When is a green tomato ripe?
By Teresa Woodard
Thanks to Master Gardener intern and nutritionist Shirley Kindrick I now know when to pick a Green Giant and other non-red heirloom tomatoes. She says to start by knowing if the tomato plants are early, mid-season or later ripeners. Another clue is to check the “days to maturity”. For example, on the back of the seed packet for the classic Brandywine – a late-season heirloom tomato, the “days to maturity” is 90 days. So, if the tomato plant is planted on May 15, the harvest date would likely be August 15.
Shirley also advises to know the tomato’s color when ripe. Finally, she says to feel the tomatoes, and pick them when they are a little soft to the touch. They ripen from the inside out.
Shirley closed her presentation with a tasting of several heirloom varieties. Our favorites included Anna’s Noire, Aunt Ruby’s German Green, Green Giant and Valencia.