                                                  My wife and I try to eat according to the season three months of tomatoes from the garden, squash until February and a month or two of fresh Ontario peaches, nectarines and pears. The past year has given us much pleasure as the pears have ripened in two or three days with a flavour intensity I cannot remember, peaches and nectarines were good to very good and we are looking forward to next years crop. Apples reach their peak after the first hard frost and we live in apple country. So far this season's apples have made outstanding applesauce and the early season apples make outstanding cider for those who prefer a more tart cider. We are probably a week or two away from great eating apples. We are seniors and my wife grew up in the heart of Michigan's fruit growing country. Great fruit is worth waiting for and the quality of fruit preserves is outstanding I understand the visual appeal of fresh fruit but some how I would rather wait to enjoy it when it was ready.
                                                  When we lived in Michigan we used to get our fruit from a local grower who refused to sell it to a middle man who insisted it be picked before the sugar had developed. Good apples are available from now to Christmas go out find and enjoy I doubt you will find any at your local supermarket I remember the expression on the faces of our much younger friends in Chicago when we brought fully ripened fruit and the general acknowledgement that even in their thirties they had never really tasted an apple.

                                                  PS If you really want to experience the essence of apple Quebec's ice ciders are available all year round and may immediately wean you off supermarket fruit except in season.