I’m a gardening expert and the best time to pick your tomatoes is not when they’re red | The Sun

IF you’re a fan of homegrown fruit and vegetables, you’ll already be used to checking on your crop.

But now a gardening expert has revealed there’s a specific time to pick your tomatoes – and it’s not when they’ve turned red like people often think.

Green-fingered social media user Nettles and Petals cleared up the common misconception about the food item in a recent video.

Filming himself outside near a tomato plant, he pointed out the different colours that were on show. 

At the bottom of the plant there were lots of green tomatoes, while the top had seen them turn red.

But Nettles and Petals – aka @nettlesandpetals on TikTok – explained that while it was clear they were ripening on the stem, “you don’t need to leave them on the plant for them to do so.”

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Instead, he maintained that as soon as you spot that they have started changing colour, you can take action.

He went on to say: “Once the colour change in a ripening fruit becomes viable, this indicates it is producing ethylene which is the ripening agent.

“It also means that the fruit has passed the breaker stage, meaning the fruit no longer relies on receiving nutrients or sugars from the plant. as it now contains all that it requires to fully ripen on its own.”

So what does that mean? 

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He continued: “This is the stage in which the thin layer of cells that forms in the Abscission Zone between the plant and fruit has developed considerably to all but cut off from the plant, hence the term ‘breaker stage’.

“However, this is a gradual and complex process that begins at the flowering stage and isn’t fully complete until the fruit has finished ripening and falls from the plant, so a sudden excess of water can still pass through into the plant if overwatered.

Explaining more, he added: “Removing the fruit at the breaker stage removes this risk, as well as other common issues such as blossom end rot or pests spoiling the fruit.

There is no real loss in flavour or nutritional benefit from removing the fruit to finish ripening off the plant

“There is no real loss in flavour or nutritional benefit from removing the fruit to finish ripening off the plant, so you are essentially hedging your bets, but you can’t lose!”

And it seems budding gardeners – many of whom are Nettles and Petals 51.2k followers – had had their eyes opened. 

One social media fan typed: “I did not know that – thanks.”

Another person joined the conversation, as they wrote: “Awesome – I have been collecting mine for the last three weeks.”

While others said they were already converts and could confirm it worked just the same.

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One said: “Yes, I’ve done this for a few years now.” Another added: “So fresh.”

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