It’s October, and my tomatoes are flourishing. That’s wonderful, especially considering the price at the grocery Store.
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But now I’ve got to plan out what will happen when those green tomatoes turn to red tomatoes.
First off, when should you pick a tomato?
According to Tomato Dirt: There are at least four ways to tell if a tomato is ready to pick.
1. Uniform color.Tomatoes ripen from their blossom end up to their shoulders. A tomato is perfectly ripe when it has an even, smooth color from top to bottom.
If you pick tomatoes when their color is not uniform, keep in mind that when you pluck it off the vine, its flavor development stops. (The color will continue to develop while the tomato sits on the counter.) If possible, wait until the last minute.
2. Touch.You can also check for ripeness by feel. A ripe tomato should be firm, but with just a little give especially on the bottom and shoulders.
3. Vine readiness. As you pointed out, your tomato resisted coming off the vine – and indicator that it needed a bit more time on the plant. Most ripe tomatoes pop off in your hand when you grasp them and twist. (Some larger tomatoes have larger branches and may require a knife.)
4. Taste. Ultimately, flavor and texture are the best indicators of ripeness. Sample a tomato you think is ripe. If it needs more or less time on the vine, then adjust your harvesting for that variety and that plant accordingly.
Keep an eye on all your tomatoes daily so you can harvest them when they’re evenly-colored, firm to the touch with a bit of give on the vine, and a fresh, flavorful taste!
Next, what do you do with your harvest once picked? How should you store them until ready to be munched on?
According to StillTasty:
Quick Tip: Store Tomatoes at Room Temperature
For maximum flavor and juiciness, always store whole tomatoes at room temperature until they’re fully ripe.
The chilly storage conditions of your refrigerator prevent tomatoes from ripening properly, resulting in a mealy, less tasty tomato.
Once your tomatoes are fully ripe, you can extend their shelf life for two to three more days by placing them in the fridge. And after you’ve cut into a whole tomato, refrigerate any leftovers right away; they’ll keep well for a few days longer.