The garden tomato is extensively grown in containers and backyard gardens. It is a member of the Solanaceae family and its fruits usually ripen on the plants in mid to late summer, depending on the variety. If the fruits fall from the plant before they ripen or if a hard frost threatens, you can place them in the right conditions so that they will turn red. The following is a guide on how to ripen tomatoes.
Temperature plays a major role in the ripening of fruits. The ripening process can be inhibited by cold temperatures. If the temperature lies outside the range of 50 degrees Fahrenheit or 85 degrees Fahrenheit, they cannot produce their natural pigments. Timing is important for harvesting these fruits for indoor ripening. If you leave them under temperatures of about 40 degrees Fahrenheit, they may end up decaying. Leaving a short piece of stem on the fruits can enhance their resistance to decay.
Another factor to consider when ripening these fruits is light. If you place them in too much light, their skin may toughen. They ripen well if you place them in a warm place, away from direct sunlight. Along with bananas and apples, tomatoes release a gas known as ethylene. Utilizing the natural ethylene supply stimulates the ripening process of fruits which are harvested before maturing.
You can capture the ethylene that tomatoes produce in several ways. One of them is pulling up the whole tomato plants and hanging them upside down in a warm place. This strategy allows the fruit to remain on the plant during the entire ripening process.
Another way to capture ethylene gas is placing fruits in warm areas in a cardboard box, which is lined with newspapers. You may also ripen these fruits by placing apples or bananas along with them in a brown paper bag. The ethylene produced by apples and bananas stimulates the ripening process. You should check the fruits regularly and replace the apples or bananas if necessary.
The flavor of the indoor ripened tomatoes is determined by many factors including how you treat the fruits in their final maturity stage and the way you pick and store them. You should pick them before the temperature is cold enough to cause freezing. In addition, you should only pick the fruits that are shinny green or mottled green and pink. Since the fluted, white and smaller fruits perform poorly indoors, you should leave them on the vine.
It is also important to sort the fruits. Set the riper ones aside so that the harder green fruits will not bruise them. You should also avoid overcrowding them since this can cause decay and bruising. The fruits should ripen within seven to fourteen days.
After two weeks, you should separate the unripe fruits from the ripe ones. You should then store them in an area where the temperature is fifty five to sixty degrees Fahrenheit. If you make an effort to cure tomatoes properly, you will enjoy consuming them as flavorsome and juicy vegetables.
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