The Best Ways to Ripen Green Tomatoes

, written by Jeremy Dore gb flag

Tomatoes ripening

The very best tasting tomatoes are those that are ‘vine ripened’ – left to reach a deep vibrant colour on the plant.  Nothing beats the taste of freshly picked ripe tomatoes which are, without question, infinitely superior to shop-bought produce.  However, as the season draws on and temperatures start to drop there are invariably lots of green tomatoes left on the plants that don’t quite ripen in time.  Rather than wasting them, why not try some easy techniques to ripen them indoors?

What Makes Tomatoes Ripen?

Contrary to popular belief, windowsills are not the best place for ripening up tomatoes.  Take a close look at your tomato plants and you will learn why: surprisingly, tomatoes often start to ripen on the opposite side of the fruit to the sunny side although not all varieties show this.  So, plenty of light is not required for ripening and, in fact, it tends to make the skins of the fruits harder.

Temperature, on the other hand, is a very important factor.  The warmer a tomato fruit is the quicker it will ripen.  So you can slow down ripening by placing tomatoes in a cool area or speed them up with moderate warmth.

The third factor that speeds up ripening is a gas called ethylene.  This is the gas that is used commercially with tomatoes and other fruits that are picked green before shipping and then ripened for sale.  Although this all sounds very artificial and leads to rather bland-tasting produce, ethylene is actually naturally released by ripening fruits such as bananas, apples and tomatoes.  So, placing a ripe banana or apple in with some green tomatoes in an enclosed space helps to speed up the ripening process.

Alt text

Different Methods

There are several ways to ripen tomatoes indoors:

Placing a ripening banana or apple in an enclosed bag with green tomatoes helps them to ripen as the fruit releases ethylene
  • In a cardboard box:  Line the box with newspaper (or use fruit cardboard if it came from a grocery store) and place the green tomatoes on top in a single layer with a little space between each.  Cover with another single layer of newspaper and leave somewhere warm.  Check regularly.  Another variation of this method is to place the tomatoes in a wooden drawer although you would be lucky to find a spare drawer in my house!
  • In a paper bag: Put 5 -10 tomatoes in a paper bag with a ripening banana, apple or tomato and leave in a warm place.  Periodically open it up to check for any that show signs of mould or rotting.
  • Large glass jars or plastic bags: Another way to concentrate the effect of ethylene involves placing 2-4 large tomatoes in a jar or bag along with a ripening fruit and then sealing it.  However, the combination of moisture and warmth can encourage mould so it is usually best to put holes in the bag or regularly open and check the jar.
  • Hang up the whole plant: Useful at the end of the season when a frost is forecast, the whole tomato plant can be gently pulled up and then hung upside down in a garage or cellar where temperatures will remain above freezing.  This is said to produce better flavoured tomatoes than the other methods.

For each of these methods the best results come from tomatoes that are already starting to show a yellowy-orange tinge indicating that they are ready to ripen.  You can have success with fully green tomatoes but they will take longer and may not be so flavoursome.

At lower temperatures 10-15°C (50-60°F) ripening typically takes 3-4 weeks whereas at 18-21°C (65-70°F) they can take just 2 weeks.  By storing batches at different temperatures you can stagger the ripening to make the most of your harvest although anything much lower than 10°C (50°F) will yield poorer quality results.

Green tomatoes

What to Watch Out for

The biggest problem when ripening tomatoes indoors is diseased or damaged fruit.  Tomatoes must be protected from being bruised or squashed so they should not be piled up.  Good air circulation will help prevent mould forming.  It is sensible to do a check every day or two, removing anything suspect.

Regular checking is particularly important if you are ripening tomatoes indoors because your plants suffered from a disease such as blight before the crop was ready.  In such cases a useful technique is to ‘grade’ the tomatoes before storing them, separating out unblemished ones from lower quality fruit.  Select only the very best ones for ripening and dispose of any diseased fruit in a safe way.  I have used this technique with some success this year for my own tomatoes that succumbed to blight and found the key was getting them off the plant at the very first sign of the disease.

If you have had success with a particular method of ripening tomatoes, or even have a good recipe for using green ones then please do add a comment below...

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Show Comments


"Try using a greenhouse heater to keep the temperature up. My green tomatoes have started to to turn red within about five days."
Neil Russell on Friday 18 September 2009
"thank you for your tips. i am a complete novice.not even sure if i like fresh tomatoes that much.however cooked with pasta they are fantastic. growing things i can eat has been utterly amazing to me. i can really see what all those allotment obsessed gardners are all about now. thank you"
pinky on Friday 23 October 2009
"just by way of an tomatoes have beeen in a shoe box in airing cupboard snuggled up with a bancana for a week now and i cannot believe the differnece. they are ripening beautifully. good to check and chuck the dodgy ones as you go though. thanks for the advice. it works!"
pinky on Thursday 5 November 2009
"Dear jeremy Thank you for these tips I am just off to deal with those green ones...Can you recommend a good bush variety tomato (preferably cherry type size) for cultivation in a Northern garden outside. The season is so short here. Jane"
jane weston on Monday 27 September 2010
"You might want to look at 'Sub Arctic Plenty' which is good for Northern climates. It has slightly thicker skinned fruit but I think the taste is excellent. There are plenty of others though too... might be a good question for our Facebook group ( if you have a Facebook account. I would also highly recommend getting a plant light as this helped me start tomatoes off a month earlier than usual this year (see"
Jeremy Dore on Tuesday 28 September 2010
"great article"
dave clarke on Thursday 30 September 2010
"Hi Jeremy, came across your page in my search for help ripening my green toamatoes. Clear, precise, informative - fantastic. My tomatoes are now stashed away in a shoe box complete with banana. Many thanks."
Tony Jukes on Saturday 9 October 2010
"Very glad it was helpful Tony! Don't forget to keep checking that shoe box to make sure none go bad."
Jeremy Dore on Tuesday 12 October 2010
"My half term job of ripening my green tomatoes is so much easier with your advice! Thanks!!"
Patricia on Monday 25 October 2010
"Thank you all so much. I treated my toms. like a nurturing mother and have loads but they're green. Will now try a newspaper method - simply take them down and wrap 'em up in it - man at Tesco's says it's his grannies advice. We'll see....."
Barbara on Friday 26 August 2011
"You want to use your green toms for green tomato chutney, plenty of recipes out there but the traditional ones are best. Great with cheese!"
Jen on Saturday 27 August 2011
"Thank you for your insightful comments -- all the other sites I reviewed only dealt with end-of-growing-season ripening -- and you spoke to exactly what I was exploring: ripening tomatoes indoors mid-season. All I want to do is bring the tomoatoes in before the raccoons get them, and the moment they tinge that they're about to ripen, that's when the 'coons take them: must give off a ripening smell. So thanks so much!!"
Brian Crockatt on Wednesday 31 August 2011
"If you place a banana in the box, what about fruit flies and the transfer of flavor? I know I have bought bread that tasted like banana. "
Michelle on Sunday 4 September 2011
"I have just pulled all my toms off the plants as hit by the horrid blight :(. I would love to know if there is anything I can wash them in that will remove the blight spores before I try and ripen then indoors? I know they should by dry before storing but would like to make sure I'm not bedding them down with any unseen nasties."
Max on Tuesday 6 September 2011
"Max: If blight has affected your tomatoes then it will be inside the fruit, not on the skin. By all means wash them thoroughly in water first but you will still need to check them regularly to see if they suffer from blight symptoms while ripening. If you are lucky you may have caught them early on before it spread into the fruit."
Jeremy Dore on Tuesday 6 September 2011
"thanks everyone for the advice as all my tomatoes are still green"
jackie on Thursday 8 September 2011
"i am following your advise and am optimistic that my 21 toms will ripen with a banana in the airing cupboard."
jeanne thompson on Monday 19 September 2011
"Having read these wonderful comments I just tasted one of my green tomatoes. Surely they can't be that offensive. They are all in paper bags awaiting ripening. Thanks for the advice."
Max James on Monday 19 September 2011
"I planted my tomatoes late this year (in a large pot) I I have a few green ones, I will try the cardboard box idea and see how I get on."
Carol Jones on Friday 23 September 2011
"Carol, just remember that for the cardboard box method to work the tomatoes should be starting to turn in colour (ie slightly yellowish green). Ones that are completely green may never ripen off the plant."
Jeremy Dore on Friday 23 September 2011
"ok thanks mine ar completly green. It's worth a go though."
carol on Friday 23 September 2011
"after harvesting should the tomato plants be cut to leave the roots in like legumes"
di on Monday 26 September 2011
"No, there's no advantage in leaving the roots. The roots of legumes fix nitrogen in the soil which is why they are best left in but other plant groups don't have this effect."
Jeremy Dore on Monday 26 September 2011
"How are seeds from a favourite variety best kept for sewing next season please."
Max James on Monday 26 September 2011
"Hi Max, we have a great article all about saving tomato seeds here:"
Jeremy Dore on Monday 26 September 2011
di on Tuesday 27 September 2011
"What do you do with 30 lbs of green tomatoes? That is one big shoe box. I was hoping to line paper on the basement floor and then cover them up with more paper. "
Toader on Saturday 1 October 2011
"Yes, paper on the floor would work but remember that warmth is one of the things that is required for them to ripen so a basement may not be warm enough."
Jeremy Dore on Saturday 1 October 2011
"In the Toronto, Ontario area, the weather is cooling but unlikely to have frost before mid-month (by curent forcasts). When do you recommend bringing in the still-green-and-ripening tomatoes? I've been leaving them out, thinking its beter for them to stay on the vine outside as long as possible... Cheers Brian"
Brian Crockatt on Sunday 2 October 2011
"I'd agree that it's best to leave tomatoes on the vine as long as possible. However, you don't want them out there as temperatures drop towards freezing and they certainly won't ripen at lower temperatures so I'd start bringing in the ones that look as if they are starting to ripen and finish them off indoors as soon as a colder spell is forecast. In my greenhouse I have left tomatoes on the vine until the first frost but if they are unprotected I wouldn't wait that long."
Jeremy Dore on Monday 3 October 2011
"Really disappointing summer has meant that the plum, cherry and standard tomatoes I've grown are almost all still green, just not enough sun this year to ripen them. Will try the methods thanks for this, ethene and bananas is an old school science trick, raise the temp by a few degrees and the ethene should act quicker too. Cheers Mark"
Mark on Tuesday 4 October 2011
"or ethylene of course! ;)"
Mark on Tuesday 4 October 2011
"just put 6 yellowy tinged green tomato's in a brown paper bag, added a banana, popped into a cardboard box with brown paper, sitting on a table under the stairs at a temp of about 68 degrees fahrenheit, first time I have ever grown outdoor tomato's, so, fingers crossed :o)"
Gary Bateson on Thursday 6 October 2011
JULIAN BREESE on Thursday 20 October 2011
"Any tips on dealing with what I believe is mildew on tomatoe plants. Last year during the winter I tried the sulphur candles and this certainly reduced the problem but still had lots of problems."
Dave Bullock on Sunday 23 October 2011
"Tried the box/banana method but had layers of tomatoes. Some very good luck -- a nice batch of red. Then some "yellow red". Then three different shades of green. Only one fruit spoiled. They were in the box for about three weeks. Am now going to try cooking the green ones."
paulette warren on Saturday 5 November 2011
"2 1/2 weeks on, most of the bigger toms have ripened-even those which were very green to start with, but none of the smaller ones seem to have ripened at all. Is this normal? How long should I keep ripening for?"
julian Breese on Monday 7 November 2011
"Yes, quite normal. Personally I keep ripening them until one or more start to go bad. However, you're unlikely to get any more ripening after about 3-4 weeks in my experience."
Jeremy Dore on Monday 7 November 2011
"I have 5-6 thriving tomato plants (40-50 tomatoes total). Problem is with lots of natural heat this summer in Cincinnati and dedicated watering (3-4 times a week) the fruit WILL NOT TURN RED. Suggestions appreciated"
Carl Echols on Friday 17 August 2012
"The greenhouse is heaving with fully grown GREEN tomatoes. . The temperature has dropped at the moment but hoping for some warm weather soon. Will it help if I put a few bunches of ripe bananas around the plants."
Cecelia, Surrey, UK on Friday 24 August 2012
"What is the science reason for not storing tomatoes in the refrigerator?"
Rana on Sunday 26 August 2012
"A really interesting article. i was aware of using bananas for ripening. I too wonder if it is better to cut the trusses off the plants and put them in a box 'on the vine' rather than as individual tomatoes."
Krena on Friday 21 September 2012
"This is the first time I have grown tomatoes and felt disappointed that I had only had 6 red ones BUT I have a lot of green ones so I have brought the plants inside out of the cold and are taking those off that are starting to ripen and have placed them with a banana, so here's hoping."
Pat Metcalfe on Tuesday 25 September 2012
"Thought I would let the helpful here know that I got about 30% of my tomatoes ripen. Not that the others didn't just the blight had got to them. I checked daily removing any that looked like they were scumming to blight. I had some in egg boxes and some in a shoe box and even the green ones did ripen at room temp."
Max on Tuesday 25 September 2012
"With frost in the 'near' future (maybe some weeks away here) I've started pinching off any new flowers and buds so the remaining ones, that have already set, get all the growth efforts. With the season coming to a close it seems the plants are getting a 'survival' message and so growth is actually spurting with lots of new tomatoes emerging - hence the pinching off to focus what energy and time is left."
Brian C (Toronto, Canada) on Tuesday 25 September 2012
"Well I am in the UK, I have had quite lot of small cherry tomatoes ripen, been picking a handful each day for about a month I think. But no luck with standard sized ones, plum and normal round (alicante. Well I do have one round one turned red but 1/3 of it is also a bit brown with blossom end rot or similar. In fact I seem more signs of blossom end rot than ripening on the others. I did see another changing colour today but I fear a mix of 'rot and ripe' so to speak, will have to wait and see. Would a mild frost harm the toms? Mid October is normal first frost here but was mid December last year!! I mine are outside, I wondered if tying a plastic bag round the fruits might help?? Might hang the plants in the garage eventually as well, along with some tobacco leaves I am trying to cure but not really expecting anything as I tried that last year with less mature plants and it was a waste of time. I think earlier planting and more cherry types would be best for me. I want to leave them on the vine for as long as possible, I think that is best as they will suck whatever they can out of the vine I think and as the plant is distressed it might tell the tomatoes to get their ripening boots on, just an uneducated guess though. Maybe I will take some inside into a warm airing cupboard and see what I can learn from that. Wishing every one good luck and red tomatoes!!!"
breno on Monday 1 October 2012
"Thank you for your interesting and helpful blog. We had a great tomato season, but still have some green ones. I found the following info. on the internet from Purdue University Extention Service. "Ripening and color development in tomatoes is governed primarily by two facors: temperature and the presence of a naturally occuring hormone, ethylene. The optimum temperature range for ripening mature green tomatoes is 68-77 degrees F." The remainder of the article, which was written 9/7/2006 by B. Rosie Lerner is also interesting and can be found at We are in western Colorado, USA and, based on the above info., will be trying to ripen ours in a couple of plastic flats placed on top of warming mats, covered by a clear plastic domes to hold in the ethelyne. The basic set-up is a kit that we bought several years ago from WalMart to start seeds in. We were both biology majors back-in-the-day and are looking forward to seeing how our experiment works. We had an unusually hot summer this year and was told by a tomato farmer at our Farmer's Market, that the reason our tomatoes were tough skinned this year was because of the high temperatures. He grew such gorgeous heirlooms, I'd believe anything he said."
Jean L. on Thursday 4 October 2012
" 68-77 degrees F is 19-25C for those more familiar with C (like me). No chance of getting those temps until next year now here in the UK. Average max is 13C and dropping. I do have another one going red but it is very hidden way and hard to see, that must keep it warmer, less exposed to wind maybe. So I could either pick them and bring them inside to a warmer place or leave them where they are. I figure there is no harm leaving them where they are? Maybe bring a few inside to compare with. I just checked on one I took inside ages ago, it has gone a bit orange at the bottom but it's more brown at the top (gone bad basically). I was left with bananas but I have since eaten them (lol), just the oranges left (don't like them so much - lol). I wil bring a couple of good one in and put them near the hot water tank and see what happens. I'm in no rush as I pick a handful of cherry tomatoes each day so I will aim for a steady flow of red fruit."
esbo on Thursday 4 October 2012
"Well I have brought some inside and they are reddening, I also found one I brought in a while back and that is quite red now. One or two outside are reddening but the vast majority are not, it seems the extra heat of indoor helps a lot."
esbo on Saturday 6 October 2012
"In the north of the UK, I've grown a patio variety called Maskotka, which I highly recommend - abundant fruit. I'm off on holiday for two weeks, so have just hung up the plants in the garage, having taken off the ripening ones, leaving just green ones. Will report back when I return."
Goldfinch on Monday 8 October 2012
"hi, how much of the plant should you hang up, I mean, roots and all, just the branch they are growing on...or what, please? I can hang them up above a radiator, obviously on very low heat, would that be ok? I.ll try the box+banana method also .though....many thanks!!!! X Cristina"
Cristina Lora on Tuesday 16 October 2012
"This is Goldfinch reporting back - see above. The system worked a treat, with virtually no rotting and about three-quarters of the formerly green tomatoes having ripened to orange, now turning fully ripe when picked and brought into the heat (the garage is unheated, but can get warm in the sun). So thanks for the advice - much better than leaving them to the mercy of the elements on the patio. And to Cristina Lora, I hung up the whole plant, roots and all."
Goldfinch on Sunday 28 October 2012
"I am going to try this. If all else fails we LOVE fried green tomatos. Michelle in Texas"
Michelle on Tuesday 30 October 2012
"The hardest all-green tomatoes WILL ripen without any aids. For years I have brought in the greenest tomatoes, left them in a basket on the kitchen counter (which isn't warm) and turned them over when we wanted ripe tomatoes. We always have some - admittedly very small ones - with out traditional Christmas Eve pork pie. We're in Yorkshire, England. A neighbour brought me two large carrier bags of his yesterday, I've picked out the ripest (yellow and red), the others will be picked over daily. Together with mine I'm confident that we'l be enjoying tomatoes in every form imaginable even into 2013. The neighbour can't be bothered - he's missing out."
Mary on Tuesday 6 November 2012
"Hi I found all my green tomatoes ripened eventually, without doing anything special to them really, just left them in a cupboard on a plate. They were a bit watery though, but maybe I left them too long, not as good as shop tomatoes. So it was not a problem really after all do you want them all to ripen at the same time? No you want them spread out so you eat them over a longer period of time, or perhaps you would want to speed some up and slow other down so you do not have a big pile to eat all at once."
esbo on Monday 3 December 2012
"Esbo is right, you do want tomatoes to ripen over time. We're eating some every day, alternating between red and yellow. There are still lots of green ones in the basket but I know from experience that they'll all turn eventually. The flavours are good, by the way, far better than any shop bought ones. But they were rather special varieties, chosen for flavour and from the Real Seed Company so I have saved seeds to sow next year and know they'll come true."
Mary on Monday 3 December 2012
"Rather belatedly I am updating other readers on what happened when I put my tomatoes with a banana in shoe boxes in the airing cupboard. The tomatoes did start to colour but also began to look a bit wizened. I think they airing cupboard was too hot. So I removed the shoe boxes and shortly afterwards removed the bananas. The fruit having started to change colour continued and all did ripen. From this I learned that in future I will start the unripened tomatoes in a an airing cupboard but as soon as the ripening process starts I will remove them to a less warm environment."
krena on Monday 3 December 2012
"Hello Max again the one that had blight... I'd 'really' check any tomatoes for blight before trying to ripen as spreads like wildfire. Also avoid gardeners delight my second year growing and good cropping but taste horrid."
Max on Monday 3 December 2012
"A waste of a good banana! And they over-ripen so quickly and stink the place out. NOTHING is needed to ripen tomatoes. It might be quicker to use other fruit but what's the rush?"
Mary on Monday 3 December 2012
"It's being really rewarding ... brought about 100 green tomatoes of all sizes in on 04-Oct before our 1st hard frost (Toronto Canada area) and now the last 3 are showig the blush of ripening. Also, the cherry tomatoes I brought in (About another 100 or more) made a GREAT green tomato sauce. I put the tomatoes on an east-facing cool window sill and over time they've done a wonderful job of ripening a few at a time. Cheers, and have a great winter!"
Brian Crockatt on Friday 7 December 2012
"One thing I found is a lot of the tomatoes I left outside because they were green got blight (or something). So I am thinking perhaps it woudl have been better to bring them in earlier. I have two kind or problems, one which went brown and other that had a white fungus (or both). SO I think picking them earlier would have been a better option, although why might have gone bad anyway, if the disease was already in them."
esbo on Sunday 6 January 2013
"Great page- thanks for all of the advice. I have several rather expensive plants from a well-known nursery online, and would live to know about wintering them over. They are really tall right now, and my question is about trimming em back before I bring them inside. Can I just prune them down to a smaller size and then bring them in? I have a sunroom for the winter, but don't want 7-foot tall plants.... At least not at first ;) Wll this affect the ability to blossom and fruit, and am I just better off bringing the whole thing insi and sacrificing aesthetics for production? Many thanks!"
Lainie on Friday 12 July 2013
"Lainie I have never heard of over wintering tomatoes but then I don't know much about them. But it occurs to me if they are 7 foot now they will be huge in 6 months time!!! Could you just take a cutting? But there is no harm in trying, but I read the plants do not like more than a third of the foliage cut off. So were it me I would try chopping the top third off? Maybe stick the rest in a pot as a cutting? I would be just glad of a place to start new plants real early."
esbo on Sunday 4 August 2013
"I read that when you pick em green they have less flavour (like the ones in the supermarket!!!) Reason given was they were not getting the sugar pumped in. However I guess usually it is the case you have no choice due to the weather. Might it be better to leave them on the vine though and chop the vine off??? I might try that with come, chop off some of the vine and stick it in water on the window sill? Nothing to lose really?"
esbo on Sunday 4 August 2013
"Esbo, the sugar develops in fruit during ripening, it's not 'pumped in'. Our tomatoes, picked green and ripened on the kitchen counter in a basket, are as sweet as those ripened on the plant."
Mary on Sunday 4 August 2013
"Thanks Mary, that is reassuring as I expect I will have to pick most of mine green. Mine were hit by some disease last year and I may have been better off picking them earlier than I did. Many of the small cherry toms ripened on the vine and were very sweet, like plumbs!! The bigger tomatoes were a disappointment but I started earlier this year and it has been much sunnier so hoping for better now. I think I will experiment a bit too, picking some early and reducing the fruit left on some plants and see what I can learn from that, I have tonnes of plants in my tomato 'jungle' so I can afford to use a few as guinea-pigs. They are outside in the UK (not under-glass) so not an ideal environment so I am grateful for anything I get. The smaller cherry toms did best last year hence I have more of them this year. I notice one has started to ripen already, which is better than last year so fingers crossed I will have a good crop of those at least!! "
esbo on Tuesday 6 August 2013
"I've started to cut the tomatoes plus as much stalk as I can get away with, as soon as I detect a blush starting to appear. Whatever happens precisely at this stage, whether it be appearance or maybe giving off gases, it triggers a -- gotta sample it -- reaction from local wildlife. To leave them outside longer puts them at great risk of the squirrels - maybe racoons, but I think its the squirrels - sampling them, not liking what is found, but nonetheless causing me to waste the subject tomato. Bringing them inside at 1st blush seems to work best in maximizing the ripe tomatoes that we get to the table: i.e. the initial objective. More as the season progresses. From: Toronto, Canada All the best Brian Crockatt"
Brian Crockatt on Thursday 22 August 2013
"can we ripe Tomato in Banana Rooms. if it is then @ what temp we should ripe Tomato. Kinldy advise. "
Anis on Saturday 24 August 2013
"My husband believes cutting around the roots of the plant will speed ripening. Has anyone heard of this?"
Jane on Sunday 25 August 2013
"My greenhouse toms have amounted to very little this year and last year the plants failed I my veggie patch. In a waste not want not approach I popped a couple of rogue spares in the patch this year... and what do you know! Amazing plum toms albeit green! There is no sense to my tomato growing attempts but I hope they ripen as they look fantastic. Failing that green tomato recipes gladly received! In the sunny uk :)"
Karen on Sunday 1 September 2013
"My tomatoes which are grown outdoor in the UK are doing fine so far, my Cherries and Tigerella are have been ripening for a while, one Alicante seems to be starting to ripen but the plumbs remain stubbornly green. However that is a blessing in a way because they are ripening as fast as I can eat them ie not a little faster. Hence I am more concerned to slow the ripening down at the moment!!! I will not be buying any tomatoes from the shops for a while. I have done miles better than last year, I think that is because of starting a few weeks earlier and the better sunnier less damp weather."
esbo on Sunday 1 September 2013
"This is wandering off the point, but the tomatoes I grow on the patio and in a greenhouse in the north west UK have suffered a caterpillar attack this year, from what I read is the Bright-line Brown-eye Moth (Lacanobia oleracea). I had no idea anything ate tomato leaves, but these caterpillars do as well as green or ripening tomatoes. Never known this before - have I just been lucky?"
Goldfinch on Monday 2 September 2013
"Gosh, Goldfinch, I've never heard of anything eating tomato leaves either (except the occasional peck by banties). You've got me a bit worried now, I'm only just down the road, globally speaking, in Leeds."
Mary on Monday 2 September 2013
"can someone help me make a decision , i know about bananas , paper bags airing cupboards etc , i have huge green tomatoes which given our current temps of 27 i was happy to leave for a while but noticed today they are getting soft but still green , very very slowly turning a yellowy colour , i am worried if i bring them in they wont ripen ? shall i or not anyone help ??"
jo on Wednesday 4 September 2013
"A big Thank You to all contributors for their comments and suggestions. I now realise I am not alone, eg I have possibly the biggest and healthiest out door tomatoes I have ever had. The down side is they are not going to ripen in the garden so maybe I should buy a stock of shoes- to get the boxes- a large clear plastic bag to suspend them in and hit my head on every time I enter or leave the garage. Seriously I am amazed this world wide problem has not been researched by the boffins before now. Keep me posted with the comments they are far more interesting than tele.All I know is that the tomatoes do not require direct light to ripen and if you leave the 'turning' ones on they ripen those adjacent much quicker. "
Theo on Thursday 5 September 2013
"The most important point, probably the only really valid point is that you must choose variates which have a ripening time suitable for you climate. Ie if you have a short season (ie don't live in a very warm climate) chose the ones with a low number of days to maturity. Hence do not go for the ones which say 110 days to maturity, go for ones which say below 75 or lower. Some are in the low 50's I believe. You can cover ones which say 110 days in banana skins but they will not ripen in 60 days whatever you do!!"
esbo on Thursday 12 September 2013
"These comments and advice have been great. I've got loads of green toms from self seeded plants and had no idea what to do with them. There's no sign of ripening at all. Will try the shoe box method and see how it goes. If it doesn't work will be back on the 'net' looking for green tom recipes."
babsy on Wednesday 25 September 2013
"Well I have tonnes of tomatoes of all colors now, more than I can eat really. One thing I did was reduce the watering hoping that might stress them and speed up ripening. However had a few downpours recently and that has lead to a lot of split tomatoes as the skins can set when you reduce watering, the after a downpour they split as they swell. A lesson learned there perhaps. I did hear that damaging the root by putting a spade through part of it might speed things up, again by stressing the plant. That probably will not lead to any splitting. The splitting is not too much of a problem as I have far to many toms so I can throw the split ones away, however I eat them if the split is clean and recent. I might pick the toms off the blighted plants and take them inside, I hope they will be less affected if I do that but the disease may be in the tomato but hidden. I guess I could try canning or preserving them. babsys, they will ripen eventually but best to leave them on the plant as long as you can I think if you have no disease problems. The riper they are when you pick them the better. Green tomatoes are nice fried, nicer than red ones really as they do not turn to mush so much, they are a bit like fried potatoes in a way (the potato and tomato plant are very closely related, potatoes plants actually do grow green tomato like fruits, but they are poisonous. Problem I face now is some plants are showing signs of blight, black marks on trusses etc and fruit"
esbo on Thursday 26 September 2013
"I cant eat my tomatoes fast enough and my heart is breaking that I have so many still green. Thanks for the next best thing. "
Amanda Davidson on Sunday 29 September 2013
"I remember one year having so many tomatoes I got advice to dip the green tomatoes in a solution of 1 to 4 vinegar and water ( 1 cup vinegar to 4 cups water ) and this helps the spoiling organisms from invading the tomatoes and then I arranged the tomatoes on newspaper around the basement window,and covered with newspaper. We were still eating tomatoes in December."
Jean Rutz on Wednesday 2 October 2013
"when my tomatoes got hit by blight, I harvested them, cut off the blight, and made green tomato relish(Joy of Cooking).Yum. Now I have an unheated greenhouse, and the tomatoes seem to be still ripening, with no blight, so no relish!"
pat hepper on Tuesday 19 November 2013
"Someone mentioned she ate a green tomato! I should like to warn you all about that. Tomatoes and potatoes as well are of the Nightshade family and when still green or raw...meaning unripe...they are highly poisonous! Yes, really mean. So take great care. I've noticed that many groceries sell them half ripe...and to cook them then is certainly a cause for a severe tummy ache if not worse!"
Marjanne Barkman on Monday 25 August 2014
"can you ripen Tomatoes on a windowsill"
heidi on Wednesday 3 September 2014
"I live in Scotland and grow tomatoes outside, in plastic tubs (the ones that supermarket cut flowers are delivered in)and when the temperature dips late summer/early autumn, I take them indoors and ripen them off in front of radiators. Not exactly pretty, but effective."
Lorenzo on Sunday 26 April 2015
"Thank you so much, your video was a great help,I shall try your methods,I have tried the banana, but didn't know about the apple.... "
elizabeth carter on Monday 25 July 2016
"I tried putting my very green tomatoes in a paper bag but didn't expect them to turn red since they were no where near ripe. To my surprise over half of then have turned red so far in about 2 weeks!"
Linda on Tuesday 4 October 2016
"The egg carton idea for storage was brilliant. Very informative article overall. I have done fried green tomatoes, though I would prefer ripe ones. The green ones had a tangy taste reminiscent of eggplant."
Steve B on Friday 10 November 2017
"I've eaten lots of green tomatoes, an Italian neighbour only ate green tomatoes, never red or yellow ones. They're not poisonous, she died in her 90s and I'm still here, hale and hearty, pushing eighty."
Mary Fisher on Friday 10 November 2017
"First time I've grown tomatoe plants, just three. One produced four tomatoes together as one - was eaten by deer or coon or our local chip. Another plant did well but again I was watching one ripen perfectly but the local eaters got to it the night before I planned to pick it. So I harvested the green ones and brought indoors. four days and the small ones turned light red and two more days and they are looking good. Two large greens are just sitting around lazily looking like Kermit the frog. I may fry them up like the great film, 'Fried Green Tomatoes'. Note - I make my own ionic silver for health - I add some to my personal watering and suspect it will be helpful with any possible plant diseases."
john on Monday 19 August 2019
"Thanks for the useful tips. Living in the Scottish Northern Isles, so our autumn is well advanced. I should have read your article before pulling our last tomatoes up and taking them off the vine. I’ll know next time. Thanks to you, I have a tray full of green tomatoes with a couple of bananas (and some ripe tomatoes to give the green ones the idea of what they are supposed to achieve), draped in newspaper in our hall. Let’s hope some of them get the hint. I WILL be using some for Green Tomato Parmesan today, though!"
hegasaer on Thursday 22 October 2020

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