Will Green Tomatoes Ripen After Harvesting? - Knowledgebase Question

Austin, TX
Question by felixpalaci
December 21, 1998
Until Dec 21st my tomato plants were still yielding tomatoes; however we got our first freeze last night so I picked all the tomatoes and I was wondering how to tell if they're edible. If they turn red will they be O.K. to eat?


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Answer from NGA
December 21, 1998

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Yes, tomatoes will continue to ripen off the vine if they are mature enough when you pick them. Tomatoes mature while still green. After that, they will continue to ripen on or off the vine. Before that point and they will not.

If you cut through a tomato and the knife cuts through the seeds and the firm material surrounding them, the tomato is not mature. If when sliced you see the area around the seeds is jelly-like and the seeds are not cut, but rather move aside as the knife passes, the tomato is mature.

This test of course destroys the tomato, but can give you an idea what a mature green tomato may look like.

Place green tomatoes in a warm indoor area to ripen. Do not refrigerate them. When they ripen, enjoy the tasty memory of last year's garden!

Thanks for the question!

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