What is "Color Break"?

dspen(5b/6a)September 2, 2013

I have heard that phrase thrown around on this forum and I am curious to exactly what it means.

Is it when the tomatoes are just starting to get some color or is it when they are almost ripe? Or someplace in between.

I have been picking mine when they are almost ripe and let them sit indoors to finish. But I have noticed that different varieties ripen differently.

For example, my San Marzanos get red on the bottom while staying green on top until I pick them and let them sit for a few days and the green part turns red.

So far this system is working for me, but wondering if there is more explanation to the picking at color break.


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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

It's when they are just starting to get some color. If time, or varments, or cracking due to rainfall isn't an issue, I'll let mine sit on the vine as long as possible.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 9:43AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Color break is the first flash of color developing on the blossom end of the fruit.

The links to pictures and definitions are included in many of the previous discussions of this question but I'll direct link one of them for you below.


Here is a link that might be useful: Guide to ripening stages of tomato

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 10:08AM
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Thanks for clarifying that for me.

Dave, you just crack me up sometimes!!! You are always on top of things :) That link was a huge help.


    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 7:43PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Commercial growers refer to 4 color breaks:

Breaker 1, just a blush at the blossom end\
Breaker 2, some color about 1/3 up the fruit
breaker 3. color above about 1/2 way up the fruit
Breaker 4, close to fully ripe..

Then totally ripe, not a breaker stage.


    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 2:11PM
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sue_ct(z6 CT)

I know color break is usually when color first develops on the blossom end. What about when the first color showing is on the shoulders or the side of the fruit, but there is no color on the blossom end? I always have some that this happens to late season, and I do again now. We have been getting night time lows in the mid 40s 2-3 times/week then back up to lows above 50 again. Does plant stress or cold do it? Would you still pick or wait for the blossom end to show color? I don't know why some ripen in a funky way, but right now I have one on the counter that is red 75% around the tomato but one side is stubbornly green.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 6:29PM
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