Monty Don shares cheap banana tip to ‘ripen’ green tomatoes fast

Marcus Wareing shares how to store tomatoes for best flavour

Tomato plants usually fruit throughout the month of August, although this does depend on the variety and when they were sown.

Weather is also a huge factor and with the summer a warm one in terms of consistent temperatures, many tomatoes may have not had time to ripen.

To help, Monty Don and the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) have shared top tips on how gardeners can ripen their fruit now.

Sharing advice in a previous blog post, gardening expert Monty Don wrote: “Tomatoes ripen best when the temperature is between 26C and 30C so this summer was too hot for many of them.

“This is true for those grown under glass and meant that many have stayed green much longer than in a cooler summer.

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

Then, place them in a drawer somewhere in your home along with a banana for a short period of time.

According to Monty, the fruit will help the tomatoes to “ripen and turn red” without the need for sunlight and being outdoors.

The banana will release ethylene, a hormone associated with the ripening of fruit, which will help to speed up the process of ripening.

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Apples also give off the same gas, but bananas tend to work better and are cheaper to use because they will go off in the drawer.

Gardeners should check the drawer regularly and remove the tomatoes as soon as they have ripened.

The RHS said: “At the end of the season, lift outdoor plants with unripe fruit and either lay them on straw under cloches or pick the fruits and place them somewhere warm and dark to ripen.”

Some experts recommend using a paper bag to help speed up the process. Also, take care not to bruise or squash the tomatoes so don’t pile them up too much.

They added: “Tomatoes are best eaten as fresh as possible. But if you have too many, then fully ripe tomatoes can be kept in a fridge for a week or so, to prevent them from going mouldy.

“Try not to keep them refrigerated for long though, as the texture can deteriorate. Bring them back to room temperature before eating, to enjoy the full flavour.

“If the tomatoes aren’t yet fully ripe, leave them unrefrigerated to reach their peak of ripeness. 

“Surplus ripe tomatoes can also be cooked then frozen for use in pasta sauces, soups and stews.”

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