Uneven Ripening

skadoshSeptember 22, 2009

Hi,

My tomatoes just started ripening now. I recently picked a Brandywine after it had blushed, and left in a paper bag to ripen. After four days, the bottom half of the tomato seems fully ripe, while the top is still dark green. What is going on ? Pictures below

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dickiefickle(5B Dousman,Wi.)

Looks like 3 more days to go

    Bookmark   September 23, 2009 at 12:28AM
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bigdaddyj(Zone7)

When the stem end of a tomato remains green or yellowish, it is called green shoulders. That's what your Brandy has. Not Uneven Ripening which is something totally different. The green area is also noticably harder than the ripened fruit. This can occur when temperatures remain high for a prolonged period or when the fruit receives too much direct sun exposure. The chlorophyll in the fruit that would normally break down as the fruit ripens, doesn't or does so too slowly.

This problem is more prevalent in heirloom varieties, since many hybrid tomatoes have been bred not to do this. If you find this happening to your tomatoes, make sure the fruits have good foliage cover. If the problem persists, try picking the tomatoes after they reach breaker stage and allowing them to ripen away from the sun. As with tomatoes that crack, tomatoes with green shoulders are still edible. Just cut around the shoulders.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2009 at 6:45AM
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sue_ct(z6 CT)

Why are you putting them in a paper bag? The way I understand it, that simulates "gassing" the tomatoes, which growers used to do to make grocery store tomatoes, which causes them to turn red but not to really ripen internally, resulting in red but firm fruit that shipped well and looked good but also causes you to end up with the same quality of tomato you buy in the grocery store. Wait until they get to the first blush stage or later and let them ripen out of the sun on a counter top or similar area, but not on a window sill. That way they will ripen fully, not just turn red.

Sue

    Bookmark   September 23, 2009 at 10:54PM
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engineeredgarden(7, nw Alabama)

bigdaddyj - you just taught me something, and it's greatly appreciated.

EG

    Bookmark   September 24, 2009 at 8:43PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

This problem is more prevalent in heirloom varieties, since many hybrid tomatoes have been bred not to do this. If you find this happening to your tomatoes, make sure the fruits have good foliage cover. If the problem persists, try picking the tomatoes after they reach breaker stage and allowing them to ripen away from the sun. As with tomatoes that crack, tomatoes with green shoulders are still edible. Just cut around the shoulders.

******

The gene involved is called the uniform ripening gene and if a variety doesn't have it the fruits usually do get green shoulders and that's not a problem as I see it.

And yes, that gene is bred into almost all hybrid varieties.

And I agree with Sue about using a paper bag to ripen fruits. As tomato fruits ripen they make ethylene gas naturally which is part of the ripening process. If you put unripened fruits in a bag, and some add pieces of apple or banana, what you do is to trap that ethylene gas inside the bag.

But.....our winter shipped in tomatoes usually have that anemic pink color b'c they are picked at the blush stage and put in large rooms where ethylene gas is forced in to hasten the ripening of those fruits, which I don't think taste good at all. So using bag ripening you're just doing the same as artificial ethylene gas ripening.( smile)

Carolyn

    Bookmark   September 24, 2009 at 9:42PM
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