How to Ripen Green Tomatoes

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.

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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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