How do you know if a tomato is ready to eat?
Some of your tomatoes are probably beginning to change color by now. Maybe you have some that seem to be ready to harvest. So how do you tell when it’s time to pick your tomatoes? You can’t just rely on the colour of your tomatoes to know when they’re ready to harvest because many need a couple of days after their final colour to complete the ripening process.
How Do You Know When to Pick Your Tomatoes?
A few basic clues can assist you determine whether it is OK to harvest your tomatoes. Unless you’re going to make fried green tomatoes, which are very good and definitely worth a try, you should wait until the fruit is ripe, or nearly ripe, to pick them for eating. To prevent the skins separating, harvest your tomatoes a bit before they’re totally ripe if you want to preserve them. So how can you tell when they’re ready?
- Ripe tomatoes have reached their full rich color, with no green spots remaining. Green areas mean they’re not quite ripe yet.
- Ripe tomatoes should readily come off the vine. Ideally, you should be able to pick them with one hand, cup the fruit in your palm, and gently twist it off the vine. They’re not nearly ripe if you require two hands to separate the stem from the fruit.
- A ripe tomato won’t be too firm or too squishy; they will feel supple, slightly soft, but not too soft. It should have a firmer texture than a ripe peach or nectarine. It’s not ripe if it still feels firm like an apple. If you squeeze the fruit gently and it has a bit of give to it, it should be ready to harvest.
- Ripe tomatoes are glossy and lustrous. Before they are fully ripe, they will usually have a slightly duller or powdery appearance.
How to Avoid Splitting Tomato Skins
Splitting skins are one of the most typical issues individuals have while waiting for their tomatoes to mature. They may split at any stage of development, whether green or mature. In many situations, tomatoes break their skins due to inconsistency in watering.
Tomato plants are quite thirsty. They need at least 1 inch of water every week, as well as lots of fertilizers. Once they start growing fruit, they use up even more water to create those lush tasty toms. Ensure that your tomatoes are consistently watered when the fruit is maturing. A layer of mulch will also assist maintain moisture in the soil, resulting in reduced water and heat stress.
Tomatoes grown outdoors are more likely to split. When they are subjected to dry conditions, the flesh may develop quicker than the skin, causing it to become very tight. Water-stressed tomatoes sometimes crack their skins after a heavy thunderstorm, which is not unusual around Powell River. So if your tomatoes are nearly ripe and rain is in the forecast, it may be best to pick them and let them finish the ripening process indoors. Tomatoes grown in a greenhouse or inside may also split.
Don’t be disheartened if you realize that your tomatoes have split. They are still functional. Pick split tomatoes as soon as possible and inspect them for bugs nibbling or tunneling into them. You may still eat them if no one else is chewing on them. Use them soon since they won’t last as long as other tomatoes. If you catch split tomatoes quickly, they can still be sliced or eaten fresh. They’re probably best for cooking if they’ve been split for a day or two. Even if they’ve been nibbled on, you can still save the seeds from them for next year if you like the variety.
Should you pick tomatoes before they are fully ripe?
When the tomato reaches a stage when it is approximately 12 green and 12 pink (referred to as the ‘breaker stage,’ it may be picked and ripened off the vine without losing taste, quality, or nutrients.
When should my tomatoes be ready?
Harvest period for tomatoes begins when the first red bloom develops on the skin of the tomato. Grasp the fruit firmly, but gently, and pull from the plant by holding the stem with one hand and the fruit with the other, breaking the stalk just above the calyx that has formed to protect the bud.
Should tomatoes be squishy or hard?
The tomato should be firm yet soft enough to yield to gentle pressing. The tomato should be very aromatic when you smell it near where the stem was attached.
How long can you leave tomatoes on the vine to ripen?
However many days it takes for the flower to turn into a green fruit, that is how many days it’s going to take for this fruit to completely ripen. Most blooms mature into full-sized fruit in 15 to 20 days, which means those young tomatoes will need another 15 to 20 days to ripen.