Monty Don shares easy 18p ingredient to ripen tomatoes – they will ‘turn red’

This Morning: Clodagh offers tips on how to ripen fruit

It’s possible to ripen green tomatoes indoors as long as they’ve been kept at room temperature. 

Tomatoes start the ripening process on the vine and continue to ripen after they’ve been picked because they produce a gas called ethylene. 

Ethylene gas is produced by many fruits and vegetables (including bananas and avocados) and helps with the ripening process.

In fact, commercial tomato growers commonly pick tomatoes while they’re still underripe because the green tomatoes will continue to ripen during shipping.

When growing and harvesting underripe tomatoes from your own tomato plants at home, look for green fruits with spots of light red on the blossom end and tomatoes that have a slight give to them when squeezed.

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Taking to his September instalment of his gardening blog, Monty Don claims that now is the time when tomatoes ripen.

However, for gardeners who have found this not to be the case for their tomatoes, the expert has shared a way to “ripen” them – and you only need a banana.

Monty explained: “Tomatoes ripen best when the temperature is between 26 and 30 degrees so this summer was too hot for many of them – especially if grown under glass and meant that many stayed green much longer than in a cooler summer. 

“However by September the heat is running out and inevitably we are all left with green tomatoes that are never going to ripen.

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“However if you pick them – either individually or on the bine, then put them in a drawer with a banana and they will ripen and turn red.”

Ripe bananas produce a lot of ethylene gas and will increase the likelihood of quickly getting red tomatoes.

Bananas are a staple fruit in most households. For those looking to purchase this fruit, a single banana retails for 18p at Tesco. 

Another method gardeners can try to ripen their tomatoes off of the vine is to use a breathable container.

Place unripe tomatoes in a plastic bag punctuated with holes, a brown paper bag, or a cardboard box in a warm place away from drafts. 

Then just make sure the tomatoes form a single layer and are not stacked on top of one another.

Check the bag regularly and remove ripened tomatoes as and when you find them to avoid them becoming overripe.

If gardeners want to leave their tomatoes on the vine to ripen, they should remove leaves from the plant to ensure the maximum amount of light possible can reach the fruits.

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