Which edible solanaceae fruits will ripen after they've been picked, besides domestic tomatoes? I already know tomatoes will ripen off the vine. I heard that tomatillos or some such won't. So, that's what sparked this question.

Here's a list of notable edible fruits to consider in the solanaceae family. If I'm missing any notable ones, feel free to let me know. By notable, I mean, you can easily buy their seeds online, or else they're pretty common somewhere. Potatoes aren't listed because I'm only asking about fruits (in the botanical sense of the word 'fruit'), though.

  • Capsicum annuum (a pepper species, which includes sweet peppers, jalapenos and several others)
  • Capsicum baccatum (a pepper species)
  • Capsicum chinense (a pepper species)
  • Capsicum frutescens (a pepper species)
  • Capsicum pubescens (a pepper species, which includes rocoto peppers)
  • Tomatillos
  • Lycium barbarum Goji berries
  • Lycium chinense Goji berries
  • Ground cherries
  • Eggplants
  • Litchi tomatoes (these aren't tomatoes, despite the name, although they may have a similar appearance and somewhat similar flavor, mixed with a cherry flavor, they say)
  • Pepino melons
  • Naranjilla
  • Tamarillo
  • Solanum cheesmaniae (a species of wild tomato)
  • Solanum galapagense (a species of wild tomato)
  • Solanum pimpinellifolium (a species of wild tomato)

The above are mostly what I want to know about (those are all solanaceae fruits that you can actually buy seeds for online pretty easily), but if you like, feel free to tell me about as many other solanaceae fruits as come to mind, such as these:

  • Ethiopian eggplant (this is not simply an eggplant variety)
  • Tzimbalo
  • Australian desert raisin (kutjera)
  • Any of the other wild tomato species (I don't mean feral varieties of domestic tomatoes that people call wild)
  • Any of the other species of peppers (or any species belonging to the capsicum genus)
  • 1
    I'm glad you include C. pubescens. The rocoto (or locoto in Bolivia) is a fantastic pepper with intense sweet pepper flavor and a multi-layered heat that creeps up on you. And I've yet to run into another person in the States (other than those from whom I buy plants) who's ever heard of it, let alone tried it. At any rate, these definitely continue to ripen once harvested, but the amount it will ripen is limited by dehydration - they tend to start getting wrinkly if left out for a week or so.
    – That Idiot
    Nov 25, 2014 at 13:41
  • 1
    I get best results picking fruit that have already ripened to an orange color, and then letting them ripen to a deep red on my countertop (if I can't leave them on the bush to do so). They don't really hold enough water to go from green to red off the plant in my experience.
    – That Idiot
    Nov 25, 2014 at 13:42
  • I've heard of it, but I'm not sure if I've seen it for sale. I think it is usually classed as hard to propagate and usually picked wild in the Andes?
    – winwaed
    Nov 25, 2014 at 13:56
  • It takes a long time to germinate unless on a heated mat, so I generally buy plants from one of two sources here in the states. Not sure if I'm allowed to link to them or not, otherwise I would. In the Andes it is cultivated, but more like a perennial shrub. My favorite was a family that housed guinnea pigs in a cage under a row of the locotos against a wall. The plants live 7+ years for certain - some say up to 15 years. They DO need a long growing season in the first year, fruit not really developing until late fall. Potted second year can produce ripe fruit by early August in NY.
    – That Idiot
    Nov 25, 2014 at 14:39
  • Perhaps give them a try. Turns out my supplier (peppergal in Florida) lists red/yellow/orange of riciota (sp?) as seeds. They don't sell plants.
    – winwaed
    Nov 25, 2014 at 19:47

3 Answers 3


Capsicum annuum definitely does.

I've a feeling Capsicum frutescens (Tabascoes et al) do, but I'm not sure. When I've grown them, I've tended to eat or freeze them immediately.

  • Which varieties of Capsicum annuum have you found that do this? All that I've had out on the table went bad before ripening. Some may have slightly colored, but nothing like tomatoes. This inspires me to ask another pepper question. Feb 23, 2015 at 22:41
  • 1
    Most that I can think of although I tend to grow sweeter varieties - so Gypsy (a bell), anaheims (big jim, NM6-4), jalapenos. When we get quite a large crop I usually put them in a bowl, and then try to circulate them so they don't over-ripen.
    – winwaed
    Feb 24, 2015 at 13:33
  • Since I've asked the question, I've found that pretty much all peppers, if not all, will ripen post-harvest if they're unrefrigerated, but if refrigerated, only some will ripen (and slowly by comparison). It's a common misconception that peppers need to be refrigerated. They sure don't! May 22, 2018 at 2:17

Chillis are not climacteric fruits so can be removed from your list.



Since the time that I asked the question, I've discovered that sour tomatillos can turn sweet if you leave them in the refrigerator for months. I'm not sure if they'll ever turn sweet outside the refrigerator, but they will stay good for months outside the refrigerator (at least the variety I tried outside the refrigerator, which was Amarylla, which was still sour after a really long time, but I could have waited longer, perhaps; I'm not sure what the variety was that I refrigerated, but it was green and large).

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