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The Best Way to Ripen Green Tomatoes

Written by Hilary on October 17th, 2006

Summer is over and fall is definitely upon us. I don’t know about you, but I still have a ton of tomatoes on my vines.

Tomatoes ripen from the bottom up and the inside out, so don’t put tomatoes on a windowsill to ripen because they will only turn red, but not ripe. They will stay green inside.

So try this ripening trick, it works every time:

1. Place your unripened tomatoes on a tray, and then put them in a dark, warm spot.

2. Cover them with a single sheet of newspaper.

3. These are the conditions tomatoes need to continue the ripening process, which is internal. The light, which was needed for “growth” isn’t needed anymore.

4. Eat when ready.

Try this, it works so great!

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6 Comments so far ↓

  1. Loretta says:

    Can you use a brown paper bag, too?

  2. Hilary says:

    Hi Loretta,

    I wouldn’t use a paper bag only because you want the warm air to circulate around each tomato as evenly as possible for even ripening.

    Also you want to keep the moisture level down so nothing mildews or rots.

  3. Ki says:

    Thanks for the tip. I just picked two bucketfuls of green tomatoes so I’ll try your method.

  4. Anonymous says:

    You state that they ripen from the bottom up. For this purpose, which is the bottom? The stem side?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Do you place the tomatoes stem down or up?

  6. Hilary says:


    From the bottom up, means from the bottom of the fruit up to where it is connected to the plant at the stem, which would be the top.

    So to be clear, the stem side is the top.

    As for putting them on the tray, yes, you put them stem side up.

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