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Tuesday, 27 July 2021

How to ripen tomatoes, and some recipes


Ripe, juicy tomatoes filled with flavour are a backbone of thousands of recipes from all over the world. The quality and ripeness of the tomatoes you use always matters, as the flavour won’t be right otherwise. That’s especially true when you are making a salad. If you grow your own tomatoes or find that the ones you’ve bought are unripe, here are a few tips for helping them develop more flavour.

How tomatoes ripen
The first thing you need to know is that sunlight isn’t always helpful; in fact, too much light can toughen skins, so don’t put your tomatoes on the windowsill. If you grow tomatoes, don’t be tempted to pull the leaves off the plants to help them get more sunshine.

Tomatoes need warmth to ripen. The warmer a tomato is, the quicker it will ripen – putting your tomatoes in the fridge is therefore no help to them at all, and can even degrade their texture to ‘mealy’. However, if tomatoes get too hot, the ripening will stop – another reason to keep them off the windowsill.

Tomatoes, like bananas and avocados, give off ethene (or ethylene) gas, a natural plant hormone that regulates a plant’s growth and makes it ripen by converting the starch it stores into sugar. All fruits do this, and tomatoes are technically a fruit, which is why they will ripen other climacteric fruits (fruit that will ripen off the plant that it grows on).

As long as you are start the process with tomatoes that have naturally started to ripen (even if they have only just started to tinge yellow or orange in patches) these will be ready to ripen, and will have a better flavour when they turn red. Tomatoes that are completely green may not develop as good a flavour or ripen as well, so perhaps think about using them in a recipe such as green tomato chutney.

How to ripen tomatoes
In a breathable bag or box
1) In order to speed up the ripening process, all you need to do is trap the ethene gas in with the tomatoes by putting them in a paper bag, cardboard box or empty kitchen drawer.
2) Add a ripening banana or apple, which will also give off ethene to help things along.
3) Fruit gives off moisture, so use a bag or box that won’t trap it and keep the tomatoes spaced apart so they don’t go mouldy.
4) Ripening from very unripe usually takes a week or two at higher temperatures (18C-25C is optimum) – just keep checking as the tomatoes will ripen at different speeds.
5) If it’s cold in your kitchen, ripening will take much longer. Also, check for tomatoes that start to rot, as these will affect all the others.

There is some advice available that tell you to put tomatoes in a jar, but this is more likely to trap moisture and hasten spoiling.

In the fruit bowl
If your tomatoes are almost ripe but just need a little more time, keep them in your fruit bowl. The fruit around them will give off ethene and help them to ripen, and you will be able to keep an eye on them.
Words above from here

Some tomato recipes you may like to try

lovely roast tomatoes
see more details here

summer tomato pie
see more details here

Tomato Soup with onions, carrot and celery
see more details here

Dear reader you will find a variety of articles and recipe ideas within this blog, and not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

31 comments:

Jacqui Murray said...

I'm not into tomatoes but you sure are changing my mind!

My name is Erika. said...

There is nothing better than fresh garden tomatoes.

Tom said...

...my tomatoes are starting to ripen on the vine.

Lori Miller said...

At the end of the season, I take the whole plant and hang it up indoors. Tomatoes that are far enough along will ripen.

Christine said...

Nice recipes thanks.

William Kendall said...

The tomato pie would suit me.

J.P. Alexander said...

;e gusta el tomate pero solo en ensaladas o cuando hago pizza. No soporte la salsa de tomate ni la sopa. Te mando un beso

Elephant's Child said...

A homegrown tomato is a beautiful thing.

Margaret D said...

Good article, tomatoes are a wonderful fruit and one can do so much with them.

Valerie-Jael said...

Thanks for the tomato tips. Now I'm craving tomato soup! Valerie

Jo said...

Those roast tomatoes look delicious. My tomatoes are just beginning to ripen so there'll be lots of tomato dishes in my future.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

One of the great joys at this time of the year is tomatoes fresh from the vine without the need to ripen them indoors.

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

That was good info, Jann. Those roasted potatoes look so good, and I just had a tomato pie last night for dinner. There’s nothing like homegrown tomatoes!

R's Rue said...

I have so many tomatoes. I’m off to make tomato pie. Thank you for sharing. Have a splendid day my friend.

Jeanie said...

I usually use the bag method. It's very successful. Thanks for the links to the recipes, which all look very good!

CJ Kennedy said...

Didn’t know that about tomatoes. Thanks

Snowbird said...

What an interesting post! Oh, just loving the roast tomatoes and tomato soup!xxx

happyone said...

You can't beat tomatoes right out of the garden.

Debbie said...

great advice and awesome recipes!! i am just starting to bring my tomatoes in and they are looking really good!!

Ananka said...

I love tomatoes :-D

peppylady (Dora) said...

Yummy tomato soup.
Coffee is on and stay safe

Miss Val's Creations said...

We are growing tomatoes on our front porch this year. Hopefully the plants like it there so we can enjoy them later in the season!

Veronica Lee said...

Thanks for the tomato tips.

I love anything tomato!

Iris Flavia said...

In the grocery store almost everywhere tomatoes are super-ripe already, so we have to store them in the fridge... Avocados and mangoes. Never anything near ripe.
I always wonder if Jamie Oliver broadcasts from your country or Australia having the perfect avocado always! (Not the point, I know).

baili said...

oh i love tomatoes :)

this is the only thing which i did not have to loose throughout the years otherwise most are gone.

being from hotter part of earth mom's tomatoes grew so well always ,she would distribute them in friends too
i can't garden here due to harsh weather or it was best way to tribute her

Granny Marigold said...

It's the season of ripe tomatoes and every day we have a few vine-ripened ones. I make a tomato pie too but I use an ordinary pie crust. The topping is very much like the one featured.

Granny Marigold said...

I don't think my comment went through so I'll try again.
We're picking several vine-ripened tomatoes every day now. I make a tomato pie similar to the one featured except I use a plain pie crust.

Teresa said...

Me encantan los tomates. Besos.

Conniecrafter said...

that must be why my tomatoes are doing so well, all this heat

DVArtist said...

Really good post and great recipes.

Martha said...

Great tips! And I love all these recipes.