Ripening Tomatoes


There’s nothing quite like the smell of tomatoes on the vine. Hopefully your tomato plants started producing fruit from June and will continue right through until the first frosts.  By September however, the ripening process slows down as the days become shorter. They love a warm, light place to grow and ripen so try to leave them on the vine for as long as you can.

So how can you encourage them to ripen as we head towards shorter days? As we said, keep them on the vine for as long as you can, giving them as much light and warmth as you can.

If the plants have any remaining flowers, snip them off. The plant needs its energy to develop the fruit so by removing the flowers, you give them a better chance of ripening.

By early autumn, the plants should have a few trusses of fruit. To encourage them to ripen, remove the top of each plant. Just cut through the main stem a couple of leave above the top truss of green fruit.  By doing so, it lets the plant get maximum exposure to light thereby aiding the ripening process.

As it starts to get a bit chiller, it’s time to move the plants indoors. Our favourite top tip to help the ripening process  – keep them in a drawer or paper bag with a banana. Bananas release ethylene, a hormone associated with the ripening of fruit, which will help speed up the ripening process.  Remember to check the drawer or bag regularly and remove ripened tomatoes as and when you find them. You can also place them on a windowsill to ripen.

If you do have any green ones left at the end of the season, use them to make a green tomato chutney – great for a thoughtful Christmas gift!