Thursday, April 24, 2014

U is for Under-Ripe

I don't know why I had such a difficult time thinking of a "U" word. I'm sure a dozen will come to me in May. I settled on sharing with you the under-ripeness of fruits and vegetables. In my [limited] gardening experience, I realize there are some fruits and veggies you can pick early, or when they are under-ripe, and there are others that you must wait until they are fully ripe to pick. 

Let's start with many people's favorite go-to fruit (or is it a vegetable? :): tomatoes. Tomatoes are one crop you can pick early and will continue to ripen off the vine. If I know I will be going out-of-town for a few days and a bunch of my tomatoes are about to ripen, I will pick these early and let them fully mature inside. Also, I sometimes pick them early before the birds or rodents get to them. In my opinion, the tomato's flavor is the best fully ripened on the vine, but it's nice to know you have the option of picking early without ruining the fruit. 

Onions, carrots, potatoes, and other root vegetables are fairly forgiving. You can move away the dirt around the top of the veggie and check to see how it's progressing. If they don't look big enough or the right color, just put the dirt back over it and allow it to mature further. 


Now, watermelons on the other hand -- and all melons for that matter, must be fully ripe before you pick them. They will not continue to ripen off the vine. So, once you pick it, it's a done deal. Check out my watermelon post for details on how you can tell when a watermelon is ready to pick.

If all else fails, pick one of the fruits or vegetables and give it a taste before picking an entire crop. If you don't think it's ripe enough, let it set for a few more days and try again. 

Happy gardening!

Check out more posts on my 2014 A to Z Challenge!

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