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Mar 11, 2014 05:28 PM

Dumb question? about navel oranges.

They have just a bit of green. I'm wondering if they will ripen further at room temperature.

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  1. They may already be as ripe as they are going to get. Were they fresh-picked, or from a commercial packer? Oranges are gassed to create a uniform orange skin. Those that haven't been through a middleman between orchard and kitchen counter can have a lot of yellow or green and still be perfect.

    6 Replies
    1. re: greygarious

      Thanks, greygarious. No, I bought them at the grocery store. They are huge and as I was trying to work them into the fridge, I thought maybe I'll leave them out a couple of days and see if the green goes away.

      1. re: MrsJonesey

        Being from Florida, I can say it won't. Citrus ripens very slowly and will rot before it ripens. And since FL citrus isn't as pretty as Cali I never worry about a bit of green. I just ate tangerines a week or so ago and it was mottled green and orange and it was delicious.

        1. re: suzigirl

          Thanks, suzigirl. That is good to know. Yes, the last navels I bought had a bit of green and they were very sweet.

          1. re: MrsJonesey

            You're welcome. Good luck. All fruits and veggies can be a gamble.

      2. re: greygarious

        It possible that the orange went into a period of "regreening." This happens when the temperatures are warmer. So it is possible that the navel is ripe already.

        But no, an orange will not ripen once its picked.

        1. re: mingvg

          I did not know they could "regreen." Thanks.

      3. Citrus is non-climacteric and does not further ripen once picked.
        Here is a link about ripening fruits, and a list separating climacteric fruits from non-climacteric ones:

        It should be noted that even climacteric fruits (ones that can be ripened after picking) do not always develop the same complexity/sweetness/taste when ripened after picking that they would otherwise develop. Tomatoes are a good example of a climacteric fruit that is nonetheless better if it's allowed to ripen on the vine.

        4 Replies
        1. re: cowboyardee

          Thanks, cowboyardee. I bookmarked that site.

          1. re: cowboyardee

            The OP is obviously unaware of *naval* oranges, which will continue to ripen, if only at sea.

            1. re: kaleokahu

              You got me. I not only checked the spelling on the bag but on all my replies. I suppose we should leave all the "navals" for the sailors to prevent scurvy. You're good. Heh-heh. ;-)

              1. re: kaleokahu

                My grocery store frequently features handwritten signs for "naval" oranges. I go through an internal war each time, between laughing out loud and just being angry that English language is dying an accelerated death as fewer and fewer people seem able to spell.

                I was not aware of the gassing of oranges to create a uniform orange skin. I will no longer consider color when buying oranges.

            2. They will not ripen at room temp. They will rot.

              5 Replies
              1. re: ipsedixit

                They are now in the refrigerator, thanks to you. I will not chance it.

                1. re: MrsJonesey

                  FWIW, if they're not overripe they don't necessarily need refrigeration. I go overboard during the short time - a month or so - that heirloom navels are in stock at Trader Joe's. I found myself out of fridge space so one bag stayed in a cool spot near the front door landing (I'm in New England). Although it took a couple of weeks for me to finish them, none spoiled.

                  1. re: greygarious

                    Thanks. Luckily, I was able to get them in the fridge. At close to $1 a piece, I don't want to take the chance. Some idiot came home with an 8 lb. bag of them, 2 heads of cabbage and other space-hogging stuff at once.

                    1. re: MrsJonesey

                      I hear you. I just paid 2.49 a pound for blood oranges and would hate to waste them. I can't believe you called me an idiot. JK, I bring home too much also. It's a disease. :-)

              2. One thing I have noticed is that the oranges kept in our pantry, technically "room temperature" (although the pantry is on a north wall and has a stone floor), have more flavor than oranges that come straight out of the fridge.

                So while I agree with the other posters about ripening and storing your citrus, you might want to consider pulling them out and allowing them to come to room temp before eating or juicing.

                3 Replies
                1. re: pedalfaster

                  I don't know where I heard this but have found it to be true that cold temperatures tone down the sweetness factor. So any time a refrigerated fruit isn't as sweet as I'd like, I try to do as you suggested and let it come to room temperature.

                  1. re: MrsJonesey

                    Yes, this is true.

                    It's true for fruit, and ice cream as well.

                    Always rest ice cream.

                    Resist the urge to eat standing in front of the fridge, with spoon in hand, and hand in ice cream bucket ...

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      But, those calories don't count, do they???

                2. Most oranges naturally have a bit of green. Once picked, citrus fruit don't ripen more.

                  In my neck of the woods, which has many citrus groves, the oranges and grapefruits are sold out of big bins at room temperature. Most of them are quite the opposite of the unblemished, pure colored fruits you see in the store. And luckily for those of us who live around here, they are far tastier and juicer in the main than the grocery store fruits.

                  Note how the citrus fruits are sold in the grocery store. I can't recall ever seeing citrus sold from a refrigerated case--it's always kept at room temp in the store. And at the grove retailers around here, even outside temperature.

                  If you can't eat all the fruit you purchased before it goes bad at room temp, by all means refrigerate it, but the fruit is juicier and tastier when kept at room temperature. The fruit will not keep as long, but the only further "ripening" at room temp is fermentation/rot.