How to ripen tomatoes

How to ripen late tomatoes

There are always a few green tomatoes left on plants as temperatures start to fall. Here's how to ripen them.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
At its best
At its best

Plant is not at its best in January

Plant is not at its best in February

Plant is not at its best in March

Plant is not at its best in April

Plant is not at its best in May

Plant is not at its best in June

Plant is not at its best in July

Plant is not at its best in August

Plant is at its best in September

Plant is not at its best in October

Plant is not at its best in November

Plant is not at its best in December

To do
To do

Do not To do in January

Do not To do in February

Do not To do in March

Do not To do in April

Do not To do in May

Do not To do in June

Do not To do in July

Do not To do in August

Do To do in September

Do not To do in October

Do not To do in November

Do not To do in December

Tomato plants fruit from June until the first frosts, but any fruits that develop from September are unlikely ripen as quickly as those growing in summer, and may not ripen fully before the first frosts arrive.

Don’t worry, there’s a few tricks you can employ to help your green tomatoes turn red. Follow our steps to ripening the last of your home-grown fruits, below.

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You Will Need

  • Tomato plants
  • Secateurs

Total time:

Step 1

Remove any remaining flowers from your tomato plants. These have no chance of developing into fruit so nipping them off now will help channel the plant’s energy into ripening existing fruits.

How to ripen tomatoes - remove remaining flowers
How to ripen tomatoes – remove remaining flowers

Step 2

Your tomato plants should have formed three or four trusses of fruits by early autumn, so to ensure these all ripen, remove the top of each plant. Simply cut through the main stem a couple of leaves above the uppermost truss of green fruits. Removing leaves from the plant can also ensure the maximum amount of light possible can reach the fruits, helping them to ripen.

How to ripen tomatoes - remove the top part of the tomato plant
How to ripen tomatoes – remove the top part of the tomato plant

Step 3

After temperatures have started to dip, remove all the tomatoes from your plant and keep them in a drawer or paper bag with a banana. The banana will release ethylene, a hormone associated with the ripening of fruit. Check the drawer or bag regularly and remove ripened tomatoes as and when you find them.

How to ripen tomatoes - harvesting tomatoes
How to ripen tomatoes – harvesting tomatoes
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