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Think it or not, there is a bit of an art to knowing when to choose tomatoes from your tomato plants. And it truly does have a huge influence on the flavor and nutritional value of your tomatoes, and even the production level of your plants!

For lots of, plucking a deep-red ripe tomato straight from the vine is the perfect harvest.

As it turns out, letting that tomato fully ripen on the vine isn’t the best concept. Not a minimum of for the taste and nutrient value of the tomato, or for the continuing production of your tomato plants.

When To Pick Tomatoes

As soon as a tomato starts to turn from green to slightly pink, it stops taking nutrients from the plant. It is what is called the breaking stage.

As soon as a tomato reaches this stage, it will continue to ripen off the vine without any concern. And really, it is better to pick the tomato at this point for numerous factors.

when to pick tomatoes 1

The finest time to select tomatoes from your plants is when they simply begin to turn color. It keeps the tomato from becoming damaged from pests, animals, sun-spots, and even wind or summer season storms. A ripening tomato is an open invite to all of the above.

But plucking that tomato early likewise helps your tomato plant. The tomato is not utilizing nutrients from the plant, it can slow the production and ripening process for additional tomatoes.

How so? Indeterminate tomato varieties that produce tomatoes all season will decrease production of brand-new blossoms if a lot of tomatoes exist and ripening. It is referred to as “fruit load” or “fruit overload”, and it can impact your total harvest.

when to harvest and pick tomatoes

Plucking tomatoes at the right time has advantages for the tomato, and the tomato plant. In addition, keeping plants picked also keeps the weight of tomato vines workable. Which suggests branches can’t split or break which can likewise hurt the plant, and keep yields down.

With all of that stated, the ideal time to pluck your tomatoes from your plant is when they have somewhat or reasonably turned in color. And yes, as you will see below, they will ripen even better and will be perfect for canning or freezing. (See: How To Preserve Tomatoes Without Canning)

How To Best Let Tomatoes Ripen

Now that we understand the best time to pick tomatoes, the genuine concern is where do they finest ripen. Here again, the response might amaze you.

windowsill fruit
The windowsill is not one of the much better options for ripening tomatoes. For beginners, it is not on a sunny windowsill or the refrigerator! Once the tomato has actually begun the ripening procedure, it does not need sunshine to ripen. Too much sun can blister and even hurt the fruit. That is precisely what happens when over-ripe tomatoes split open on the vine.

Putting those tomatoes on a warm windowsill can cause the same problem.

As it ends up, tomatoes ripen best when saved in a cool, shady place. The perfect temperature level for ripening is actually around 65 to 70 degrees, with plenty of circulation.

homemade harvest rack
Our homemade harvest rack, made from 2 × 4’s and hardware fabric. In our house, we utilize a homemade drying rack made from a few 2 x 4’s and hardware fabric to keep the just selected tomatoes inside. A cool, dubious patio would be the second finest alternative as long as outside temps are not expensive. See: How To Develop A Homemade Drying Rack

In lieu of a harvest rack, a baking rack or bread rack works well too. Permitting the air to get all around the tomato assists it ripen both faster and more uniformly.

Why Not The Refrigerator?

There is one place that should never be used for ripening tomatoes– which is the refrigerator. When cooled, the procedure of ripening is halted practically totally.

Storing tomatoes in the refrigerator not only stops the ripening procedure, but also causes tomatoes to lose flavor and nutrients too.

storing tomatoes
Keeping tomatoes in the fridge is a huge no-no for taste and ripening.

With that stated, if you are like us and enjoy the taste of a chilled tomato, there is nothing wrong with putting the tomato in the refrigerator a few hours before eating fresh or putting in a salad!

Here is to understanding the right time to select your tomatoes to enjoy them at their finest. Pleased Gardening– Jim and Mary.

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How To Know When To Pick Tomatoes– And How To Finest Let Them Ripen!