Tips for Getting Nectarines to Ripen Faster

Nectarines are like smooth-skinned peaches, and they sure look tasty. But sometimes, looks can be deceiving. You think they’re ripe and ready to eat, but they’re actually hard and don’t taste very good.

Ever had that happen? You’re not alone! Also, have a look at how to tell if a mango is ripe, and how to store apples.

Half of a Nectarines on the sun light

If you’ve got some nectarines and you’re not sure if they’re ready to eat—or how to make them ripen faster, this article is for you. I’ll show you how to tell if a nectarine is just right and give you some tips on how to ripen it up quickly.

After all, when a nectarine is good, it’s delicious, juicy, and full of flavor. And who wants to wait for that?

How to Tell if a Nectarine is Ripe?

Figuring out if a nectarine is ripe isn’t always easy just by looking at it. But don’t worry; there are some easy ways to know for sure if it’s time to eat that delicious fruit. Here are four simple tips to help you choose a ripe nectarine every time.

Color Check

First up, color is a good clue. A ripe nectarine will usually be primarily orange or yellow. If it’s green, give it some more time.

How to Ripen Nectarines

Feel the Fruit

Ripe nectarines get softer as they’re ready to eat. So, just give it a gentle squeeze. If it feels hard, it’s not ready. But if it’s soft and gives a little, you’re good to go.

Check the Scent

A ripe nectarine will have a unique scent that might remind you of roses or honey, depending on the type you’ve got. If the scent is sweet and fruity, that’s a pretty good sign it’s ripe and ready.

Taste Test

Lastly, take a small bite; if the nectarine is sweet and juicy, then you’ve successfully ripened your fruit. As a nectarine ripens, its sugar content increases, adding sweetness to each bite. At the same time, the levels of malic acid, responsible for the fruit’s initial tartness, decrease.

And the end result is a nectarine that’s not just softer but also a delightful balance of sweet and less sour, making it the perfect treat.

How to Ripen Nectarines at Home? 

If you’ve brought home some nectarines, and they’re too hard for immediate snacking. No need to fret. We’ve got a roundup of straightforward methods to help you ripen those fruits into juicy, irresistible treats right in your home.

Let’s look into the various ways to achieve that perfect ripeness.

Let Nectarines Ripen on the Counter

If your nectarine feels a bit hard, just leave it on your kitchen counter for a couple of days. Covering it with a damp paper towel can make it ripen even faster.

If you’re not in a rush, you can also keep it at room temperature for up to a week. You’ll know it’s getting ripe when it starts to smell really good and sweet.

A little sunlight can help speed up the ripening process, but be careful not to leave your nectarine in too much sun, or it could get mushy spots.

Nectarines on a basket

Keep Them in a Warm Spot

When trying to make your nectarines ripen quickly, warmth is also key. The warmer the place, the faster your nectarine will get ripe.

One easy trick is to put them in a fruit bowl or wrap your nectarine in a paper towel and put it near a sunny window or in a warm corner of your room. Generally, in a warm spot, it should take about 1 to 3 days for your nectarine to be ready to eat.

Nectarines on a warm place

Try a Paper Bag Method

If you have a paper bag lying around, it can be a great tool for ripening your nectarines. Like a lot of fruits, nectarines give off ethylene gas that helps them ripen. A paper bag can trap this gas while also keeping moisture out, helping your fruit get ripe faster.

And if you want to make things go even quicker, toss a banana or an apple in the bag with your nectarines. These fruits give off a lot of the same ripening gas.

Keep the fruits in the bag together for about a day, then give your nectarines a feel to see if they’ve softened up; this is a good way to ripen fruit. If your nectarines are still not ready, just check again the next day.

Nectarines in a Paper Bag

Use a Napkin for Extra Juiciness

Another good way to ripen nectarines is to wrap them in a soft napkin; either cotton or linen works well. Lay the nectarines stem-side down on the napkin, making sure they’re not touching each other.

If you want, you can place another napkin on top and tuck in the edges to seal out the air. If you are interested in more useful articles, check out how to peel dragon fruit, or how to cut an orange.

This method takes a bit longer, but the reward is super juicy nectarines. After a couple of days, give them a little squeeze to see if they’re ripe and ready to eat.

Nectarines on the sun light

Storing Nectarines Properly

Correctly storing your nectarines can help you enjoy them at their best. If you intend to eat them in the near future, a cool and dry place at room temperature is suitable.

For those who have an abundance of nectarines, especially during peak season, if you store ripe nectarines in the refrigerator, you can extend their freshness for a few days.

However, placing unripe nectarines in the fridge isn’t recommended; so, don’t try to store unripe nectarines in the fridge as it could result in a mushy texture.

Ripe nectarines can last in the refrigerator for up to a week, remaining juicy and fresh. When using this method, avoid storing them in a damp plastic bag to prevent spoilage.

If you have cooking or baking plans for your nectarines, keeping them in the fridge for a couple of days is also a good strategy.

This ensures they don’t over-ripen before you get a chance to use them in your recipes. You can also freeze nectarines, but be extra careful when doing that.

Nectarines close up on blue background

Signs Your Nectarine Has Gone Bad

It’s important to know when a nectarine has passed its prime and should be thrown out. These are some indicators to be aware of:

  • Soft and Mushy: Nectarines should soften as they ripen, but if you find one that’s excessively soft or even leaking, it’s time to say goodbye.

  • Mold or Rot: If you see mold, especially on a ripe fruit that has cuts or bruises, it’s a no-go. The same applies to nectarines that have been left out for too long and appear rotten. When in doubt, it’s safer to toss it.

  • Odd Coloring: Upon slicing open the nectarine, the flesh should be vibrant. If it looks brown or translucent, that’s a sign of spoilage. While you might be tempted to cut away the bad part, it’s usually better to discard the whole fruit.

  • Unpleasant Odor: A sour or musty smell is a definite red flag. If you can’t identify which nectarine is causing the smell, it’s best to dispose of all of them.

Knowing these signs will help you enjoy your nectarines when they’re at their best and avoid them when they’re not.


There you have it! A complete guide on how to ripen nectarines, tell if they’re ripe, and even some tips to store nectarines for good measure.

Whether you’re leaving them out on the counter, wrapping them up in a cozy napkin, or stashing them in a brown paper bag with a friendly banana, you have multiple ways to ensure that your nectarines reach their sweet, juicy peak.

And let’s not forget those handy tips for recognizing when a nectarine has seen better days and should be shown the exit—straight to the compost or trash bin.

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