There’s nothing more aggravating than a stubborn tomato that just won’t ripen up! If your growing season is nearing its end, or you just can’t wait any longer, use these simple tricks to quickly ripen tomatoes.

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If you’re interested in growing great tomatoes, check out our Tomato Growing Tips and Tackling Tomato Issues videos.


Tricks to Ripen Tomatoes

  • Remove flowers to concentrate energy on fruit that is already forming. For larger tomato varieties, remove flowers about one month before your area’s average first-frost date. (They probably won’t ripen anyway).
  • Stop watering in mid- to late-summer to send the plant into ripening mode. Withholding water signals the plant that it’s near the end of the growing season, and the plant will concentrate its efforts toward reproducing (aka ripening fruit!).
    • This only applies to tomato plants that are planted in the ground. Plants in containers still need water!
  • Pick fruit as soon as they show color. As soon as tomatoes start to show color, they are on their way to ripening. Pick them early to allow the plant to focus on other fruit and let the the first fruit ripen on your kitchen counter.
  • Put them with apples or bananas. Apples, bananas and other fruit give off ethylene, a gas with a hormone that causes nearby fruit to ripen. Ripen tomatoes quicker by putting them in a bowl with apples!
  • Pick green tomatoes before first frost and store them in a dark, dry place to slowly ripen overtime. Or, slice them up and have fried green tomatoes!

Feature photo and video by the author. Copyright Emeraldology 2020.