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How To Tell If Strawberries Are Ripe

Ever been to a grocery store or farmers market, stood in front of a display of gorgeous red strawberries, and wondered how to tell if they’re ripe?

You’re not alone. Picking ripe strawberries can be a bit of a challenge, but with some simple tips and a keen eye, you can better understand which ones to pick.

A white bowl filled with ripe strawberries on the counter.

To identify ripe strawberries, look for a uniform deep red color from tip to stem, with a sweet, fruity smell, and a firm but not hard texture. The seeds should be slightly indented into the skin and it’s important to note that size isn’t a reliable indicator of ripeness.

How To Tell If Strawberries Are Ripe

Strawberries are “non-climacteric” fruits, which means they don’t continue to ripen after being picked.

The optimal time to pick a strawberry is when it’s fully ripe – that’s when it’s at its most flavorful and nutritious. A strawberry’s ripening process involves a few key stages:

  1. Green Stage: This is the initial phase when the strawberry is still growing. It is small, green, and hard.
  2. White Stage: In this phase, the strawberry starts to enlarge and turn white.
  3. Turning Stage: The berry begins to show some redness, but it’s still not ripe.
  4. Ripe Stage: The strawberry is fully red, juicy, and ready to eat!

Understanding the process of identifying ripeness in strawberries is vital, especially during your strawberry-picking adventures.

Keep in mind, that strawberry season hits its peak in the summer, making it the perfect time for strawberry picking at local farms or even in your backyard.

Identifying Ripe Strawberries

Strawberries can be quite simple to identify by just giving them a quick once over and checking their color, size, texture, and smell.


Color is your primary guide to strawberry ripeness. A ripe strawberry will be a uniform deep red from tip to stem.

Strawberries with green or white areas aren’t fully ripe. Remember, the exact shade of red can differ between strawberry varieties.


Size isn’t a reliable ripeness indicator for strawberries. Unlike some fruits, strawberries stop growing once picked, so their size reflects the variety and growing conditions rather than ripeness.

Don’t overlook smaller strawberries; they can often be sweeter and more flavorful.


A ripe strawberry should be firm yet slightly yielding to the touch, not hard or mushy. Also, the seeds of a ripe strawberry will be slightly indented into the skin, rather than flush or protruding.


Ripe strawberries emit a sweet, fruity aroma. If strawberries lack a strong scent, they’re likely, not ripe, while an overly sweet or fermented smell might indicate overripe berries.

Don’t hesitate to use your nose while selecting strawberries! You can also check out our post on how to tell if strawberries have gone bad to see the difference.

To help you better understand these criteria, here’s a handy table:

CriteriaUnripe StrawberryRipe Strawberry
ColorGreen or Partially RedFully Red
SizeVariableVariable (not a reliable ripeness indicator)
SmellFaint or No AromaSweet, Fruity Aroma
TextureHardFirm but Not Hard
SeedsOn the SurfaceSlightly Indented

Frequently Asked Questions About How To Tell If Strawberries Are Ripe

Ripe strawberries should be stored in the refrigerator and eaten within a few days for the best flavor. If you have an excess of ripe strawberries, you can also freeze them for later use in smoothies, sauces, or baked goods.

No, strawberries are non-climacteric fruit, which means they do not continue to ripen after being picked. They should be picked when fully ripe for optimal flavor and nutrition.

While you can eat strawberries that are not fully red, they may not have the sweetness and flavor of a fully ripe strawberry.


With this guide, you’re now ready to select the most delicious, perfectly ripe strawberries every time. Enjoy the fruit-picking process, and revel in the knowledge that you’re about to enjoy some perfectly ripe, delectable strawberries.

Enjoying perfectly ripe strawberries is just the start. Expand your expertise with our all-encompassing guide to fruit ripeness, where we share the secrets to selecting the best fruit every time.

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