Tomatoes are a versatile and delicious fruit to grow in the garden, but knowing when they’re ripe and ready to eat can be tricky! Eating a tomato before it is ripe means you miss out on its full flavor. On the other hand, leaving tomatoes to ripen on the vine often results in pests getting to them before you do. Thankfully, it is possible to harvest tomatoes while they are still green and allow them to finish ripening indoors. After reading this post you’ll know exactly how to ripen green tomatoes!
Keep in mind the following:
- Tomatoes tend to ripen best with part of the stem left on.
- These methods should ripen fruit in about 7-14 days, or sooner.
- Green tomatoes that are not yet mature cannot ripen once picked. Only pick full-sized tomatoes for finishing indoors.
- These methods do not enhance flavor. No tomato is going to be as delicious as field ripened. But, it’s a better option than having them go to waste.
- Be sure to keep tomatoes at room temperature during the indoor ripening process. Do not refrigerate them, as this will ruin their flavor.
How to Ripen Green Tomatoes Indoors
Hang the Entire Tomato Plant Indoors
Tomatoes that ripen on a vine taste better than ones that don’t. Instead of harvesting your tomatoes at the end of the season, dig up the entire plant (which will die anyway), hang it in a cool, dry spot that receives some light indoors (avoid overly sunny spots), and let the fruits color up on the vine.
Leave the Tomatoes on the Counter
Leaving green tomatoes on the counter or window sill will allow them to slowly ripen on their own. Store them at room temperature with the stem intact and the stem’s side facing down. Inspect them daily for progress or signs of ones going bad. You’ll want to remove any that appear likely to mold before they ripen.
Put Tomatoes in a Paper Sack or Cardboard Box
Tomatoes and other ripening fruits, such as bananas, apples, and avocados, rely on ethylene gas—not sunlight—to ripen, so keeping green tomatoes in a confined, temperature-controlled area once they’re harvested will speed up the process.
Add Another Ripe Fruit
Since other fruits release ethylene gas as they ripen, exposing a green tomato to another ripening fruit will help it mature faster. Need a tomato to ripen more quickly? Put it in a paper bag with a ripe banana, apple, or another tomato. The ripe fruit will emit ethylene gas, and it will concentrate in the air in the bag, helping to speed the ripening of your tomato.
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