Do Green Tomatoes Continue to Ripen After Being Picked? (EXPLAINED)

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Do Green Tomatoes Ripen After Being Picked

Tomatoes, despite common misconception, are not vegetables at all; they are fruits, edible berries to be precise. The fruit hails from the South and Central Americas. 

Introduced to European cultures during the 16th century, the tomato has become one of the most sought-after “vegetables” in the world. That’s because they are eaten fresh, dried, powdered, used in juice, puree, and as an ingredient in countless sauces and other dishes.

Do Green Tomatoes Ripen After Being Picked?

Green tomatoes continue ripening after being picked from the vine. In fact, all you really need to do is set them on a window sill and leave them to turn yellow, orange, and red. They will even ripen slowly in the kitchen on the counter (or in the vegetable drawer).

How Do You Ripen a Green Tomato?

Simply setting a green tomato on the window sill will cause it to ripen with time, as does sitting them on a kitchen counter or in a vegetable drawer in the fridge. That said, if you want them to ripen up quicker, you can merely place them in a paper bag and close it up. 

But, you must also remove the tomatoes from the bag fairly quickly after they ripen or they will turn rotten just as fast as they ripened up.

How to Tell if a Green Tomato is Ripe?

The best way to tell if a green tomato is ripe is by touch. If the sides and bottom of the tomatoes are slightly soft to the touch, they are indeed ready to be picked at any time. Keep in mind, most tomatoes are not “true” green tomatoes. Meaning, most green tomatoes do not remain green once fully ripe.

Can You Pick Green Tomatoes Too Early?

For the most part, there is no such thing as picking green tomatoes too early. The only exception is with “true” green tomatoes. If you don’t want to ripen them off of the vine, you might accidentally pick them before they are fully mature. 

However, even if you do pick them early it’s really no big deal because they will continue ripening off the vine.

How Long Does It Take Green Tomatoes to Turn Red?

From the time that they appear on the vine (as fruits, not as flowers), a green tomato takes around 6 to 8 weeks to fully ripen and turn red. That said, factors such as the species of tomatoes that you are growing, climate, and weather may affect the time it takes for green tomatoes to turn red.