damaged tomatoes

Asked July 13, 2018, 10:48 PM EDT

I've been taught that tomatoes should never be refrigerated. I also understand that despite how much we hate the cardboard taste of hothouse tomatoes, once a tomato begins to show pink it can be picked to ripen on counter to then taste as good as picking when ripe. Is this approach actually viable or is taste compromised? Every morning I find at least one tomato on the ground or still on the vine with 1 bite to 1/4 eaten. Assume it is squirrels. Some are totally green while others have begun to ripen. Instead of tossing, I have cut off the chewed end, then cooked the remainder. However, I wonder if it is showing pink or red, can the cut be covered with saran wrap (to keep out bugs), then left of the counter to ripen, or is the ripening process stopped by the cut (or does it matter if the cut is at the vine or blossom end), or would a natural rotting process take precedence once the protective shield of the skin is broken? tnx

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3 Responses

You are correct that tomatoes can be picked when they are just beginning to turn and allowed to ripen on a kitchen counter. This will greatly increase the number of usable fruits you harvest.

Unfortunately, if a bite is taken out of an under-ripe tomato it is unlikely to ripen successfully indoors. Your best bet would be to cut out the bite area and then cover the wound with plastic wrap. jt

Thanks. I guess the chewed tomatoes should either be cooked soon or tossed, Should have thought to ask if there are any educated opinions on whether the early picking then ripening indoors has any impact on flavor. After all, hothouse tomatoes do ripen after ethylene treatment, albeit taste like cardboard.

We have found that picking early at blush stage and letting them ripen on the counter does not lessen their great taste. Enjoy!