How to ripen apricots off the tree

How to Ripen and Store Apricots at Home?

Here’s all you need to know about the storage, shelf life, and spoilage of apricots. Learn how to store apricots, how long they last, and how to tell if one has gone bad.

Bought a bunch of apricots and wondering what the best way to store them is?

Or maybe yours sit in storage for a couple of days already, and you need to know how to tell if an apricot is bad before you eat them.

If that sounds familiar, this article is for you.

But before we get into storage practices and shelf life, you need to know if your apricots are ripe or not. So we’ll start with that.

Apricots are pretty small

Table of Contents

  • When Are Apricots Ripe?
  • How to Store Apricots?
  • How Long Do Apricots Last?
  • How to Tell if an Apricot Is Bad?
  • Apricots Storage and Shelf Life Summary

When Are Apricots Ripe?

Ripe apricots are plump and quite firm, but give some when you gently squeeze them between your fingers. They also give off a sweet floral aroma that’s difficult to miss if you give them a good whiff.

Unripe apricots are super firm and don’t give under gentle pressure at all. So those are the ones that need to be ripened before eating them.

(You can eat under-ripe apricots, but they’re going to taste quite sour and nothing like the sweet fruit you imagined.)

If your apricots are super soft or squishy, they’re overripe. Depending on their quality, you can either use them as soon as possible or discard them.

The same method works for other fruits that are sometimes sold under-ripe, including plums (here’s how long plums last) or nectarines (here’s how to ripen nectarines).

Now, let’s talk about storing apricots and how to ripen unripe ones.

A ventilated bag is a good option for storing apricots at room temperature while ripening

How to Store Apricots?

Store unripe apricots at room temperature away from sunlight until they ripen. Once ripe, you can leave them on the counter for 1 to 2 days or refrigerate them in a plastic bag or the crisper drawer for 3 to 5 days.

When storing apricots, remember the following:

  • Wash right before eating or using. If you absolutely have to wash apricots before storage, dry them thoroughly before placing them in the fridge or pantry. Washing fruits and veggies before storage is generally discouraged, and that’s because people then place half-dried produce in the refrigerator. That’s a recipe for mold growth.
  • Store away from strong odors. Apricots need some protection from smells. That could be in the form of a container or bag, or you can simply place them away from such foods. That’s why the crisper drawer is a good option, as one typically doesn’t store such foods there.
  • Don’t refrigerate until ripe. If you put under-ripe apricots in the fridge, they won’t fully develop their taste, and you’ll end up with sour apricots. You could open them up just fine, but the taste was pretty underwhelming. I’ve been there, so you don’t have to.

Now, let’s cover what you should do if your apricots aren’t ripe yet.

How to Ripen Under-Ripe Apricots?

To ripen apricots off the tree, leave them at room temperature but away from sunlight for a few days. To speed up the process, you can place them in a brown bag and perhaps even add a ripening apple or banana.

Also, make sure you give ripening apricots a check once a day.

Putting an apricot in a brown bag to speed up ripening

Like other fruits sold unripe, all that apricots need is a few days at room temperature on the counter. After 1 to 3 days, you should notice that they start to soften slightly, and that’s when you know they’re ripe.

The ripening process is all about the ethylene gas and time. So by placing the apricots in a brown bag, you simply trap the ethylene they’re releasing, increasing its concentration.

Adding other ethylene-producing fruits to that same bag is the same thing: making sure there’s more ethylene around.

Adding an apple to speed up ripening


Don’t use a plastic bag for ripening. It will trap all the moisture inside, and your apricots might go bad before they ripen. Remember: room temperature plus moisture equals mold growth.

Should You Refrigerate Apricots?

Keeping apricots in the fridge isn’t a must, but it’s highly recommended because it significantly extends their shelf life. At room temperature, ripe apricots keep for only a day or two, while in the fridge they last for 3 to 5 days, sometimes even a week.

If you want to store apricots at ambient temperature, place them in a cold and dry spot away from sunlight and heat sources.

Also, make sure the fruits can breathe, so any moisture that might be around quickly evaporates. That means using a ventilated bag, basket, a fruit bowl, or at the very least, keeping that plastic bag half open.

And while we’re at it, store ripe apricots away from ethylene-producing fruits and vegetables.

When it comes to refrigeration, ripe apricots like high humidity. To provide that, you can either leave them in the crisper drawer, where it’s naturally humid, or place them in a sealed bag that will trap that moisture and slow down its loss.

Storing Cut Apricots

Cut apricots require refrigeration. Store them sealed tight in freezer bags or airtight containers for up to 4 days.

When choosing between a bag and a container, choose what’s available or what makes the most sense for you.

An airtight container is the best option for storing cut apricots

How Long Do Apricots Last?

Apricots, unripe1 – 2 days, until ripe
Apricots, ripe1 – 2 days3 – 5 days
Apricots, cutup to 4 days

Unripe apricots need 1 to 2 days on the counter until they ripen. Once ripe, apricots last another 1 to 2 days at room temperature or 3 to 5 days in the fridge.

If you need more time, you can freeze them or make apricot jam.

Cut apricots last up to 3 to 4 days when refrigerated in a freezer bag or airtight container.  But if the fruit were softish from the get-go, it’d keep decent quality for only a day or two.

(Those storage periods might remind you of the shelf life of peaches, and you’d be correct.)

As usual, storage time depends on the quality and ripeness of your apricots.

If you bought them at the peak of ripeness or ripened yourself, you can easily get those five days of refrigeration. Maybe even seven days, if you’re lucky.

But if you brought home a bunch of softish overripe apricots that you got on sale, all you can hope for is a day or two of okayish quality.

Because of that, always check the quality of apricots when buying and choose ones depending on your needs:

  • Firm apricots if you want them to last a long time.
  • Just-ripe ones if you’re looking for a snack fruit that can last a couple of days.
  • Over-ripe apricots if you’re looking for cheap apricots that you can use to make jam or baked goods.

How to Tell if an Apricot Is Bad?

Your apricots are bad if:

  • They’re super soft, mushy, or seeping.  Apricots start off firm and soften as they ripen. Once over-ripe, they’re soft and squishy.
  • They’re moldy or rotten. If you notice any mold on the skin or the flesh of the fruit, it’s game over. If there’s mold in the container or bag, discard a couple of nearby apricots.
  • The flesh is brown. Apricots are susceptible to internal breakdown and browning is one of its forms. If you open up an apricot and it’s brown inside, toss it.
  • You find worms in them. Worms in apricots aren’t a huge issue (unlike in cherries, for instance), but if you notice any holes or larvae, make sure to open up each fruit before eating.
  • They smell off. If a bunch of apricots gives off a “funny,” sour, or musty aroma, don’t eat them.

If anything else about your apricots seems off, discard them. Better safe than sorry.

Minor bruises on an apricot aren’t an issue

Now, softening and overall quality loss is what’s most likely to happen if you store apricots for too long. And there’s a whole spectrum here, as apricots gradually go from super firm all the way to squishy and gross.

So if your apricots are a bit on the softer side and you don’t think they’re good enough for a fruit salad or snacking, you can still use them in cooking.

There are hundreds of recipes that include apricots, including apricot cake, various sorts of muffins, quick breads, and the like. And they all should come out fine, even if your apricots aren’t of the firmest variety.

Apricots Storage and Shelf Life Summary

Thank you for reading this guide on apricots. Let’s briefly recap what we’ve covered above:

  • How to tell if your apricot is ripe? A ripe apricot gives in a little under gentle pressure and smells nice and sweet. If it’s firm and has no give, it’s not yet ripe, and if it’s soft or squishy, it’s overripe.
  • How to ripen apricots? Apricots ripen at room temperature. To speed up ripening, you can place them in a brown bag and maybe add other ethylene-producing fruits to that bag to accelerate things even more.
  • How to store apricots? Store unripe apricots at room temperature. Once ripe, you can refrigerate them for 3 to 5 days or leave them on the counter for a day or two.
  • How long do apricots last? Unripe apricots ripen after 1 to 2 days at ambient temperature. Once ripe, they keep for up to 5 days refrigerated and only 1 to 2 days if you leave them on the counter.
  • How to tell apricots are bad? Toss apricots that are squishy, mushy, moldy, or smell off. Also, always check the skin for any holes and open them up before eating to make sure there isn’t any unwanted company.

Do Apricots Ripen After Picking? | Home Guides

By Jann Seal Updated August 31, 2020

The early Romans called it “Precious One,” poets revered its beauty, and the Persians referred to it as the “yellow plum.” From its origins in China and Central Asia more than 4,000 years ago, the apricot (Prunus Armeniaca) has enchanted civilizations and chefs since the Chinese traders traveled the Silk Road and introduced the fruit to the Persians. From there, its popularity expanded north and west, then moved throughout the Arab world and Europe. Low in calories and loaded with vitamins and dietary fiber, the tiny apricot, whether fresh from the tree or dried, is a perfect addition to everything from stews, jams and the fresh fruit bowl.

Apricot Harvest Month

The suggested hardiness zones for planting apricot trees, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, are 5 through 8, with some producing in zone 4. Yet selecting trees for your zone must take into account the number of chill hours your variety needs, which are the average low temperatures for your location and the type of tree that grows well and produces sweet fruit in your geographic area. Mississippi State University has developed a chill hours calculator that indicates the chill hours needed for particular regions.

As with most fruit trees, they must be able to go dormant (chill hours) during the winter to bloom and produce in the spring and summer. Consequently, an apricot harvest month is dependent on the weather. Plant your trees after the last frost, taking into account that some places can have a June frost, making planning difficult. What you want to avoid is the tree budding, getting covered with ice from the late frost and losing the harvest.

Identifying a Ripe Apricot

Once the small fruit appears on your tree, let it ripen. This may take up to three weeks, but patience results in a sweet treat that feels slightly soft to the touch and yellow-orange in color. Once they’ve started to soften, keep your eyes on them as this process goes quickly, and you don’t want them to become overripe and attractive to birds. The best way to assess whether the apricot is ready to pick is to taste it.

Late June through August is typically considered harvest time for apricots, according to Nebraska Extension. The color, juiciness and texture of the apricot continue to increase after the fruit leaves the tree; however, flavor and sweetness don’t improve after harvesting. The storage life of the fruit is short, but allowing it to ripen fully on the tree decreases the length of time it’s edible.

Cooking With Apricots

Given the fruit’s heritage and its unique tangy taste, it’s understandable that the Persians added the apricot to meat dishes to counter the strong flavor of their predominant meat, lamb. As ethnic chef Claudia Roden writes in NPR's Moon of the Faith: “There is a special affinity between lamb and apricots,” and Middle Eastern chefs identified that relationship. Russian and Eastern European dishes feature the amalgam of meat and the fruit, and in areas where pork is dominant, you’ll find it complementing many recipes.

Since the shelf life of apricots is short, making apricot jam is a given. Apricot paste is popular in baked goods, and the nectar of the apricot makes a tasty bellini. Unfortunately, canned apricots lack the sweetness of the fruit that ripens on the tree as they are harvested before they're fully ripe.

Health Benefits of the Apricot

Vitamins A, C, E and potassium are just a few of the health benefits of the apricot reported by Healthline. Its antioxidants fight free radicals, the compounds that are considered damaging to your cells and cause stress. The skins are as important to good health as is the flesh. Gut and eye health are also reported to improve when apricots are added to your diet.

The beauty of the apricot is that they are small and easy to grab and eat when fresh. Sheets of pressed apricots tucked between two pieces of plastic wrap are ideal for a child’s lunchbox or a midday snack. And the tangy sweetness of the fruit belies its abundant health benefits. Something this good can't be healthy some say, but it is.


  • Gardening Know How: Picking Apricot: When and How to Harvest an Apricot
  • Nebraska Extension: Community Environment: Harvesting Peaches and Apricots
  • Healthline: 9 Health and Nutrition Benefits of Apricots
  • Gardeners Path: 7 of the Best Cold Hardy Apricot Trees
  • NPR: “Moon of the Faith:” A History of the Apricot and its Many Pleasures
  • Mississippi State University: Extension: Chill Hours

Writer Bio

A versatile writer, Jann enjoys research as well as doing the actual writing. A career in television writing, as a magazine contributor and editor and celebrity interviewer, Jann adapts to her environment, having traveled the world, living overseas and packing and unpacking her treasures for a new location over 30 times.

how to store and what to do with unripe apricots. Storage rules, video and 120 photos

Apricots have a unique rich taste, so they are very popular. But in order to be able to eat the fruit for some time after picking, you should understand how to store apricots at home. There are various ways to store ripe and unripe apricots. With a competent approach, you can save these tasty and healthy fruits for a long time.

Contents of the article

Considerations for storing unripe apricots

Do apricots ripen after picking? Yes, this fruit is distinguished by this possibility. Therefore, many people prefer to collect unripe fruits, ripening them at home and, accordingly, extending the shelf life. For the ripening of apricots, it is necessary to use a suitable room and create favorable conditions.

The room should have a high level of light and a warm air temperature. Whether apricots ripen and how long this process will take depends on the ventilation of the room. The latter plays an extremely important role.

If the ventilation is poor, the fruits do not ripen, but rot. To prevent rotting and accelerate ripening, the room should be well ventilated.

Storing unripe fruits in paper bags

As a rule, it is recommended to store unripe fruits in ordinary wooden boxes. An alternative solution is ordinary paper bags. This is a great way to both ripen apricots and store them for a certain time. To ripen, fruits need heat, and the room should be well lit. However, it is better that the apricots are not in direct sun.

Therefore, for ripening, it is better to store fruits in paper bags first. As a rule, they ripen in a maximum of 5 days. You can then use other storage containers.

For quick ripening, you can put the fruit on paper and leave it on the windowsill. In a few days they will ripen.

However, experienced agronomists recommend picking ripe apricots. There is a risk that even creating ideal conditions for ripening at home may not work. Therefore, if possible, do not rush to harvest.

Ripe fruit storage options

There are various ways to store ripe apricots. It is important to harvest on time so that the fruit does not start to rot. And some simple storage methods will allow you to enjoy apricots even with the onset of cold weather.

Storage in wooden crates

A wooden crate is one of the most common storage containers for apricots. Before placing in a box, each fruit is preferably wrapped in parchment paper.

Do not just pile apricots in boxes. This will not allow you to visually check the formation of damage on each fruit. And if you miss the beginning of rotting on one fruit, you risk losing the whole box of apricots.

Wrapping in parchment extends the shelf life of fruit. In the absence of parchment, plain paper can also be used. But, do not use too thick material. Do not wrap apricots in plastic wrap.

Cold storage

Apricots can be stored cold in a cellar or refrigerator. However, fruits can be stored in the refrigerator for no more than 7 days. Use tightly sealed containers to store fruit. It is best not to store apricots simply stacked on a plate, they will only stay fresh for a couple of days.

If the temperature is reduced to approx. 0°C, the shelf life is extended to approx. 30 days. But, it is better to use apricots before the end of this period, as their taste gradually deteriorates.

Apricots can be stored in the cellar for about 30 days if the air temperature does not exceed 5°C. It is important to select only intact fruits for storage. It is impossible to store fruits even with minimal dents, they will quickly begin rotting processes.

Apricots are stored in boxes in the cellar. It is advisable to wrap each fruit in paper. Periodically check apricots in order to detect the onset of putrefactive processes in time.

Can apricots be frozen?

Ripened fruit can be frozen and stored for a long time. But, this is not true for every variety. You can freeze whole apricots or cut into pieces. Wash fruits well before freezing. If you store in the form of halves or slices, be sure to remove the bones.

First lay the fruits in a row on a flat surface and leave in the freezer. After 2-3 hours, when the fruits are frozen, distribute them into bags. Place these bags in the freezer. In this way, apricots are stored for no more than 12 months.

Drying apricots

Dried apricots are very tasty, so this method is also often used. In fact, you get homemade dried fruits. Before drying, the bone can not be removed, here proceed from your own preferences. But, for most it is more convenient to use dried fruits without a stone.

Wash fruit and place on a flat surface. The initial stage of drying takes 2-3 days. Do not place fruits in the sun, they will spoil. The place should be slightly shaded and well ventilated. Arrange the fruits so that they do not touch each other.

After a couple of days, place the apricots in the open sun. They will dry in about 7-10 days. If it's hot, the process will take less time.

For simplicity, you can string future dried fruits on a thread and hang them in a partially shaded place for several weeks. Then dried fruits should be packaged in bags and sent for storage in the refrigerator. The shelf life of apricots in this form is no more than 6 months.

Photo of ripening apricots

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How to accelerate the ripening of green apricots on a broken branch at home


  • Why remove undergent apricots
  • Features of the collection and preservation of unripe fruits
  • How to ripen with unripe fruits at home
  • what kind
  • What should be the moisture content of
  • nuances of storage of unripe apricots
    • in dried form
    • in frozen form
    • Storage in the refrigerator
    • common errors in the storage of
    • ) bananas, apricots. This allows them to maintain freshness and integrity during transportation and look presentable on the counter. In order for apricots to ripen at home, all conditions must be observed, namely, adhere to the desired temperature regime, humidity indicator, choose the right container, storage location.

      Why unripe apricots are harvested

      Growers pick fruits in an unripe state, trying to extend their shelf life. At home, unripe fruits continue to release ethylene, under the influence of which starch is converted into sugar and the fruit acquires the desired stage of ripeness.

      Ripe apricots are delicious and fragrant

      Reasons for picking apricots early:

      • Harvesting early helps extend the time it takes to reach consumer ripeness. Gradual ripening and proper storage will allow you to enjoy excellent taste as long as possible.
      • Hot weather can adversely affect unripe fruits, speed up ripening and provoke rotting processes.
      • Due to bad weather conditions, frequent rains, it is impossible to set the exact date of harvesting ripe fruits and determine whether the apricots ripen on the branches, which threatens to get a rotten crop of poor quality.
      • When picking green fruits, their strong structure is preserved, they are not damaged during transportation.

      Attention! When asked whether apricots ripen at home, experts say that the same processes occur in the fruits as in the garden on a branch. Over time, the fruit becomes soft, sweet, bright orange, its taste properties improve, the aroma becomes more intense.

      Unripe apricots

      Features of collecting and preserving unripe fruits

      Having decided to pick apricots ahead of time, you should consider several important recommendations for a successful procedure:

      • Harvest ripens in June-July depending on the variety, the earliest varieties are already in early May. When to harvest apricots from a tree, you need to determine based on their appearance, which indicates the degree of maturity.
      • Collection should be carried out in dry weather, in the morning after the dew has evaporated. In the daytime, it is better to refuse to eat, fruits will be poorly stored in the future.
      • Gardeners advise picking slightly unripe yellowish fruits if long-term transportation is planned.
      • Harvesting can be affected by weather conditions, so delaying dates is risky. In dry and hot weather, with prolonged prolonged rains, the process of reaching consumer maturity will accelerate, the fruit will begin to wither and will not hold out on the branch for too long.
      • Every summer resident has a question: what to do if an apricot branch with fruits breaks. In this situation, you can collect fruits and send them to ripen.

      How to grow an apricot from the stone at home

      After harvesting, it is necessary to carefully sort all the fruits and separate the specimens suitable for storage:

      • dry, without signs of decay, with a hard, even skin;
      • of the same shape, color;
      • without symptoms of fungus, parasites;
      • without damage, cracks, dents, stains.

      Note! Fruits that have not passed strict control can be eaten immediately, processed, made compote, jam, jam. Since they will be poorly stored due to the high risk of being affected by rot, and subsequently become a source of infection for other fruits.

      Green fruits are not suitable for long-term storage

      If the crop is harvested in large quantities, then more detailed preparation for storage is indispensable: for storage. You can put apricots in wooden or cardboard boxes, send them to a room with a cool temperature. Thus, the shelf life is increased to 1-2 weeks.

    • Remove whole fruits in plastic sealed containers and refrigerate. The cold will prevent ripening and allow the fruits to be stored for up to 1 month.
    • Remove the pit from the fruit and send it to the freezer. The shelf life is extended up to a year. The blank can be used for fillings, compote, sauce.

    Note! Ripe apricots at home can be stored for 3-5 days. After the specified period, the fruits will begin to deteriorate and rot. In the same conditions, you can leave a little unripe fruit.

    How to ripen unripe fruits at home

    Perescia prickly: examples of plant care at home

    In order for apricots to ripen faster at home, you need to create conditions for this. There are several ways:

    • Let the fruits lie down on the windowsill after covering them with paper. It is important to protect them from direct sunlight. Otherwise, the apricots will dry out and become covered with burns. Apples or bananas placed nearby, which release ethanol, will help fruits ripen faster.
    • Place unripe apricots in a single layer in wooden crates. This will allow you to instantly notice spoiled fruits and remove them before the rot is transmitted to the neighborhood and begins to spread. To protect from light, cover the box with paper.
    • Use paper bags as containers, they will help maintain a constant temperature and humidity regime. It is forbidden to use newspapers to store unripe fruits; printing ink contains harmful chemicals that are dangerous to human health.

    The fruits will ripen at home in 5-7 days at a temperature of 20-22 degrees. It should be noted that the lack of ventilation will lead to rotting of the crop. Having learned how to ripen apricots at home, you can prepare fruits for the future and enjoy their taste for a long time. 9Apricot storage . Overheating apricots is not worth it, as the moisture will quickly evaporate and the crop will dry out. When frozen, the structure of the pulp is disturbed, due to which the fruit will not be able to ripen and will acquire lethargy, an unpleasant taste.

    What should be the humidity

    Suitable air humidity - 90-95 percent as in basements, cellars. For uniform maturation, this indicator must be controlled and not allowed to decrease. Only dry fruits should be sent to such a room. Even if they were washable, it is important to dry them thoroughly. You can not put fruits to ripen in containers with lids, bags, other containers that interfere with the access of oxygen. After 2-3 hours after such clogging, irreversible decay processes will begin, the crop will have to be thrown away.

    Storing Unripe Apricots

    To preserve your harvest, it's important to study storage experts and find out what can be done with unripe apricots.


    To preserve the maximum amount of vitamins and minerals, sort the apricots and send them to dry in the oven or dryer. In the southern regions, you can leave halves of unripe fruits in the sun for 4-5 days. For storing dried apricots, you can choose the best place both in a city apartment and in a private house. They do not deteriorate for a long time and retain all the useful components, if you choose correctly:

    • Place of ripening. You can leave dried apricots in the refrigerator, freezer, or place in a closed cabinet in a well-ventilated area: balcony, pantry, attic. It is not recommended to keep fruits near the sink, stove, microwave.
    • Temperature regime. The room should be no more than + 15-20 degrees, otherwise insects may descend. To prevent the appearance of mold, it is necessary to regulate the humidity regime. The indicator should not exceed 65%.
    • Packaging material. Store dried apricots in a separate package, away from other fruits. It is better to keep the product in a glass, hermetically sealed jar, cardboard box or wooden box. Before sending the fruits for storage in the freezer, you should carefully wrap them in foil.

    Important! In order for dried apricots not to lose their aroma and pleasant taste throughout the year, it is important to create optimal storage conditions for a useful product.

    Dried apricots


    Lately storage of apricots in the freezer has gained popularity. It is worth considering that unripe fruits should not be placed in the freezer, as under the influence of low temperatures they will not ripen. Therefore, only ripe apricots should be frozen:

    1. Wash the fruits, let them dry, remove the stone.
    2. Cut into small pieces, if desired.
    3. Place in plastic bags or freezer containers.
    4. Send to the freezer. Shelf life is not more than 1 year.

    Note! At low temperatures, the nutritional value of the fruit does not decrease. From such a product you can make delicious drinks, compotes, stuffing for pies, rolls.

    Freezing apricots

    Storage in the refrigerator

    In the refrigerator at a temperature of about +5 degrees, the fruits are stored for only a month, if the indicator is higher - about a week. Gradually, their taste and external characteristics begin to deteriorate. For storage, it is better to use a special container for vegetables, while trying to close it tightly.

    Common storage mistakes

    Some of the most common mistakes when storing unripe crops include: