How to ripen tomatoes indoors


With temperatures starting to drop and heavy rains on the way it has come time to start pulling some tomatoes to ripen indoors.  Tomatoes need ethylene to ripen, this occurs naturally by the tomatoes plants releasing this during the later stages of growth thus causing the tomatoes to change color.

You can do this indoors with the by simply taking your tomatoes that are just beginning to blush and place them in a convenient container.  Though you might get some ethylene from the stems remaining on the plants I also will add a ripe banana which also naturally releases ethylene which will assist to the ripening process.

I do this in a contraption I like to call my ethylene tomato gas chamber…


Ok, I know it is just plastic shoe box with a banana in it…this provides a portable area I can add my tomatoes as needed and also able to put a lid on it to contain the ethylene while also keeping fruit flies away from the nice ripening banana.

This technique gives the tomatoes adequate humidity not dry enough to create sundried tomatoes, but low enough to prevent the tomatoes from being too moist which would lead to rotting.


After just a couple days your riper tomatoes should be fully red and ready to eat, now these will not taste quite as good as the ones ripening on the vine, but little tastier than the ones you get in your local grocery store and you know exactly what was sprayed (or better yet…what wasn’t sprayed) on the plants.

Update (Day #2)


Update (Day #3)


Update (Day #4) Put in a new banana


Update (Day #7) Already ate a couple of tomatoes


9 Responses to “How to ripen tomatoes indoors”

  1. Irene @ SmilingGardener Says:

    These tips can be handy especially for those who have limited space at home. I for one benefited from this blog. Thanks for sharing!:)

  2. SixBalloons Says:

    CVG, do you pull up all of your plants, or leave a few out there in the hopes of good weather?

    We have rains coming in Vancouver this weekend but I’m holding out hope that I can eat vine-ripened tomatoes till the end of the month…

  3. The Cheap Vegetable Gardener Says:

    SixBalloons, I normally would leave the darker pink tomatoes out to ripen more…but given my problems with garden peststhis year figure my odds are better to protect them indoors.

  4. Mario Says:

    Great tip! Perfect for end-of-season ripening.

  5. SixBalloons Says:

    Thanks for the response. I may wrap some in plastic and keep my fingers crossed, but I do agree I should bring a few in to the house.

  6. Lucy Says:

    Excellent tip. I have been having pest problems when the tomatoes are ripen and was thinking a solution. I think with the help of your tip I will be able to pull them earlier before insects attack them.

    Thanks for sharing.

  7. Late summer harvest Says:

    […] of summer vegetables now into October.  Got another cucumber for summer fall pickles and some tomatoes I have ripening inside which this weekend I used to make some low carb […]

  8. Kris Says:

    I have found this method to work really well. Excellent tip!

  9. Dawn Says:

    I’m goning to try this! I have a Brandywine tomato plant that start fruiting in late August, and I have plenty of those plastic boxes. Thanks!

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