Tomatoes are technically edible berries produced by the Solanum lycopersicum plant, scientifically known as the tomato plant. More often than not, tomatoes are confused for vegetables, although berries are classified as fruits.
Today, these juicy red fruits are available in hundreds of varieties. Originally, they came from the Americas.
But, let’s get straight to the real question: do tomatoes need sun to ripen after being picked?
Do Tomatoes Need Sun to Ripen After Being Picked?
Tomatoes continue to ripen long after being picked, but technically don’t require sunlight. That said, a bit of sun doesn’t hurt. Depending when they are picked, they require an additional 2 or 3 days to 2 or 3 weeks to ripen fully. In some cases green tomatoes take up to several weeks to fully ripen.
How Do You Ripen a Tomato?
Tomatoes are one of the easiest fruits to continue ripening after being picked. All you have to do is set your tomato somewhere warm and leave it there for a while. If it was almost ripe when picked, it should ripen within a few days. Green tomatoes that are still hard to the touch typically take a few weeks to ripen. A bit of sun helps, but too much sun causes shriveling of the fruit as it ripens.
How to Tell if a Tomato is Ripe?
You’ll be able to tell a tomato is ripe by looking at it and feeling it. The biggest indicator is what color it is (most of the time they are red, but can be green, yellow, orange, black, and more). If it is still showing green or yellow on the skin it isn’t ready. If it is fully colored correctly, feels heavier than normal in your hand, and has a slight give to it when squeezed, it is ripe.
Should I Pick My Tomatoes Before They Are Red?
Depending on what you plan on doing with your tomatoes, whether or not you should pick them before they are red varies. If you plan on harvesting and processing dozens or hundreds of tomatoes, picking them before they are fully red is a good move. But, if you plan to eat them along with lunch, wait until they are already red and juicy..
Why Aren’t My Tomatoes Turning Red?
If your tomatoes aren’t turning red after you’ve picked them, chances are that your tomatoes aren’t warm enough. A secret to ripening tomatoes is keeping them warm, not just exposing them to sunlight during the first few days after being picked. If you tomatoes aren’t turning red, move them somewhere where the temperature doesn’t drop below 70°F or higher than 85°F.