How to Ripen Plums in Microwave: Quick and Easy Guide

Have you ever bought plums that just aren’t ripe yet? We know the feeling, and we’re here to help to ensure you get to enjoy those plums the way they are meant to be.

How to Ripen Plums in Microwave

The good news is we have a quick and easy trick to ripen plums with a simple and common kitchen utensil, the humble microwave.

This method is perfect for those moments when you just can’t wait to enjoy your juicy, ripe fruit.


But before we jump into the exciting part of this trick, it’s important for us to remind you to handle the process with care. Microwaves can be tricky at times, and we want to make sure your plums turn out perfect! So, follow our easy-to-understand instructions, and we’ll have your plums ripe and ready to eat in no time.

Understanding Plums and Ripening

Before we subject our fruit to these methods and techniques, we find it helpful to understand their ripening process. This way, we can ensure we don’t overdo it and spoil our stone fruits.

Ripening Your Plums

The Natural Ripening Process

Plums, like many other fruits, ripen naturally on the tree. As they ripen, their color changes, and they become sweeter and softer. This process is due to the production of enzymes and the release of ethylene gas, which affects the fruit’s texture and taste.

However, sometimes we might buy plums that are still a little firm and not quite ripe. If we want to enjoy them sooner, we can speed up the ripening process at home.

Why Microwaves Can Help

Using a microwave is one way to help ripen plums faster. The gentle heat produced by the microwave can stimulate the enzymes and speed up the natural process, making the plums softer and sweeter in a shorter time.

It’s important to remember that microwaving plums for too long or at too high a temperature can cause them to cook or become too soft. So we’ll need to be careful with the settings and timing of our microwave to achieve the perfect ripeness.

Ripening Plums in the Microwave

Here is a step-by-step guide for ripening plums using a microwave.

ripen plum in microwave

1. Use the Right Tools

When working with microwaves, there is one thing you want to ensure you have correct. And that is that you are using microwave-safe crockery.

This includes:

  • plastics or materials that won’t melt under the radiation
  • no metal parts that may spark and cause a fire
  • most importantly, no chemicals in the crockery that may leach into your food.

2. Harness the Power of Water

In the middle of your plate, place a cup of cold water (using a microwave-safe cup, of course).

The water helps to absorb any excess microwave heat and radiation, which will help to prevent your food from overcooking.

Plus, as the water heats up, it creates a more humid environment, which helps to keep your plums moist and not dry out.

3. Set Yourself Up for Success

Place your unripened plums on the plate at equal distance away from each other around the cup.

This can sometimes be tricky if they begin to roll around on the crockery.

Obviously flat surfaces and round fruit do not mix well.

To minimize movement on your plate, we find it is easier to place the crockery in the microwave first and then position your plums.

4. Adjust Your Settings

Now comes the technical part – adjusting your microwave setting.

This is the most common mistake people make, when they don’t follow instructions. They throw their plums into a microwave and hit START. The problem is, the default setting on your microwave is almost always on high – which heats your food at an intense heat. A heat that is too intense for plums.

For plums, we need a low setting. In fact, we recommend adjusting your microwave to the lowest setting, just to be on the safe side.

5. Now or Never

It’s go-time.

Cook your plums on the low setting for 30 seconds.

Once done, test your plums to see if they are ripe (more on this below)

If they are still unripe, repeat the 30 second process until you have the ideal ripeness.


How to Determine Ripeness

Now that our plums have been microwaved, we need to check their ripeness. Let’s follow these simple steps:

  • Gently press the plum with our fingers. If it yields slightly, it’s ripe.
  • Observe the color. A ripe plum has a rich and vibrant color.
  • Lastly, smell the plum. A ripe plum should have a sweet aroma and fragrant scent.

Remember to always be careful when handling hot items from the microwave and give the plums a chance to cool down if needed.

Alternative Ripening Methods

We don’t always need a microwave to ripen our plums. There are other effective methods that we can use, like we do for canteloupe and mangoes. Let’s explore a couple of alternatives you can use at home.

Brown Paper Bag Technique

brown paper bag

One simple way to ripen plums is to use a brown paper bag. Here’s what we need to do:

  1. Find a brown paper bag.
  2. Gently place our plums inside the bag.
  3. Loosely close the bag by folding the top.
  4. Place the bag in a cool, dry place.
  5. Check on our plums after a day or two. Due to the ethylene that is trapped in the paperbag, they will ripen faster.

Using a Warm Space

We can also take advantage of warm spaces in our home to ripen plums. Here’s how:

  1. Choose a warm spot, such as a windowsill or near a stove.
  2. Place our plums in a single layer on a tray or plate.
  3. Make sure they don’t touch each other to prevent bruising.
  4. Leave them for a day or two, and watch them ripen in the warmth.

Ripening Plums with Uncooked Rice

Did you know you can ripen plums using a simple ingredient found in most pantries and local supermarkets?

uncooked rice can help ripen plums

Uncooked rice is a hands-off method of ripening plums we often use when we have the luxury of planning ahead.

Here’s what we do:

  1. Get a large bowl and some uncooked rice.
  2. Pour enough rice into the bowl to completely cover the plums you want to ripen.
  3. Place the unripe plums on top of the rice in the bowl.
  4. Cover the plums completely with more rice.
  5. Let the plums sit in the rice for a day or two.
  6. Check on the plums after a day or two to see if they have ripened.
  7. If the plums are ripe, take them out of the rice and enjoy!
  8. If the plums are still not ripe, cover them with fresh rice and let them sit for another day or two.
  9. Keep repeating steps 6-8 until the plums are fully ripened.

The rice uses the same principle of the brown paper bag, by trapping the naturally released ethylene chemical around the unripe fruit.

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