how to ripen green tomatoes?

Jamming(7a NoVA)September 9, 2008

I have a lot of green tomatoes. Sadly temperatures are falling and as are my hopes for them ripening into delicious red mealtime additions. My question is whether I can pick and ripen them in a brown paper bag? Or must I move on and look for a great green salsa recipe?

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melva02(z7 VA)

Can you leave them on the vine until they start to turn red? If you pick them while they're totally green, they'll never get completely ripe, though they will redden and soften somewhat. If they get a chance to turn red on the vine, they will ripen better. Ethylene is what "ripens" them so you can put them in a bag if you want, or just let them sit on the counter, preferably in the sun.

We are only seeing lows in the 60s in Richmond...why not leave them on the vine until the first frost?

Melissa

    Bookmark   September 10, 2008 at 12:37AM
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ottawapepper

As Melissa suggests, leave them on the vine as long as possible. When they do need to be picked due to frost, I find wrapping them individually in newspaper and placing them in a warm spot works well for me. Check them every few days, they should ripen up red enough.

Bill

    Bookmark   September 10, 2008 at 8:43AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

You can also pull up the entire plant, roots and all, and hang it upside down in the garage or basement and the fruit will ripen. They taste better than the ones done in paper or in bags.

We do it every year and get ripe tomatoes till early Dec.

Otherwise, as others have said, as soon as they begin to show some color, pick them and let them finish on the kitchen counter. Once they 'break' (get a color blush) they will ripen fine off the vine.

Dave

    Bookmark   September 10, 2008 at 8:48AM
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brokenbar(Mexico 23 00 N, 102 00 W)

I pick all of mine and put them into those black growing trays which I lay then on a sheet of plastic on the bed in our unheated guestroom (we do not encourage anyone to linger...) I ripen nearly another 2000 tomatoes this way. They all turn totally red, I have no mold or other problems. I have done this for 30 years and it really works well for me. Wyoming gets too cold too fast for me to hang the plants. They would freeze the tomatoes solid before Thanksgiving.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2008 at 9:39AM
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dirtbert(z4)

One more suggestion...

I always pick mine as soon as they show signs of blushing (some every day) and collect them on the kitchen counter piled together. The collection will ripen pretty quickly and then the plants can focus their energy on turning more red.
I always do this trick to ensure I have the most tomatoes ready at one time for canning in as few batches as possible.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2008 at 10:36PM
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paddy_99(6)

My experience here in Kansas has been to leave them on the vine as long as possible. I have had some great tasting tomatoes that were picked in the middle of October. The size was small but the taste was good,

    Bookmark   September 11, 2008 at 7:46AM
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gran2(z5 INDIANA)

I use Bill's method, wrapping individually in newspaper and letting ripen in the cellar. All tomatoes won't ripen this way; they have to be past a certain point of maturity or they just rot. Try not to use a fridge. According to a test run by Organic Gardening magazine, the taste changes noticeably by the hour when tomatoes are refrigerated. Also, ph changes when the vines die, so tomato eating is great, but canning is out.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2008 at 10:36AM
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