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Gary350
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Location: TN. 50 years of gardening experience.

Harvest Tomatoes before they get Over Ripe.

If I harvest my tomatoes when they are 90% red and the top 10% near the steam is still orange that is the best flavor tomato. If I wait until the top part turns red the tomato is over rip and lost some of its flavor.

An over ripe tomato has lost some of all 3, less flavor, less sweetness, less acidity.

An under ripe tomato has low flavor, low sweetness.

Today I have been cutting tomatoes for dinner and for canning jars. I have been tasting every tomato, they all have slightly different flavor. Good flavor, good sweetness, good acidity, are the very best tomatoes.

An oriental lady describes it, Good Flavor, Sweet & Sour.

Tomatoes are like fine Wine, some are better than others. This is why we like Beef Steak tomatoes and all the Beef Steak varieties.

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rainbowgardener
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Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Harvest Tomatoes before they get Over Ripe.

I pick my tomatoes once they are well blushed, but not nearly 90% red. The longer it stays on the vine, the more chance that something can happen to it - - bugs, cracking, etc. Once they are blushed, they don't get anything more from the plant anyway.
when to give up and go indoors

I ALREADY SUGGESTED TWO INSTANCES: Do your ripening indoors whenever animals, or prolonged cold, threaten to get to the crop before you do. But intense heat can take its toll, too, says the Illinois Urban Extension, which recommends picking “pink” fruit when temperatures are over 90.

Alice Waters (in “Chez Panisse Vegetables”) isn’t alone in suggesting ripening indoors as a regular practice, picking when the shift from orange to red begins, reportedly to maximize sugar and acid content.
https://awaytogarden.com/theres-more-tha ... -a-tomato/
The article has pictures to show stages of ripening from green through "breakers, turning, pink, light red, red."
After all the love and work put into your tomatoes, it’s time for a delicious harvest! But when is the best time to collect the fruit? Tomatoes emit ethylene gas, which causes a reduction of chlorophyll (the green stuff) and increases the carotenoids (reds and yellows) within the fruit. This causes the flesh to soften and the fruit to change color. This also explains why tomatoes continue to ripen after they have been harvested. For personal or commercial gardens, the ideal time to harvest is when the first signs of red appear on the fruit. Harvesting at this stage gives the fruit a longer shelf life and gives you plenty of time to take a bountiful, home-grown harvest to your friends’ houses!
https://www.maximumyield.com/train-your ... lds/2/1431
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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digitS'
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Location: ID/Wa! border

Re: Harvest Tomatoes before they get Over Ripe.

rainbowgardener wrote:I pick my tomatoes once they are well blushed, but not nearly 90% red. The longer it stays on the vine, the more chance that something can happen to it - - bugs, cracking, etc. Once they are blushed, they don't get anything more from the plant anyway. ..
I'm not sure that I agree but ... I usually do the same thing :wink: . What I try for is that the tomato will be fully ripe by "tomorrow or the next day."

That 1st article linked has a fun perspective on a ripening tomato and midlife crisis. Ha, HA! Maturity.

Shoulders? I have noticed that the shoulders have different color characteristics depending on weather. More normal tomato-growing weather, things are about as to be expected.

Some of my favorite varieties have green shoulders and they will never be yellow (the dark green may change to red, however). Of course, yellow tomatoes will never be red. And then, there are those oddities: white, black, purple and green-when-ripe ;).

Steve
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

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KitchenGardener
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Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2016 12:30 am
Location: Northern California; Hardiness Zone 10a, Climate zone: 17

Re: Harvest Tomatoes before they get Over Ripe.

rainbowgardener, thank you for that fantastic source of info. Am surprised to admit that I have been gardening for decades and never really believed that picking early was better. Probably a knee jerk reaction to my grandfather, who was an avid gardener much more interested in quantity than quality, so he'd pick, and come walking down the road to deliver to us, bucket loads of green tomatoes, giant zucchini and oversized green beans, causing my brother and me to hide in hopes he'd give it to someone else instead...ahh, fond memories, hahaha.

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