I mentioned a few posts back, that an early snow had forced us to pick our pumpkins while still green. One was turned into a green pumpkin crisp, while the other was going into a bag of apples, to speed up the ripening process.
I ran into a problem though, when I went to get a bag. It turned out I only had plastic bags on hand. Since plastic bags don't allow moisture to escape, it became apparent pretty quickly, I would not be able to proceed with the experiment in that manner. Although, the large amount of condensation produced inside the bag by one pumpkin and a half a dozen Macintosh apples was pretty impressive, and might make good fodder for a different sort of experiment on another day. However, I really did want a ripe pumpkin, not a molded one, so I pulled it out of the bag, and placed it back on the table, until two days ago, when I could get my hands on a paper bag, and a fresh supply of apples.
Sitting on the table, the pumpkin had remained pretty much green, with just a hint of orange appearing around the stem. As, I mentioned before, we've ripened pumpkins this way for a number of years, it's one of the side effects of life western Montana - the growing season is just too short for really good results with pumpkins. From past experience, I can tell you, it takes several weeks in a sunny indoor spot for a green pumpkin to ripen.
In a bag full of apples however, it appears to take a matter of days.
The reason for this is the ethylene gas given off by the apples. It's the same reason that you can ripen bananas in a paper bag. They produce the gas, which speeds the ripening process, so when confined to the bag, they will ripen themselves. Grocery stores sometimes use a synthetic version of the gas to ripen produce, like bananas or tomatoes, delivered to them green.
A little knowledge of ethylene gas, can go a long way to keeping produce fresher in your refrigerator too. Below are a few links on ethylene gas I found helpful.
It's great to be a homeschooler.