Tomato plants fruit from June until the first frosts, thriving in the warm, light conditions of summer. However, the ripening process slows down as the days become shorter, so fruit that develops from September may not ripen before the first frosts arrive.
Tomatoes ripen most quickly in a warm, light environment. The best flavours are said to come from tomatoes ‘ripened on the vine’, meaning they are picked from the plant after they have ripened. Therefore, to ripen late tomatoes it’s best to leave them on the plant for as long as possible, so the fruits will develop the best flavour. Only harvest tomatoes to ripen them indoors after you’ve exhausted all efforts to ripen them on the vine.
How to ripen tomatoes
Keep your tomatoes on the vine for as long as possible, increasing as much light and warmth to the developing fruits as possible. Inside, there are a few tactics to employ to speed up the ripening process – see our list of tomato ripening tips, below.