Master Gardener Tips September 18, 2023


By Katie Markheim, Nebraska Extension Master Gardener

Dear Master Gardener, how do I ripen green tomatoes?

When frost is imminent, mature green tomatoes can be harvested and ripened indoors. The fruit should be solid, firm, free of defects, full-sized, and have a greenish white skin color. Remove the stems, then clean and dry the fruit. Individually wrap each fruit in a piece of newspaper and place in single layers in boxes or shelves. Store the tomatoes in a dark, cool (55-60°F) location, such as a basement or cellar. Inspect the tomatoes periodically during storage. Discard any soft or decaying fruit. When the tomatoes begin to color, remove the newspaper, and place them at room temperature. To ripen tomatoes quickly, put them in a brown paper bag with or without an apple. As apples and tomatoes ripen, they give off ethylene gas. Ethylene speeds up the fruit ripening process when confined in a closed bag.