0
points
How do I ripen green tomatoes before cold weather?

Tomato    None Given

I would like to know what is the best thing to do with tomatoes that are still on the plant which have not ripened. I have several plants which still have fruit but I am worried about the weather turning colder and potentially killing them before they have a chance to ripen. Can I move the plants indoors or is there a way to get the tomatoes to ripen?


Posted by: Yvonne (1 point) Yvonne
Posted: October 18, 2013


Yvonne commented,
Thank you for all of the wonderful ideas and suggestions, a great help!
over 6 years ago.



Answers

1
point
put up plastic row covers and toss banana and apple scraps under your plants. This works better if you pick the tomatoes and put them in a paper bag with the scraps. I've also heard you can stress the plant by damaging its' root system and that'll trigger the plant to grow fruit faster but I've never tried.


Posted by: J.D. Archer (31 points) J.D. Archer
Posted: October 18, 2013


Lindsay McMenemy commented,
that sounds like an interesting idea, I assume there is some kind of scientific basis for using apple and banana? perhaps you could elaborate to explain for others?
over 6 years ago.

Yvonne commented,
thanks J.D. I will try this
over 6 years ago.



1
point
To answer Lindsay's question: The fruit scraps contain ethylene gas, a ripening hormone [see http://bit.ly/17y97cD]. But I agree with J.D. that a better strategy would be to place some unblemished, hard-green, mature tomatoes into a paper bag with an apple or two and set them in a cool pale to hasten ripening.

I've placed hard green tomatoes on a wooden rack in a cool, dark cellarway (make sure they don't touch) and left them to ripen naturally over several weeks. The very firm, sound slicers work best if you want to use this ripening technique. You could also set bowl of apples nearby to hurry them along. Of course, like all fruits ripened after harvest, your indoor-ripened tomatoes won't taste quite so good as the ones that ripened on the vine.


Posted by: Peg Boyles (3 points) Peg Boyles
Posted: October 18, 2013


Yvonne commented,
Thanks for the suggestions!
over 6 years ago.



1
point
You could try moving the plants indoors if there is adequate light. As soon as they start to show some color, the fruits will ripen off the vine at room temperature. If left outside, pinch off any new flower clusters or tiny tomato fruits as they will not have time to ripen and this will divert the plants' resources to the other fruit to hasten ripening.


Posted by: Joan Allen (2 points) Joan Allen
Posted: October 18, 2013




1
point
One year, I had quite a few tomatoes to ripen indoors, and found the process of paper bags with tomatoes hanging all over the place sort-of messy. Instead, I took the cardboard trays that you can get at stores like Aldis or Save-a-lot that cans are shipped in and laid a layer of tomatoes in each, then stacked cross-wise in a nice sturdy short tower of 4 or 5 trays. You could add apples or bananas in there if you wanted. Anyway, they ripened up nicely in a corner of the room out of the way, and weren't bumping up against each other and bruising when moved in bags. You could do the same thing with pears or other ripening fruits, when needed.


Posted by: April (2 points) April
Posted: October 18, 2013




1
point
Tomato plants have 2 growth phases: vegetative (leaves and stems), and sexual (blossoms, seeds, and fruit). Water and nutrients go mainly to vegetative growth. So to speed-ripen the last of the green tomatoes, you want the plant to cease vegetative growth and put all its resources into ripening the seeds (fruit). To do that, you need to sever the feeder roots. Either cut down 6 inches deep, in a circle a foot away from the stem, or else pull up the stem while twisting it.

You can do this anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks before expected frost.

I need to do this soon! In my climate, the first frost isn't expected until the last week of Nov., but tomatoes ripen very slowly once nighttime temperatures get below 50F and the flavor isn't as rich after mid-Oct.

If you can wait until the tomatoes show some blush of color, they will have a better taste than those that are picked fully green (like supermarket tomatoes).


Posted by: Tanya in the Garden (128 points) Tanya in the Garden
Posted: October 22, 2013




1
point
All of the above answers are good as long as the tomatoes reach physiologic maturity before they are removed from the vine. You can determine this by looking at the blossom end of the tomato for a pale green starburst. If the tomatoes have this starburst they will continue to redden using the techniques above. If they are too immature you can pick them and make many delicious pickles/salsas with them. The Rombauer sisters have an excellent recipe for green tomato pickle in their seminal cookbook, The Joy of Cooking. Immature green tomatoes can also substitute for tomatillos in salsa verde recipes.


Posted by: Anthony Stokes (3 points) Anthony Stokes
Posted: October 22, 2013




0
points
Cut plant at base and take indoors - fruit will not grow further but will 'drain' plant and begin to ripen over time - think of 'vine ripened' tomatoes you buy still on the truss


Posted by: Cornelis (1 point) Cornelis
Posted: January 7, 2014




You need to log in if you'd like to add an answer or comment.