Beauty or Purity?

Ripening - as natural as it gets

No, we are not discussing a person's beauty here, but of ripening of fruits and vegetables.

Ripening is a process which makes a fruit edible and sweet. In physiological terms complex sugars in the fruit are converted to soluble sugars, through a sequence of physical and biochemical events. While fruits fall into two major categories based on whether they continue to ripen after harvesting or not, ethylene is a compound that is naturally produced and aids in ripening in both cases.

Natural ripening takes time - anything from 5 days to 15 days for common fruits. Some of us may recollect placing sapotas in rice drums and seethaphals in baskets filled with hay at home for ripening to happen naturally.

In order to allow one time harvest and selling, artificial ripening is resorted to on commercial scale. Adding small doses of ethylene (through different methods) to the fruits hastens ripening - this is considered quite safe, though the effect of artificial ripening is more on the colour & appearance and less on the taste & keeping quality.

The bigger problems with artificial ripening come from the use of Calcium Carbide, a chemical that has application in chemical and steel industries. Calcum Carbide produces acetylene when in contact with moisture; acetylene has similar ripening action as ethylene. However, Calcium Carbide has traces of deadly arsenic and phosphorus hydride, and is banned in many countries. Effects of carbide include headaches, dizziness, diarrhoea to ulcers and cancers; pregnant women are reported to be particularly vulnerable.

Unfortunately there is no easy way to tell a fruit ripened by carbide - uniform, attractive colour may often be an indicator. As the adage goes, appearances can be deceptive - fruits and vegetables that look attractive may be detrimental to health, and the finest and purest may have a patchy appearance. For any fruits and vegetables, we recommend washing the fruits thoroughly to help minimize the surface chemical contents. 

We reassure you that fruits and Vegetables from NaturePinks Gardens are absolutely natural and safe. You can relish them in the confidence that they have been never been exposed to any artificial ripening agents and come to you direct from our farms.