Ripening Tomatoes

Share

Tomato seedlings; at this stage, those red, ripe globes are no more than a gleam in the gardener's eye!

Tomato seedlings; at this stage, those red, ripe globes are no more than a gleam in the gardener’s eye!


Nothing says summer quite like tomatoes, especially if you avoid the cardboard kind in the store and wait for the real thing from the garden. On the other hand, it seems like it takes f-o-o-o-r-r-e-e-v-v-v-ve-e-r-r for the darned things to get ripe. Kind of like a car trip with the kids where you hear “Are we there yet?” and “How much longer?” at least a zillion times, beginning about 10 minutes after you drive out the gate. We actually took a trip once where the questions didn’t begin until we’d been on the road for 20 minutes; a miracle. Anyway, back to the tomatoes. There are some ways to speed up ripening.
First off, you should expect to wait about 20 to 30 days from the blossom stage until the fruits get to full size. Then it’s another 20 to 30 days until they begin to change color. That’s standard tomatoes; cherry tomatoes ripen earlier and faster. Weather affects ripening: too hot (above 85) or too cold (below55) will slow things down. You can let tomatoes ripen on the vine or you can pick them once they have turned color and ripen them at room temperature of around 70-75 degrees.
Recipe for a salad: first, grow the tomatoes, cucumbers, celery and green onions...

Recipe for a salad: first, grow the tomatoes, cucumbers, celery and green onions…


If you want to push the process, harvest daily and pick anything that shows color. You can remove flower clusters to direct the plant’s energy into the ripening fruit, but don’t do it too early or you’ll be sacrificing the later crop of tomatoes. Remove small fruits that obviously aren’t going to get any bigger, and pinch off suckers or leaves except for those shading the fruit. Again, this directs all the nutrients into the fruits.
So now it’s the first of August and you usually get a frost around October 15th. Cut back on the water, and if you’ve been fertilizing, stop. Gently twist the crown of the plant to disturb the roots a little. Pinch off all the blossoms and keep doing it if any more appear. These steps are intended to send a message to the plant: quit growing and set seed. You can continue to harvest colored tomatoes and ripen them indoors.
Most of these will ripen at room temperature; the green ones will be useful in various recipes.

Most of these will ripen at room temperature; the green ones will be useful in various recipes.

Share
This entry was posted in Farms, Food and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Ripening Tomatoes

  1. Samia says:

    Most folks get upset if their tomatoes don’t ripen 100% on the vine, but it has been proved that you can pick them if there is at least a bit of colour on the fruit and let them ripen indoors. They are every bit as tasty.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *