Wondering how to ripen green tomatoes? Towards the end of the summer, when temperatures drop at night that means a slow down on your garden tomatoes’ ripening process, ripening can seem to take longer than usual. Green tomatoes take forever to ripen. Cold is definitely the wrong climate for tomatoes. Is there a way to ripen green tomatoes? Yes, you caan coax the ripening process from green to red when tomatoes are taken indoors. Tomatoes actually need warmth and not sun to ripen. So turn your tomatoes from green to red inside by keeping them warm (an indoor temperature of about 70º F is perfect).
Here’s How To Ripen Green Tomatoes Indoors
First, choose mature fruits that are at their full or nearly full size and slightly softened with a hint of color on the blossom end. Once you bring them inside, it’s advisable not to wash them unless you want to save a fruit after losing the plants to disease (remember to dry them thoroughly). Otherwise, refrain from washing them until you’re ready to consume them, as any moisture left on the tomato could lead to mold.
Then try these methods to turn those green tomatoes red:
1. Paper Bag Method
To ripen green tomatoes, place them in a closed paper bag and store them in a warm location. By keeping the tomatoes together, the ethylene they emit will promote ripening. You can speed up the process by adding a ripe banana or apple. Once a tomato ripens, remove it from the bag and consume it promptly. Remember to check the bag daily for any signs of mold or rot and discard any spoiled tomatoes.
2. Box Method
If you have multiple green tomatoes that you want to ripen, a cardboard box can be a useful tool. Place the tomatoes in the box, making sure they do not touch each other. Adding a ripe banana to the box can also speed up the ripening process. Close the box and, just like with the bag-ripening method, check daily for any signs of mold, rot, or full ripening, and remove those tomatoes accordingly.
3. The Windowsill Approach
Try this method if your tomatoes have already started to show some ripened color: simply place them on a windowsill that receives sunlight. Check them daily to monitor their progress. Additionally, you can transfer tomatoes that are ripening in a bag or box to the windowsill once they begin to show signs of color and allow them to continue ripening there.
4. Hanging Upside Down Method
Some gardeners pull up the entire plant – roots, fruits, and all – and hang it upside down in a location indoors. The theory is that the plant, while alive, will send all its available energy to the fruit. You should shake off as much of the soil as possible before hanging, then check the progress daily.
Keep in mind the following:
- Tomatoes tend to ripen best with part of the stem left on.
- These methods should ripen fruit in about 7-14 days, or sooner.
- Green tomatoes that are not yet mature cannot ripen once picked.
- These methods do not enhance flavor. No tomato is going to be as delicious as field ripened. But, it’s a better option than having them go to waste.
- Be sure to keep tomatoes at room temperature during the indoor ripening process. Do not refrigerate them, as this will ruin their flavor.
If you need to pick the tomatoes, and don’t want to wait to ripen them, eating them green can be an option as well. Try these delicious recipes:
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Laura Modlin is an environmental journalist, blogger, foodie and nature fan. She writes for newspapers and magazines, and maintains a blog about a simpler life. She co-founded a river conservation project in Connecticut. Her mission is to inspire deeper connections with the natural world and a desire to protect it.