Tomato plants are a frequent garden crop prized by dwelling growers for the richly colored hot fruit that they produce. The word “vine-ripened” frequently inspires pictures of rich, red tomatoes which are perfectly ripe and bursting with flavor, but this is what it pertains to. Vine-ripened tomatoes vary from other tomatoes in the timing of harvest, which depends largely on color as well as the growth stage.
Regarding Vine-Ripened Tomatoes
Vine-ripened tomatoes are those that are picked at the breaker stage, which occurs when they show the first signs of changing color. Tomatoes are picked at this point to ensure optimum quality from the time the fruit gets to the supermarket or your table. Most consumers prefer a tomato that is at its peak maturity, therefore selecting the tomato after might result in a fruit that is soft or showing signs of rot at the time it reaches its final destination. Tomatoes continue to ripen off the vine, and the qualities necessary to make an excellent tomato are present when the first hint of shade appears at the blossom end, so a tomato picked until it’s fully ripe can have the same flavor as one selected later.
Ripeness phases for tomatoes are defined in accordance with criteria of shade. In stage one, the tomato is totally green, although the shade may vary from light to dark. Throughout the breaker stage, when most vine-ripened tomatoes are harvested, there is a clear distinction in color from green to tan-yellow. Pink and red coloration will not show on more than 10 percent of the fruit surface. The spinning phase of coloration includes tomatoes which have changed from green to tan-yellow, red and pink, or a combination of those colors on 10 percent to 30 percent of this surface. In the pink stage, the tomato is pinkish on 30 percent to 60 percent of this surface. Tomatoes from the light red stage are light to pinkish red over 60 percent to 90 percent of this surface. The sixth and final stage includes red tomatoes, which can be red on more than 90 percent of this surface.
Tomatoes may also be classed depending on the stage of maturity at harvest, which ranges from immature green through to fully ripened. Immature green tomatoes, or M-1’s, have immature white seeds which are easily cut, and they contain no gel from the cavities. These tomatoes don’t typically ripen to a high degree of quality. M-2 strawberries feature seeds have matured to a tan color and there is gel in at least two cavities when you cut the fruit. These tomatoes usually ripen to a moderate quality. Mature-green stage tomatoes, including M-3 and M-4 tomatoes, contain seeds which move aside when you cut the tomato. While all cavities have gel at the M-3 stage, the internal color remains green in this stage, but the tomatoes will ripen to high quality. By the time the tomato attains the M-4 stage, which can be when vine-ripened tomatoes are generally picked, there is some redness in the gel, but the tomato isn’t yet fully ripe.
Tomato quality isn’t just determined by the time of harvest but also by the terms where the fruit is stored and how it’s handled during shipping. High-quality tomatoes which have never been picked too early and were not improperly stored or handled will ripen to a firm, swollen look. They will also demonstrate a uniform and shiny color with no physical harm like shriveling, decay or bruising.