Skip to content

Post-ripen tomatoes: Follow these tips to help the ripening process and optimize flavor

Ripe, juicy and flavorful tomatoes are the backbone of thousands of recipes from around the world. The quality and degree of ripeness of the tomatoes you use are always important, otherwise the flavor will not come out properly. This is especially true if you are preparing a salad. If you grow your own tomatoes or find that the ones you buy aren’t ripe, here are a few tips on how to help them taste better. Learn how to re-ripen tomatoes in our guide.

How to ripen tomatoes basically

Tomatoes ripen fastest in a warm, bright environment

The first thing you need to know is that sunlight is not always helpful. Too much light can actually toughen the skin, so don’t put your tomatoes on a windowsill. When growing tomatoes, don’t be tempted to pull the leaves off the plants so they get more sun.

Tomatoes need warmth to ripen. The warmer a tomato is, the faster it will ripen. So putting tomatoes in the refrigerator doesn’t help them at all and can even make their texture too “mealy.” However, if tomatoes get too hot, they will stop ripening – another reason not to put them on a windowsill.

Tomatoes, like bananas and avocados, release ethene (or ethylene), a natural plant hormone that regulates a plant’s growth and ripens it by converting stored starch into sugar. All fruits do this, and tomatoes are technically a fruit.

How to get late tomato varieties to ripen

Tomato plants bear fruit from June until the first frost

When temperatures drop, there are always a few green tomatoes left on the plants. Here’s how to post-ripen green tomatoes.

Tomato plants bear fruit from June until the first frost and thrive in the warm, bright conditions of summer. However, the ripening process slows down as the days get shorter. Therefore, the fruits that develop from September may not ripen before the first frost comes.

Tomatoes ripen most quickly in a warm, bright environment. Tomatoes that have ripened “on the vine,” which means they are picked from the plant after they have ripened, are said to have the best flavor. Therefore, to allow late tomatoes to ripen, it is best to leave them on the plant as long as possible so that the fruit develops the best flavor. Do not harvest tomatoes for ripening indoors until you have exhausted all efforts to grow them on the vine. Check out our tips on how to post-ripen tomatoes below.

  1. In your vegetable patch or greenhouse, remove any remaining flowers from your tomato plants. These will not have a chance to develop into fruit. Cutting them off now will direct the plant’s energy into ripening the existing fruit.
  2. Your tomato plants should have formed three or four fruit clusters by early fall. To make sure all the fruit ripens, remove the top of each plant. Simply cut the main stem a few leaves above the top green fruit cluster. By removing the leaves from the plant, you can also ensure that as much light as possible gets to the fruit so that it can ripen.
  3. After the temperatures have dropped, it’s time to harvest the tomatoes and bring them indoors. One tip is to store them in a drawer or paper bag along with a banana. The banana releases ethylene, a hormone associated with fruit ripening, which speeds up the ripening process. Check the drawer or bag regularly and remove ripe tomatoes if you find them.

How to post-ripen tomatoes in a breathable bag/box.

How to promote the ripening process of tomato varieties.

  • To speed up the ripening process, all you need to do is trap the ethene gas with the tomatoes by placing them in a paper bag, cardboard box or empty kitchen drawer.
  • Add a ripening banana or apple, which also release ethene to speed up the ripening process.
  • The fruit will give off moisture. So use a bag or box where this moisture won’t accumulate, and keep the tomatoes a certain distance apart so they don’t mold.
  • Very unripe tomatoes usually take a week or two to ripen at higher temperatures (18 to 25 degrees Celsius is optimal) – keep checking, because tomatoes ripen at different rates.
  • If it’s cold in your kitchen, they will take much longer to ripen. Also, pay attention to whether the tomatoes start to rot, because this will affect all the other tomatoes.

Some advice recommends putting the tomatoes in a canning jar. However, this retains moisture, which speeds up spoilage.

How can you preserve tomatoes ? Find out here !

How to ripen them in the fruit bowl

Tomatoes post-ripen in a fruit bowl, as the fruits around them release ethene

If your tomatoes are almost ripe but still need a little time, let them ripen in a fruit bowl. The fruit around them will release ethene and help them ripen, and you can keep an eye on them.

When and how should you harvest your tomatoes? Helpful tips you can find here !