When is the best time to Pick Tomatoes Off The vine?
I’ve found that the best time to pick tomatoes off of the plant is a few hours after the first blush.
This is usually a 12 hours to 24 hours after the tomato goes from green to its initial color change, but well before it is fully ripened.
I find that this is the best time to pick them for optimal flavor and crop retention.
First blush is an option too if you are unavailable to continuously monitor your fruit for changes in color.
Now, you may be wondering why I don’t pick my tomatoes when they are fully ripened. I don’t wait for my tomatoes to ripen on the vine because birds and other creatures often wait for the point just before the fruit fully ripens to begin snacking on our delicious tomatoes. I Pick them early to ensure that we can enjoy the fruits of our labor, so to speak.
I like the peace of mind that I get knowing that our tomatoes are safe and sound while they ripen.
Another good reason to bring tomatoes indoors to ripen is that indoor ripening usually eliminates splitting and other issues that plague vine-ripened tomatoes… This is just another benefit.
…but how about the difference in taste or nutritional value? Well, I’m happy to report that the nutritional value and the taste of vine-ripened tomatoes are on or about the same as tomatoes picked after the first blush.
After testing fully ripened tomatoes that were picked at different stages, I’ve found that tomatoes picked slightly after the first blush tasted the same as vine ripened tomatoes. They also had excellent texture.
I’ve found that tomatoes picked green or at first blush do have a lower quality in taste and texture.
As for the nutritional value of vine ripened tomatoes vs tomatoes ripened off of the vine, research shows that there isn’t much difference there either.
So, to me, the good outweighs the bad when it comes to picking tomatoes near the time of the first blush: more crop retention, same taste and same nutritional value.
In this video, I’ve used yellow pear tomatoes, red husky and black cherry tomatoes in my demonstrations but the same rules apply for other tomato varieties as well.
We’ve decided to only grow cherry tomatoes this year. I’ll share why in another video but we’ve applied this same picking method with full sized tomatoes in past years and have had excellent success.
I hope that you’ve found this video to be helpful. I look forward to sharing more gardening tips with you here on the Colrfall channel. I’ll see you here again soon but until next time, happy growing!