Questions? Write Me at

Questions? Write me at fullcirclegardener @ cableone . net.

Ripening Green Tomatoes Indoors

Tomatoes harvested before the killing frost on Tuesday.
There are always at least a few tomatoes that didn't get to ripen on the vine at the end of the season.  This year my tomatoes were still in full swing so I have lots of green or partially ripe tomatoes sitting in my house right now.  If you are wondering if your green tomatoes will still ripen, let me encourage you.  As long as they were fully mature when you collected them, they will!  It will take some time, but they will ripen.  (Any tomatoes that were not fully mature will never ripen; eventually they will get old and rot.  They are perfect compost! ;)  Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference so don't be afraid to bring everything in and give them all a chance.

The key to ripening green tomatoes is to not let them get too warm while they ripen.  It is best to keep them at about 55F but under 75F is ok.  It is also best to keep them out of direct sunlight as the sun will heat them too much and may cause them to rot before they ripen.  Keep a close eye on your tomatoes as they ripen.  Just like apples, one rotten tomato could spoil the whole bunch so don't forget to check on them frequently!

 Whether you have six tomatoes or dozens, the basic idea is the same; just adjust the size of your 'system'.  You will want to place your tomatoes in a breathable container (paper bag, cardboard box) in a single layer giving each one some space so it doesn't touch its neighbor.  (You may do two layers if you really need to, but place a layer of newspaper between your layers.  Two layers are difficult because it makes it hard to check on the bottom layer quickly. More than two layer could cause the bottom layer to get damaged.)  Cover the box with a layer of newspaper or close up the paper bag. Again, remember to check on your tomatoes frequently and remove any that are ripe or rotten.

Headed to my basement pantry where I can keep a close eye on them.
It could take anywhere from one to six weeks for all of your tomatoes to ripen.  If you are wanting them to all ripen quickly and close to the same time add a banana to your container.  The ethylene gas that the banana gives off will encourage ripening.  If you want them to ripen slowly and only a few at a time, be sure to remove any ripe tomatoes right away. 

Do you ripen your green tomatoes or do you have a favorite preserve or dish you use them in?  I'd love to here what you do with your green tomatoes.

Happy Harvesting! :)


  1. I have 3 buckets of green tomatoes to get into newspaper for ripening. Last year I made relish out of my green tomatoes. This year I am freezing red ones for a winter full of chili. :)

  2. TJO, I like the idea of relish! :) Also froze some tomatoes earlier this season that I'm pulling out now to add to the spaghetti sauce I'm canning.

  3. thank you, thank you, thank you!

    i've been wondering what to do! this was a HUGE help!

  4. Marla Grace, so glad you find it helpful. :)

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I would love to hear your gardening comments and/or questions.