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Ripening "unripe Grapes"


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#1 dbod

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Posted 21 August 2004 - 12:48 PM

According to several Internet sources, grapes will no longer increase in sugar or ripen after they are picked. Why won't a grape ripen further after picked? Is it the acid content? Most other friut ripens after it is picked.

Iternet sources state that ETHYLENE (a plant hormone) promotes the ripening of fruit. Source also stateees that as a fruit reaches maturity it releases ETHYLENE as a gas and that commercial fruit growers can buy equipment to generate ethylene so that their harvest ripens quickly and uniformly.

Why do I ask? My sister's neiiighbor has some concord grapes they don't want. There are lots of green grapes still on the vine. The birds are starting to take their share. I have about 25 lbs of ripe grapes from these vives so far (frozen). I'de like to go ahead and grab the remaining green grapes if I could ripen them.

What would happen if green grapes were placed inside a plastic enclosure with some other ripening fruit...like peaches?

#2 Hippie

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Posted 21 August 2004 - 05:01 PM

What other fruit ripens further after picking? Tomatoes do I know. Peaches don't, they just start decaying soon after picked. I cannot think of any other fruit that continues to ripen after being picked. Throw a bird net over the vines and wait for the grapes to get ripe.
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#3 breumyster

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Posted 22 August 2004 - 06:07 AM

"Ripening" in grapes applies to the buildup of sugars, acids, and tannins in the fruit. This can only happen on the vine; once the fruit is picked, it begins to decline in quality almost immediately. Wine grapes are picked when three factors are as close to optimum as possible: sugars (Brix), total acidity, and pH. Too late will produce high alcohol wine with little or no character. Too early, and the grapes will yield high acid, low sugar wine with "green" tannins.

Ethylene gas is a hormone produced by many fruits. "Ripening" with ethylene is not the same as "ripening" on the parent plant. Produce is often picked when unripe so it will ship better and not mature until it reaches it's destination, i.e. your local big box grocery store. At some point along the way it's gassed to start the maturing process. After that, most fruits produce their own supply of ethylene, so the ripening continues. Grapes are not good producers of ethylene, so they don't ripen successfully off the vine.

If you've ever had a gassed tomato in mid-January, you have a good notion of the quality of the fruit produced by the "pick it green and gas it process". They have all the culinary charm of a tennis ball as a result of not having been matured on the plant itself.

Like Glenvall said, throw some bird netting over the vines and let the fruit ripen. You'll make much better wine if you wait.

#4 P Cuthbert

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Posted 22 August 2004 - 04:20 PM

If you must "ripen fruit" with "ethylene gas, the easies way if to get some apples and place them in a paper bag with the fruit you wish to ripen. Apples are a great source of ethylene gas.

Here in Canada, we get citrus fruit that has been picked when it is hard ehough to hit a home run with and then as the trailer is sealed, a measured amount of ehylene gas is added to "ripen" the fruit in transit.

If you ever go to the grocery store and get bananas, you whould know that they are picked "hard enough to hammer nails with" (Monkey pickles in the vernacular) and gassed to ripen in transit.

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#5 Hippie

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Posted 22 August 2004 - 04:44 PM

"monkey pickles in the vernacular"

Now that impressed the hell out of me!

Pat is the man! Oh, and SEB.

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#6 JDM

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Posted 23 August 2004 - 08:01 AM

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you guys are too much

#7 dbod

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Posted 23 August 2004 - 08:18 PM

Appreciate the replies, I figured "The Internet" was correct. I didn't find anything to the contrary. Being ignorant, I was more curious in "The Why". I came across one reference that says that the sugar in grape vines is stored in the roots in sucrose form. Separating, the fruit from its source of sugar would explain why grapes don'r ripen after they are picked.

On the bird netting... I would if they were my vines. If I can't get enough ripe grapes, I'll have to make a batch of muscadine/concord.

Cheers

#8 Hippie

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Posted 25 August 2004 - 08:55 PM

Nothing wrong with Muscadines. Please do not contaminate them by mixing with concord. What a sin.

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