Harvest time for tomatoes: when to pick tomatoes
When it is harvest time for tomatoes, I think there should be a celebration; maybe a federal holiday should be declared. I love this fruit. There is a multitude of ways to prepare sun-dried, roasted, stewed, canned, even frozen tomatoes; as many as tomato varieties.
If you are lucky enough to be able to grow your own tomatoes. The question is when are the tomatoes ready for harvest. Tomatoes are sneaky. We are used to buying vibrant red tomatoes from grocery stores. But the fact is that color is not a good indicator of when to pick tomatoes. Waiting for a time when the fruit is evenly red may be a little late to pick the tomatoes.
When to choose tomatoes
Tomatoes are gaseous, I mean they emit a gas. Ethylene is produced by fully formed ripe green tomatoes. Inside the ripe green tomato, two growth hormones change and cause the production of the gas, which in turn ages the cells of the fruit, resulting in softening and the loss of the green color turning into a red hue. Ethylene increases carotenoids (red and yellow colors) and decreases chlorophyll (green color).
Due to this process, tomatoes are one of the only vegetables, I mean the fruit, that can be picked before it is fully ripe. So ideally, the harvest time for tomatoes is ideal when the fruit is ripe green and then allowed to ripen off the vine. This prevents splitting or bruising and allows a measure of control over the ripening process.
How to harvest tomato fruit
Harvest time for tomatoes will occur at the end of their growing season, usually in late summer, once the tomatoes are in their ripe green stage. Tomatoes harvested before this stage, such as those bought in the supermarket, have often been harvested before this stage so that they can ripen during transport and therefore have less flavor than those left in the vineyard. a little more.
There is a fine line when tomatoes are picked at the ripe green stage. Look for the first light blush of color as an indicator of when to pick the tomatoes to ensure there is no loss of essence. Of course, you can also harvest tomato fruit when it is ripe; the ripe fruit will sink into the water. These vine ripe tomatoes may be the sweetest. But some types of tomatoes are too heavy to ripen. So they pick the tomatoes in their ripe green stage and allow the ethylene gas to continue the ripening process.
The “how” to harvest tomato fruits is pretty basic. Look carefully at the underside of the fruit, as this is where tomatoes begin to ripen, especially large varieties. Lightly squeeze the fruit to test for firmness. Once the first redbud appears on the tomato skin, the harvest time for the tomatoes is near.
Hold the fruit firmly, but gently, and pull the plant by holding the stem with one hand and the fruit with the other, breaking the stem just above the calyx that has formed to protect the bud.
Once you’ve harvested the tomatoes, store them indoors to continue ripening. Green tomatoes will ripen faster if wrapped in newspaper, which will contain ethylene gas and speed up the process. Store them at 55-70 F. (13-21 C.) – or colder if you want to slow ripening and warmer to speed it up, and routinely check for ripeness. They can last three to five weeks stored in this way.