What Is the Ripening Process for Garden Tomatoes?


Quick Answer

There are several methods to ripen garden tomatoes, including root pruning, paper wrapping and simply allowing them to ripen on the vine. The best method depends on the expected weather.

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Full Answer

With sufficient time, tomatoes can ripen on the vine on their own. However, this might not be a feasible option if the season is coming to an end, or if the weather is expected to turn for the worse soon.

One of the methods to ripen garden tomatoes while they are still on the vine is by root pruning. This method consists of pruning some of the root endings of the vine, which reduces the plant’s apical growth. This means that instead of using its energy to extend its roots, the tomato vine focuses on ripening its fruits. To prune the roots properly, take a garden spade, and insert it approximately 6 inches into the soil, going in a circular pattern approximately one foot away and around the main stem.

If the weather becomes too cold, tomatoes can also be ripened indoors. First, sort all the tomatoes according to their level of ripeness. Wrap each tomato in newspaper, and place them inside a brown paper bag, without stacking them, along with the other similar tomatoes. The tomatoes should be stored in a cool, dry spot with a temperature between 65 and 70 degrees. The purpose of wrapping the tomatoes is to increase the concentration of ethylene gas, which is released by fruits as they ripen. A higher concentration of gas results in faster ripening. If the tomatoes are still green, you may include a few pieces of apple peel in the bag to release additional ethylene gas.

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