How to Ripen Green Tomatoes

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Yellow on underripe tomatoes are good indicators that they will successfully ripen.
Yellow on underripe tomatoes are good indicators that they will successfully ripen. (Image: StephanieFrey/iStock/Getty Images)

Both hot temperatures and early frost can hinder a bountiful red-ripe tomato harvest. When outdoor conditions don’t favor vine-ripening, nearly mature green tomatoes can be salvaged and ripened indoors. Tomatoes produce ethylene gas, which speeds the ripening process. Containing this gas is key when you want juicy, ripe tomatoes.

Ripen Green Tomatoes

You need moderately warm temperatures -- in the 65 to 70 degree Fahrenheit range -- and a dark, enclosed space to successfully and quickly ripen tomatoes. Remove all stems and gently wash the tomatoes, then allow them to air dry. Individually wrap each tomato in a sheet of newspaper or place them in a sealed paper sack. To ripen an abundant harvest, store the tomatoes in a cardboard box or on a cupboard shelf and cover them with newspaper or dish towels. Add a ripening fruit, such as a banana or apple. These fruits also produce ethylene and can speed up the process. Check the tomatoes daily, removing any fruits that begins to rot.

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