How to Ripen Green Tomatoes Off the Vine

Published February 27, 2020
green tomatoes hang from vine

You can ripen green tomatoes by picking them before the first frost of the fall season. Choose one of the proven methods that can turn green tomatoes into delicious red ones.

How to Use Fruit to Ripen Green Tomatoes

Green tomatoes will continue to ripen after they've been pulled from the vine. You can speed up the ripening process by placing green tomatoes with other tomatoes that are in the process of ripening. You can also place them with fruit, such as a yellow banana or apple that hasn't finished ripening.

How to Tell If a Banana Is Still Ripening

It's easy to tell if a banana is still in the process of ripening. You can find green tinges along the tips of the banana.

Supplies for Using a Banana to Ripen Your Tomatoes

Within a few days, of placing your green tomatoes with a ripening banana, your tomatoes will begin to turn red.

  • Brown paper bag big enough for several tomatoes and one banana
  • Green tomatoes
  • 1 yellow banana with slightly green areas


  1. Wash and dry the green tomatoes.
  2. Place the tomatoes in the brown paper bag along with the banana.
  3. Fold the end of the bag loosely closed and store in a warm dark place.
  4. Try to ensure the tomatoes aren't touching each other.

Check on Your Tomatoes and Banana

Be sure to open the paper bag to check that the banana hasn't fully ripened since it will attract fruit flies. If the banana no longer displays any green tinges, especially on the ends, replace it with a fresher banana still sporting a few green signs of ripening left to occur.

Why Bananas Help Green Tomatoes Ripen

The old tale that placing a tomato on your kitchen windowsill in the sunlight will make it ripen isn't true. That's because green tomatoes continue to ripen once harvested.

Natural Ethylene Gas Responsible for Ripening Process

The sun has nothing to do with the ripening. In fact, it's the gas, ethylene, is naturally produced by ripening tomatoes, bananas, apples, and other fruits and vegetables and is responsible for the ripening process, not the sun.

Place Tomatoes and Bananas in Shoe Box

If you have a larger amount of green tomatoes, you can us a cardboard box instead of a paper bag.


  • Shoe box or boot box
  • Green tomatoes
  • Fairly ripe yellow banana with some green areas


  1. You can place the cleaned green tomatoes in the shoe box. If you need a larger box, you can use a boot box.
  2. Set the banana in the center of the box.
  3. Ensure good air circulation by carefully spacing the tomatoes around the banana.
  4. Arrange the tomatoes so they aren't touching each other.
  5. Store the box on a shelf your pantry while your tomatoes slowly ripen.

Tips for Successful Ripening of Green Tomatoes

There are few tips that can help you have greater success in ripening green tomatoes. If you have a large yield of green tomatoes, you can stagger their ripening by storing in a cool place.

  • Avoid storing tomatoes in very humid environments that encourages decay.
  • If stored in a warm place, the green tomatoes might ripen all at once.
  • Try to leave green tomatoes on the vine as long as you can but pick them before the first frost.
  • You can place green tomatoes on your kitchen countertop out of the sun and they will slowly begin to ripen.
  • Staggering the ripening process by placing some green tomatoes in a warmer area and the remainder in a cooler storage area.

Know How to Ripen Green Tomatoes No Longer on the Vine

You have a few choices when it come to ripening green tomatoes. Choose the method you prefer to ensure your tomatoes continue to ripen and turn red.

How to Ripen Green Tomatoes Off the Vine