Best way to finish ripening tomatoes?

christie_sw_mo(Z6)October 17, 2009

I rescued my cherry tomatoes this afternoon so they won't freeze tonight. I picked some that aren't ripe yet. Any tips on getting them to ripen? I left them on the stems.

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sprouts_honor(5, southern shore of Erie)

Put them in a small paper bag (with a banana or apple if possible). Ethylene gas, also called ripening hormone, is produced by fruits and may help them ripen. My cherry tomatoes usually crack before they ripen off the vine.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2009 at 11:12PM
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We haven't had a freeze here ... yet (!) but it may come this week according to the weather reports. I have a huge tomato plant full of big green tomatoes ... can I pull the whole plant & string it in the shed & will the tomatoes tipen that way or should I pull the tomatoes from the plant, wrap them in paper & let them ripen that way ... OR just lose the tomatoes? The ones that have ripened lately don't have the good flavor of the earlier season ones .. does the slower ripenind affect the flavor?

    Bookmark   October 25, 2009 at 3:45PM
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Allow me to swing from the Fig forum for a minute or two.

The Sun is everything when it comes to gardening.
However this time of year we must rely on other sources to ripen them.

Ever wonder how the tomatoes at the market are always equal in size? once they reach a certain size the plant/vine is cut at ground level and left there to ripen.
And that beautiful red color is that trick light working just above your head.
Where I'm getting at is that they don't need to be physically on a live plant to ripen.

You can try to pull them off the vine and place them inside by the window and will turn in a matter of days.

Or, Have you ever ( depending on the size )tried pickeling some green tomatoes?

I'm no expert and am far away from being one.
I am a back yard gardener like most of the forum memebers but my father and I usually grow five or six different tomatoes every year, Maybe more.

True, They will not taste nowhere near as good as vine ripened but this time of year consider your self lucky to still have tomatoes in your garden.

What ever you do please don't throw them away. It will be a total waste of time and effort.
You can find 100 ways to make use out of them, Like salsa.

Good luck

Sterling Heights, Mi

    Bookmark   October 26, 2009 at 8:36PM
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My garden usually includes somewhere around 300 tomato plants every year. If ripening was a problem, I'd never have ripe tomatoes, the first part of the year, I pick all my tomatoes green. In the middle of the growing season it becomes a tremendous effort to store at least a ton of tomatoes most of the times, so I get behind. Why do I pick tomatoes green. Mostly it is to keep them from becoming too big, customers talk big and buy smaller. There are always plenty of pound and larger tomatoes to be found. Finally the primary reason is, I only plant indeterminate tomatoes, which want to keep going forever, except if you allow the tomotoes to vine ripen, it sends a signal to the plant, "Job Done", my plants will grow to 8 and 9 feet tall, then fall over my cages(from the weight of the fruit in the upper branches) and finally trail the ground. What do I store them in when ripening, since I raise my tomatoes from cradle to grave, the seed flats doubled up become the ripening containers, and the stacked shelves, I use for germination and growing become the ripening shelves(I sell plants too.)
Would guess the biggest question would be "Isn't the taste affected?), no not in my opinion, the variety has everything to do with taste. Welcome anyone that will try both in an unbiased taste test as I have or just a differing opinion. I've tried very hard to get anyone to say they can tell.
I use a mixture of dishsoap, vegetable oil, baking soda, and skim milk as my only source of spray. The plants get a heaping shovel full of composted material in every hole before planting as their only source of food for the year.
I welcome any critique of my tomato enterprise, or ideas.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2009 at 10:49PM
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clccharles: we also grow mostly indeterminate tomatoes from seed & they too grow way over the tops of the 5 ft. reinforcement wire cages & the flop back down. We notice the fruit tends to ripen from the shadier inside of the plant first & the green ones on the sunnier outside of the plants later but we seem to feel the earlier in the season ripened ones taste better than the ones (on the same plant) that have ripened towards the end of the season. As it got down to 27 here last night & the first freeze, we had just earlier pulled the big plants up by the roots & hung them in the garage. Do these need sun to ripen properly now? Bushels of tree leaves now dug into the garden for winter .. & found many more baking-size potatoes I have dug up that have grown from the peelings in the kitchen waste I have dug in the soil all year... a nice extra surprize to the end of the gardening season!! :)

Thanks everyone for your help!

    Bookmark   October 29, 2009 at 4:18PM
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They will ripen off the vine as noted. Sometimes the flavor isn't as good. There are many things that contribute to overall flavor and these come from the plant. Ripening a green tomato with ethylene (from other fruits) works pretty well, but can't produce the same complex flavor.

Ripening fully developed (but not ripe) fruits generally produces a better tasting tomato than trying to ripen the juveniles.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2009 at 9:38PM
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justaguy think you're right on the juveniles, they last a lot longer in storage, and we ususally eat the last wee one's about the 1st of Febuary. Even then we miss them so, because I just can't eat store tomatoes. Sister in law gave me a hint the other day. Said if you leave the stem on they take longer to ripen. Maybe that's why people pull the whole plant, and take them inside? Never know where one will get a tidbit of good information. Anyone know if that's the reason for pulling the whole plant?

    Bookmark   October 29, 2009 at 10:30PM
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I'd appreciate the quantity formula on that spray mix and, also, your experience with blights and anthracnose.

If you can find a supply of Potassium bicarbonate at a reasonable price it will do a bit better for you on desease control and has the added benefit of potassium being a primary nutrient. What benefits do you ascribe to the skim milk and oils?

    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 8:43AM
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Yep good ole potassium bicarbonate thanks Larry for the reminder thought I'd forgotten to get some for next season.


Here is a link that might be useful: Potassium bicarbonate

    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 7:27PM
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