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When is a tomato ripe?

Melissa is the assignment editor and contributing writer for SheKnows Home and Living. While other little girls were playing dress up with Barbie, Melissa was busy remodeling Barbie's house. She now lives out her dream covering design an...

How to check to see if your tomatoes are ready to eat.

Tomatoes are one of the most popular veggies for home growers, and if you've grown tomatoes before, you certainly know the anticipation that begins once the first green tomatoes show. Patience is the only answer. Tomatoes ripen at different times based on variety.


Tomatoes are one of the most popular veggies for home growers, and if you've grown tomatoes before, you certainly know the anticipation that begins once the first green tomatoes show. Patience is the only answer. Tomatoes ripen at different times based on variety.

Tomatoes can take anywhere from 45 to 100 or more days from transplant to maturity. In general, early season and smaller-sized tomatoes ripen quickest. The best way to tell if a tomato is ripe is a squeeze test. Unripe, green tomatoes feel hard, and they have no give when you squeeze them--like a golf ball. Ripe tomatoes are firm, but have a little bit of give when you squeeze. Ripe tomatoes will also have a deep color---red if you're growing red tomatoes, but dark purple, orange or yellow if you're growing other varieties.

If you're still not sure about ripeness, you can always taste a tomato to check. Ripe tomatoes taste sweet and how you'd expect a tomato to taste, while raw unripe tomatoes taste bitter and leave an almost chalky taste in your mouth. They can taste sweeter if you cook them.

If unripe tomatoes fall off the plant or if frost is approaching before they'll ripen, you can always bring green tomatoes inside to ripen in a paper bag like you would bananas. However, this will only work with green tomatoes that are a mature size.

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