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As fruit ripens, it reaches its full size, changes color and its flesh becomes tender. Its acid content increases but so do its sugars, making it, illogically, taste sweeter even with a higher acid content. The fruit is considered ripe when it reaches a perfect balance of acid & sugar. There are two prime factors in ripening: Temperature & Ethylene, a gaseous plant hormone.

The temperature that a fruit is held at controls the rate of exchange of carbon dioxide to oxygen (aspiration) in the fruit. The ideal temperature range to ripen fruits is 68°F to 78°F (20°C to 26°C). Ripening can be delayed by chilling.

Ethylene Gas is a naturally occurring hormone in gaseous form that triggers ripening in fruit. Almost all fruits give off ethylene gas, but apples, plums, melons and pears give off the most. The riper the fruit, the higher the ethylene gas production, quickening the cycle.