Green tomatoes typically have less flavor and texture than ripe red tomatoes. Here is everything you need to know about how to ripen green tomatoes correctly!
Tomatoes are a favorite ingredient in many dishes, but it can be frustrating when they refuse to ripen. Green tomatoes are not as flavorful as their ripe counterparts and can be challenging to use in recipes.
Green tomatoes are unripe tomatoes that have yet to reach their full color and flavor potential.
Green tomatoes can be found at any stage of growth, from the early stages when the tomato is small and green to the later stages when the tomato is almost mature but still green.
They can be frustrating to deal with because they are not as flavorful or juicy as ripe tomatoes. However, there are ways to ripen green tomatoes naturally or artificially.
In this article, we will learn how you can ripen green tomatoes and enjoy eating them how they are meant to be enjoyed!
Why Do Tomatoes Stay Green?
Tomatoes stay green for several reasons. One of the significant reasons is that the tomato has not yet reached its full maturity.
Tomatoes are typically green when they are still in the growth phase. The green color comes from the chlorophyll that is present in the tomato.
As the tomato reaches its full maturity, the chlorophyll breaks down, and the tomato changes color from green to red.
Another reason why tomatoes stay green is that the temperature is too low for the tomato to ripen. Tomatoes need a temperature of between 65-75°F to ripen correctly.
Factors That Affect Tomato Ripening
Several factors affect tomato ripening. As mentioned earlier, one of the primary factors is temperature. Tomatoes require a temperature range of 65-75°F to ripen correctly.
- The ripening process will slow down or stop if the temperature is too low. If the temperature is too high, the tomato will ripen too quickly, resulting in a bland flavor and texture.
- Another factor that affects tomato ripening is sunlight. Tomatoes require at least six hours of sunlight per day to ripen correctly.
- If the tomato plant is not getting enough sunlight, the ripening process will slow down, and the tomato will stay green.
The type of tomato also affects its ripening process like Campari tomatoes and cherry tomatoes. Some varieties of tomatoes take longer to ripen than others. Additionally, tomatoes harvested early will take longer to ripen than fully mature tomatoes.
How to Tell If a Tomato is Ready to Ripen
Before you start ripening your green tomatoes, it’s important to know how to tell if a tomato is ready to ripen. The best way to determine if a tomato is ready to ripen is by checking its color.
If the tomato has started to turn yellow or orange, it is ready to ripen. Additionally, if the tomato is starting to feel soft to the touch, it is also ready to ripen.
How To Ripen Green Tomatoes Naturally
There are several methods for ripening green tomatoes, both natural and artificial. Both these methods are explained in detail down below.
1. Off the vine
- One of the most natural methods for ripening green tomatoes is to let them ripen on the vine.
- If the tomato plant is still producing new tomatoes, you can leave the green tomatoes on the vine and wait for them to ripen naturally.
- However, if the weather is too cold and the plant is not producing new tomatoes, this method may not be practical.
2. Adding A Fruit To The Paper Bag
It is well known that fruits such as apples and bananas produce large quantities of ethylene gas.
You can hasten the maturation of your green tomatoes by combining them with tomatoes in a paper bag. The procedure is as follows:
- Place the tomatoes in a brown paper bag with the apple or banana and leave them in a warm, dry place for several days.
- Fold the top of the sack over. Once the tomatoes have ripened to your satisfaction, remove them on a daily basis.
3. Tomatoes placed in a Paper Bag
Putting unripe tomatoes in a paper bag is one of the simplest methods for ripening them.
This restricts the ethylene gas that tomatoes produce naturally during ripening, thereby accelerating the process. Follow these procedures to employ this method:
- Place your green tomatoes in a pouch made from brown paper.
- Fold the bag’s top over to confine the ethylene gas inside.
- Check the tomatoes every day, as maturation can occur rapidly with this technique.
- Once the tomatoes are ripe, remove them from the container and consume them as soon as possible to prevent further ripening.
4. Tomatoes stored in a box or drawer
Consider using a crate or drawer for greater quantities of green tomatoes. In this procedure, you merely:
Arrange the tomatoes in a box or drawer, being careful not to arrange them too high, as this could cause them to become damaged.
- If possible, individually envelop each tomato in the newspaper. This can help protect the tomatoes from ethylene gas and contain it.
- Place the box in a cool, dark area, such as the pantry or the cellar.
- Check the tomatoes every few days and remove the ripening ones.
5. Tomatoes ripening on the vine
If there are still green tomatoes on the vine, try covering the plants with transparent plastic.
This mimics a miniature greenhouse by retaining heat and moisture, which can help tomatoes ripen. Frost can injure or kill plants, so remember to remove the cover if there is a chance of frost.
6. Tomatoes ripening in a warm spot
Additionally, placing unripe tomatoes in a warm, sunny location can help them ripen. However, avoid placing the tomatoes in direct sunlight, as this can cause them to decay before they ripen.
How to ripen tomatoes: Artificial Methods
If you do not have time to wait for your tomatoes to ripen naturally, there are several artificial methods for ripening green tomatoes.
- One of the most popular methods is to place the tomatoes in a warm, dark place. You can use a cardboard box or a paper bag to create a dark environment for the tomatoes.
- Place the tomatoes in the box or bag and keep them in a warm place, such as a closet or the top of the refrigerator. Check the tomatoes daily to ensure they are not over-ripening.
- Another artificial method for ripening green tomatoes is to use a ripening agent. Calcium carbide is a popular ripening agent that is used to ripen green tomatoes.
- However, this method is not recommended as calcium carbide is hazardous to human health and can cause severe health problems.
How to Store Ripe Tomatoes
Have you ever pondered about how to store tomatoes? You may have considered whether refrigerating a tomato would extend its shelf life or make it tasteless and dry.
The answer is not straightforward and depends on several factors. Tomatoes come in various types, from the luscious heirloom varieties to the dependable ones found in grocery stores.
However, the general rule of thumb is that tomatoes taste best when they are firm, have a little snap to their skin, and have a slight give to their texture, without any mushiness.
So, how can you store tomatoes to ensure they remain fresh and retain their flavor without becoming mealy? Keep reading to find out.
One way to store tomatoes is to leave them at room temperature in a box. If you have a tomato plant at home, you might have noticed that the fruit keeps ripening even after it’s picked.
However, if you’re not planning to use a ripe tomato immediately, you can store it in the refrigerator to slow down its aging process and avoid spoilage.
Is Refrigerating Tomatoes an Effective Solution?
Refrigeration should only be used as a last resort, particularly for tomatoes nearing the end of their shelf life.
It’s worth noting that under-ripe tomatoes should not be refrigerated as this hinders their ability to ripen even after being removed from the fridge.
Refrigeration should only be used for tomatoes that are at their prime and only to extend their shelf life until you’re ready to consume them.
Recipes for Green Tomatoes
Green tomatoes are a versatile ingredient that can be used in several recipes. One of the most popular recipes for green tomatoes is fried green tomatoes.
To make fried green tomatoes, slice a couple of green tomatoes and coat them in cornmeal and flour. Then fry them in hot oil until they are golden brown.
Another recipe for green tomatoes is green tomato salsa. To make the green tomato salsa, chop the green tomatoes and mix them with onions, jalapenos, and lime juice.
Serve the salsa with tortilla chips for a delicious snack.
Ripen Tomatoes Naturally FAQS
Q: Can You Eat Green Tomatoes Raw?
Yes, you can safely eat raw green tomatoes. However, they are not as flavorful as ripe tomatoes and can be difficult to digest.
Q: How Long Does It Take For Green Tomatoes To Ripen?
The time it takes for green tomatoes to ripen depends on several factors, including the type of tomato and the ripening method.
Generally, it takes between one and two weeks for green tomatoes to ripen.
Q: Can Green Tomatoes Turn Red Off The Vine?
Yes, green tomatoes can turn red off the vine. If you pick the green tomatoes before they have fully matured, you can ripen them off the vine.
Q: How Can You Store Cut Tomatoes?
If you have a cut tomato, storing it properly to ensure it stays fresh is important.
Cover the cut side, wrap it tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate any leftovers.
It’s important to note that a cut tomato starts deteriorating immediately because its inside becomes exposed to air.
You can expect it to be good for a day or two, but it won’t last much longer.
Green tomatoes are a challenge to deal with, but there are several methods for ripening them naturally or artificially.
Whether you choose to let them ripen on the vine or use an artificial method, you can enjoy the full flavor of your tomato harvest.
Remember to store your ripe tomatoes correctly and try out some delicious recipes using green tomatoes.
At the end of the day, by following this comprehensive guide, you ripen your green tomatoes in no time!
My name is Olivia, staying in the United States, and I love to have plants in my garden. Lots of plants are there in my balcony, indoor and outdoor garden also. Here I am trying to share useful tips on gardening, how to grow and care for various plants, etc. Check out more.