Ripening Off the Vine

Do tomatoes ripen after picking? Yes, they do. Tomatoes are climacteric and produce ethylene, which triggers and promotes ripening, a complex process that softens and—most importantly—sweetens fruit. Climacteric fruits (a tomato is a type of berry) include apples, bananas, mangoes, papayas, pears, apricots, peaches, plums, avocados, plantains, guavas, nectarines, passion fruits, and blueberries. Non-climacteric fruits are citruses, berries such as raspberries, strawberries and cherries, grapes, pineapples, melons, and pomegranate. Putting a greenish tomato on its stem end in a paper sack with an apple or banana will help it ripen.

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