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Wondering what’s the fastest way to ripen tomatoes indoors?
Here’s how to ripen tomatoes faster!
So many of us grow tomatoes. Whether we have tomatoes planted in our garden, greenhouse, or in pots on the deck, gardeners just love growing tomatoes!
But what can we do for our tomatoes when a sudden frost is expected or the nights suddenly become a lot cooler? Tomatoes are heat lovers and they do not like the cold at all.
But first, ask yourself if they do really need to come off the vine now? Is there any way you can add some frost protection to your tomato plant? You could use insulating blankets or several layers of Remay cloth. These will give you an extra couple of degrees of protection.
If that won’t be enough, then yes go ahead and pick your tomatoes. If in doubt, PICK them. The last thing you want is to head out to the garden one morning to find your plants have been hit with frost or rot. Tomatoes do not like frost and even one light frost can be enough to kill your plants.
Learn How to Ripen Green Tomatoes Faster
Need to pick all your tomatoes because cold weather is coming? Got lots of green tomatoes on the vines that need to be picked? Here’s an awesome trick to quickly ripen tomatoes.
How to Ripen Tomatoes Quickly
Will Green Tomatoes Continue to Ripen off the Vine?
You bet they will. Tomatoes are often ripened off the vine. Chances are, they were picked green and turned red before you bought any at the grocery store. They’ll still be just as delicious as any vine ripened tomato.
And, you’ve probably already put a few slightly green tomatoes on a windowsill at some point, right? Actually, that’s not really the best place for it for more than a day. Here’s a better idea.
Wondering How to Ripen a Tomato Indoors?
If you’ve got only a couple, you can ripen tomatoes stem-side down on a sunny windowsill; it doesn’t take much room. But, if you’re growing lots of tomatoes in order to make home made Tomato Sauce, AND you have to pick them from the vine, here’s how to ripen tomatoes off the vine. Even if you have LOTS of them!
The key to ripening tomatoes is you want to put them in some kind of bag or box at room temperature out of direct sunlight. Don’t put them in the refrigerator!
The fridge will make them cold, which will slow down ripening. Two other chemicals important to ripening, lycopene and carotene, are produced best at optimum temperatures of around 59-68 degrees F.
Avoid high humidity areas as well to prevent decay or issues with pests. Tomatoes naturally produce ethylene gas, which is what leads them to tun red and ripen
Keeping them in some kind of closed environment will speed up the ripening process. And this technique works for any kind of tomatoes, even smaller cherry tomatoes!
Here are some more detailed instructions for speeding up tomato ripeness!
How to Ripen Tomatoes in a Paper Bag
Carefully harvest your mature green tomatoes and place them inside paper bags. Yup, a big paper bag. The ones you get from the grocery store if you ask for brown paper bags. You do save those bags, right? Those paper bags can be used and upcycled for so many things! Including…yup, garden produce!
Try to NOT bruise your tomatoes! Pick them carefully and place them in the bag carefully – don’t drop them in there as they can easily become damaged.
You can fill the bag almost all the way, if you’re very careful with the tomatoes. But use lots of bags! Just depends on how many tomatoes you have. The important thing is to be able to preserve tomatoes – you’ve worked hard enough tending to your plants all season.
The Trick to Using a Paper Bag to Ripen Tomatoes
OK here’s the trick. ALWAYS put one or two red tomatoes in the bag along with all the green ones.
If you don’t have any red tomatoes at all, then use a banana or an apple instead. This will ensure lots of ethylene gas is being produced. Add it to the bag, then close the bag up tight and set it aside.
Check the bag every single day, as the tomatoes will ripen quicker than you may think. You’ll also want to ensure the moisture of the fruits isn’t causing any rot or decay. Pull out each ripe tomato and leave the others in there to ripen.
You may also find you need to do some rearranging of the tomatoes, in case the lower ones are getting too much weight on them.
You’ll find that within a few days, all your tomatoes will be ripe. Now you can use them to make Homemade Tomato Sauce (canning instructions too) or put up a case of the best Salsa you will ever eat (canning instructions for the Salsa are there too).
Now you know how to make tomatoes ripen faster, give this a try! They’ll taste just as great as tomatoes ripened on the vine without the risk of frost or pests!
How long does it take for tomatoes to ripen?
On the vine, it can take up to 20-30 days for a tomato to fully turn from green to red. Removing them from the vine and keeping them in an enclosed space traps the ethylene they produce, which will cause them to ripen much faster.
This can take anywhere from a couple of days to overnight, depending on how ripe they start.
How to ripen tomatoes overnight?
Use the method above to quickly ripen your tomatoes! Enclose them in a cardboard box or paper bag. To really speed things up, add a ripe banana or a bit of apple peel to increase the amount of ethylene gas.
Can you ripen tomatoes in a cardboard box?
Absolutely! Especially if you’ve got way too many to fit in one paper bag, a cardboard box is another good option. This method generally works best if the tomatoes aren’t touching too much, and like with the bag method, just be sure to check on them often and remove any ripe ones. Arrange them in single layers in the boxes for best results!
Are there other ways to use green tomatoes?
Yes! If you don’t want to bother with the ripening process, you can also use and eat tomatoes that are still green. They’re a bit crunchier than ripe tomatoes and have a somewhat tart flavor in comparison, and there are plenty of recipes that utilize this difference for the better.
Make these Fried Green Tomatoes as a way to capitalize on your unripe tomatoes, and poke around online to see what other recipes call for unripened/green fruits!
More Resources and Posts You’ll Love
- Here is the absolute Best Salsa recipe ever – and it includes the canning instructions.
- Want to read every Preserving post on this site? Here it is!
- We LOVE this home made Pizza dough recipe – makes 3 pies.
Use this fastest way to ripen tomatoes indoors next harvest season!
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originally published 2020, latest update Oct 2022