in for a treat. Unlike those hard, uniform tomatoes you get at your
grocery*, your fruit will come in a wide range of shapes,
and its flavors will be so much better. Lets get started!
Ripeness & Storage:
You may love fried green tomatoes (we do), but in
general, the key to great fruit is picking it when its actually
ripe, and not before then. Tomatoes will change color after their
picked, but they wont gain flavor, so its in your best
interest to leave them on the plants**.
So when do you pick? You can pick a tomato at any point after it
begins to show a bit of color break (meaning a bit of its
final color), until its soft and has completed its color change.
The longer you leave it on the plant, the more flavor youll
get. Remember though, tomatoes ripen from the inside, so when the
outside looks ready, and feels soft, pick it, and eat it quick!
You may notice that some tomatoes begin to split on the vine. These
are simply bursting with juiciness and flavor, and theyre
definitely still good to eat. To minimize on this splitting, cut
way back on you watering, and the plants will stop pouring so much
juice into their fruit. As an added bonus, this will also concentrate
the flavor in your fruit.
If you need to pick some fruits before theyre completely ripe,
you certainly can, but PLEASE follow this simple rule:
DO NOT REFRIGERATE!
Cold temperatures ruin tomatoes hurting their flavor and
their texture. Actually, so do warm ones (once theyre picked),
and ideally, you should store fruit between 55º-70ºF. Avoid direct
sunlight, and make sure to store them with their stems up to avoid
If you cant eat all your harvest before its too late,
dont worry, and dont throw them away! You have options:
1. Share them with friends (or enemies youre hoping
to make peace with). Theyll love you for it.
2. Make sauce. Try one of our recipes.
3. Freeze them.
4. Dry them.
5. Can them.
So thats it. Just remember, leave the fruit on the vine until
its as close to ripe as you can, and look for fruit that is
soft and juicy, not firm. And please, please, please, never refrigerate
your tomatoes. Enjoy!
Acid content defines the characteristic "tomato"
flavor. A true tomato possesses a delicate balance of these acids
and the sought-after sugary sweet flavors that taste buds so often
associate with tomato fruit. An overly sweet tomato doesn't have
enough defining acid, and can taste bland. In general, the lighter
a tomato's color, the less acid present in the fruit, and the sweeter
and more mild the overall flavors. Tomatoes like Great White and
White Beauty have this very mild, sweet flavor, without the tartness
some find essential to true tomato taste.
Pink and red varieties like Brandywine Pink and Stupice achieve
the balance of sweet and acid perfectly, and are many people's choice
in all-around flavor. Dark, black tomatoes like Cherokee Purple
and Paul Robeson are champions of the acid. With less sugar to mask
the almost earthly flavors inherent in their fruit, many find these
dark tomatoes' unique flavor as the most sought-after.
Whatever guidelines are established, trust in the tomatoes to break
convention. One palate's acid will invariably be another's sickly
sweet. The best way to know is to eat them. You won't be disappointed.
*Just so you know, we dont hate grocery stores. In fact, they
do a fine job, considering their fruit is picked by robots, shipped
around the country in trucks, and sits on your store shelf for days.
For a tomato to survive this, its got to be tough, and they
**Not to keep talking about stores, but they pick their tomatoes
green, and gas them with ethylene to turn them red.