Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Tell when fruit or veggies are ripe for the picking!

Have you ever bought a fruit or vegetable from the store and hoped it was a juicy or ripe as the display? I do it all the time. Especially with melons. I will be enticed by the sweet aromas and delicate tastes. I go to reach for it and buy them immediately. I get home and cut it up only to find out that it's underripe. How disappointing. I have heard of myths and suggestions about feeling the fruit and sniffing the roots and pressing here and there, blah blah blah. If you are not a produce manager or farmer you will be just as disappointed as I am, being unable to tell when its perfect.

Well what if I told you that there will be a way for you to know exactly when fruits and veggies are right for the picking, would you say tell me more?

A University of Arizona professor invented a sticker called RediRipe stickers that will tell you if a fruit or vegetable is ripe for the picking. The stickers will be available to growers next year and could end up in our supermarkets within two to three years, said Mark Riley, a UA assistant professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering.
A marker on Riley's RediRipe stickers can detect a chemical called ethylene gas, which is released by fruit or vegetables as they ripen.

So when they ripen, the sticker turns from white to blue.

The more ethylene gas the fruit produces, the darker the blue, Riley said.

The color shift doesn't happen immediately once a sticker is attached. It can take anywhere from about 24 to 48 hours, depending on how fast the fruit is ripening, Riley said.

But hold on, there are some kinks still, These stickers do not change color if fruit is overripe or rotten. Also, not all fruit produces enough ethylene to be detected by the sticker, said Jim McFerson, manager of the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission, a growers' research group that helped sponsor the research.

"There is still a lot of research to do," McFerson said.

Each sticker is expected to cost growers and grocers about a penny, Riley said.

There is a patent in process now for the stickers through the UA. Riley said when RediRipe goes to market, the university will keep the patent and the company will license the product.

Research on ethylene's use in fruit ripening began in the 1940s, and the gas is used to ripen fruits and vegetables in storage.

Riley has done multiple small field tests on his stickers — including at an apple orchard in Willcox — and plans a much larger field test this fall in Washington.

Falan Taylor
Author of Housewife Cuisine

Information provided by,

Source : http://azstarnet.com

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