Skip to comments.Pick Tomatoes At Color Break [no taste benefit to fully ripening on the vine]
Posted on 09/05/2023 8:32:26 PM PDT by Yardstick
Home gardeners should pick tomatoes sooner than later.
There is a common misconception among the public and home gardeners that vine-ripened tomatoes taste better. But picking tomatoes at color break does not hurt quality, reduces fruits’ exposure to damage and can extend their shelf-life, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.
Larry Stein, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension horticulturist, Uvalde, said tomatoes are fully mature when they begin to break color. Tomatoes ripen as they begin to produce ethylene gas, which promotes the process.
“Breakers,” mature tomatoes starting to change colors, begin to turn a yellowish green and then begin to fade into salmon-to-pink hues before turning red. Tomatoes can be picked as soon as their green begins to yellow.
There is a difference between tomatoes picked green and ripened via synthesis [that is, put in "ripening rooms" with ethylene gas pumped in like the big commercial growers do], Stein said, but no taste or tenderness difference between tomatoes pulled from the vine at color break and those allowed to reach full red color on the vine.
“Over the years, the term ‘vine-ripened’ may have emerged as a branding tactic used to make something sound better or set a product apart, but it is just a marketing ploy when it comes to tomatoes,” Steins said. “The fruit is fully mature at break, and there are no benefits from leaving it on the vine, but there are drawbacks.”
Harvesting at color break reduces the chance of pests like stinkbugs and birds harming the fruit, he said. Breaker tomatoes are also less likely to experience radial cracks, splits in the fruit related to water uniformity.
(Excerpt) Read more at agrilifetoday.tamu.edu ...
This “expert” is an idiot.
I’ve let them ripen on the kitchen counter, and they’ve been fine.
The real truth is that if you have a lovely green tomato, don’t wait for it to ripen. Slice that baby up, and make fried green maters with it. Add cheesy grits and bacon and an egg cooked to your liking. Mmm mmm, that’s some good eats right there.
I know several gardeners with bountiful tomato crops who say tomatoes should be picked before they’re fully ripe because ripe fruit tells the plant that it’s done it’s job, and the plant begins to wither. They swear that picking the tomatoes before full ripening extends the life (and production) of the plant.
I’ve always picked them at color-break. They ripen perfectly in a bowl.
I grew up raising tomatoes, watermelon, cantaloupe and others.
I am a fruit and vegetable snob.
I love tomatoes, which is why I refuse to eat them unless they are sun ripened on the vine.
No college kid is going to convince me there is no difference.
It may depend on the type of tomato. Likely heirloom varieties do better left on the vine till red but the more modern varieties can be picked and allowed to change color off the vine.
If you don’t pick them early, the birds, coons, and other critters will.
Anyone else have issues with tough skinned tomatoes this year?
I’m thinking it was caused by the regional wet spring/mild summer.
But it was probably due to global warming. /s
>> I’ve always picked them at color-break. They ripen perfectly in a bowl.
I learned this quite by accident this year. The fruitworms invariably got to them while I was waiting for that uniform red “vine ripened” look. So I started picking them half-red half-yellow (I didn’t even know the term “color break”). They ripened on a plate on the kitchen counter just fine.
Agree, sun ripened on the vine tomatoes are the most flavorful, and maybe even as sweet as candy.
How come Ketchup and spaghetti sauce is a dark red mostly if it tastes the same or better just coloring? Makes no sense I tell you!!!
“...which is why I refuse to eat them unless they are sun ripened on the vine.”
Unless you live on a ranch or farm, it isn’t always possible to get anything fruit or vegetable off the vine, bush, or tree. So sometimes it has to be taken into consideration. I was raised in the central valley of California, a huge agricultural district. For the first ten years of my life I grew up on a ranch that had plums, grapes, nectarines, peaches, oranges, lemons, walnuts, and almonds. And the neighbors had other types of fruits and veggies. But when I moved to the city, I didn’t have easy access so I had to learn to make due. I miss it, also.
I thought that, too. But I put it to the test. I brought them after they were just starting to turn red. Wrapped them in paper in a closed box. It worked out just grand. I had several boxes going so I had tomatoes into December. And that’s in Upstate NY. The taste was magnificent....but don’t pick green...watch for the red.
So how large are you supposed to let Black Beauty eggplants grow to before you harvest them? I have several 4-5” ones now.
Can throw it on top this year if garden already planted. Slugs don't like the sharp rocks.
The Greensand and rock dust provide the minerals the plants need. They make tomatoes especially sweet. Also beets and carrots.
I’ve always had good luck picking them at the first sign of red blushing. If I let them go any longer the mocking birds will have a feast.
he must be a shill for store bought tomatoes, or smokes cigarrettes and cant taste anything
you cant ship a vine ripened tomato but the flavor is way way different. I just had a huge harvest and had to make salsa and spaghetti sauce and gave some to the neighbors
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