It’s the time of the season to begin harvesting what you’ve worked so hard towards: beautiful, delicious, juicy tomatoes from the garden. I’m like Goldilocks when it comes to a tomato I want one that’s “just right”. In my pursuit of the perfectly ripened tomato, I have learned an important lesson this year: don’t wait too long to pick them. I’ve found that if you pick a tomato just as it is beginning to show color it will ripen to perfection on the kitchen counter.
The sugar content of tomatoes is set well before it starts to show color – so you’re not losing anything there by picking a little early. On the contrary if you leave them on the vine too long, they tend to get too mushy or cracked. This is particularly true when rain is a constant factor. Or even worse eaten by something, like squirrels, birds or worms, before you get the chance. Insects and other critters are more attracted to tomatoes once they fully ripen.
So, when you’re out in the garden scoping out the next tomato to be put in that salad or on that sandwich, don’t be prejudiced against those just starting to show color. Once they sit off the vine a couple of days, you’ll be enjoying tomato bliss.