how do they make tomatoes red when they are not ripe

Just bought some bright red tomatoes at the grocery, since we are out of the fresh ones. These are hard as can be. Obviously they are green. How do they make em red when they are obviously not ripe? The first one we tried had about as much taste as sawdust. Now have the other two sitting in the window sill, but they are still hard as softballs.
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There are several things contributing to the awful taste of your tomatoes.
Grocery stores want tomatoes that are bright red and do not rot quickly. Tomato breeders have perfected those requirements, but unfourtunetly, varieties that are firm and ship well across the country do not often have much flavor.
Grocery store tomatoes are picked at the "breaking" stage, when they are still green but are just starting to turn pinkish-orange. They are often then "gassed" with a product that causes them to color up while remaining very firm. I have seen this process, and it is not an appetizing thing.
My reccomendation is to buy tomatoes from local growers if possible, or use canned diced tomatoes. They are so much better tasting than the "fresh" ones in the produce section.
Beth ----- Original Message -----
Newsgroups: rec.gardens.edible Sent: Tuesday, November 04, 2003 4:57 PM Subject: how do they make tomatoes red when they are not ripe

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On Tue, 4 Nov 2003 18:13:46 -0500, "Beth"

I've pretty much decided to use the canned diced tomatoes all winter, I agree that they're better than the so-called 'fresh' tomatoes in the stores: with the exception of the little grape tomatoes. Those seem to stay pretty nice even in winter. Can't afford them often, though, they're expensive.
Pat
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snipped-for-privacy@my-deja.com (Doctoroe) wrote:

Commercially, many tomatoes are artificially ripened by the external application of ethylene gas. In mature green fruit ripened by this method there is basically no difference between naturally ripened and artificially ripened fruit. However, immature tomatoes ripened by exposure to externally applied ethylene will never develop comparable eating quality. Although they will be red, they will remain relatively hard and almost tasteless.
Ross
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On 4 Nov 2003 13:57:24 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@my-deja.com (Doctoroe) wrote:

I'm not so sure year-'round imported supplies of produce are a good idea. (Personal Rant) I argued my position of locally-grown produce in season with someone who, next day, served "fresh" cherry tomatoes in a Chirstmas (N. Hemisphere) salad that had approximately the taste of cotton balls. I guess she didn't understand my point. A "traditional" Christmas dinner includes late fall and root veg, nuts, apples, sturdy greens, preserves, sweets, etc., not "tossed" salads.
I think that Xmas/tomato conversation may have started with a discussion of agribusiness. Tomatoes, as we know, tend to grow and ripen on a fairly random schedule. Which means a *lot* of labor to harvest at or just slightly before peak. Over and over for the same plants. This is not friendly for large mechanized food operations, so a lot of effort has gone into producing plants that will "deliver" a reasonably reliable crop that can be harvested mechanically at one time. Treating with ethylene gas will turn the green 'uns red, and tomatoes *do* ripen off the vine, 'though not nearly so tastily. Agricultural colleges don't get grants to produce good taste -- funding is for sturdy, packable, *efficient* fruit.
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Although I definitly make it a point to grow my own or buy local grown and am lucky enough to live where there is a local greenhouse who grows tomatoes all season and this year is selling to public after only supplying restaraunts for the past few years. I am wondering why the grocery stores don't just sell green tomatoes we could 'ripen them ourselves at home. They sell green bananas, green advocados, green a lot of other fruits - why not tomatos?
I haven't bought a grocery store tomato for a few yrs now - don't miss them a bit.. When my own fresh supply and then canned supply runs out (damn never seem to produce quite enough to get through the winter) I use canned - at least they taste like tomatoes.
(Doctoroe) wrote:

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Well, my sister takes green tomatoes from my plants at the end of the season and wraps each one in paper. Then she puts them in a box in a dark closet. Once a week she takes them out to check for ripe ones, then replaces the rest. Way too much trouble for me, but it works for her.
Regards, hawk

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This works like a champ for us. We actually put the tomatoes between layers of newspaper. My wife puts a cut apple in the layer at the top and they ripen more quickly. After we eat these, we move the apple to the next layer. last year, we had ripe, good tasting tomatoes until Christmas.
(Doctoroe) wrote:

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On 4 Nov 2003 13:57:24 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@my-deja.com (Doctoroe) wrote:

These are the famous (infamous) hot house tomatoes that we tomatoe lovers avoid like the plague. I think that they are artifically ripened with ethelye (?sp) gas. I do not know of any way to make them edible. Best, Richard
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The last of the hard, red tomatoes is still sitting on the window sill. It's starting to look a bit shopworn. Still hard. When I finally do slice it..it probably will go to the compost pile rather than to any salad or sandwich here. Ugh!
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On 4 Nov 2003 13:57:24 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@my-deja.com (Doctoroe) wrote:

Depends on how close they were to ripening on the vine.
Dan
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