Got a good question a few days ago that (sort of) plays into today’s discussion of pears:
Can you tell me? Why do some fruits get better tasting after days in the fruit bowl while others don’t? Also, do fruits lose their nutritional value as they sit?
Firstly, as far as I know, fruits don’t lose their nutritional value sitting in your fruit bowl. But let’s back up a bit. Fruits are divided broadly into two types: climacteric and nonclimacteric. The first type rely on ethylene gas (which they themselves produce) to stimulate their ripening. These kinds of fruits (bananas and apples and pears are good examples) continue to ripen and develop flavor after they’ve been picked. The second type do not depend on ethylene, and instead rely on the plant they grow on for their development. They get no sweeter, riper or better tasting after picking (think strawberries and pineapples). Climacteric or no though, both types of fruits will eventually decay and rot, at which point they will of course lose all their nutritional value. But until they actually get overripe, I don’t believe they lose nutrients in any significant amounts.