Ripening Roma Tomatoes?

I really like these pups… but almost never buy them here as they are never close to being ripe.

Currently, they are a small fraction of the price of vine-ripened tomatoes, so I’d like to know if there is a way to accelerate ripening, or if not, what is the best way to store them while they ripen?

Picked green, gas reddened, firm romas are never going to taste like ripe tomatoes. I classify them as tomato shaped objects. Buy canned.


I’m picky when I purchase any tomato from the grocery store. I try to get the ripest ones, let them sit on the counter on a plate and use them up or put them in the fridge as they approach what I consider acceptable ripeness. I will bring them to room temp before using in a dish. I am counter ripening my home growns right now because we’re due for a frost anyday. Nothing like a home grown.


Just put them somewhere - anywhere - and they will ripen eventually. I find that romas can take a LONG time to ripen and stay useable for much longer than other tomatoes once they are ripe. Be patient. Keeping them in a paper bag can help but I always forget about them if I can’t see them so I prefer to leave them out in the open.


Putting them next to bananas seems to help mine.

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@ScottinPollock I believe a tomato that has progressed at least to the “breaker” or “blush” stage will eventually ripen, but they could also rot. › …PDF
Ethylene in Fruits and Vegetables - UCSD Center for Community Health

Assuming you will use them cooked, you could freeze ripe ones too.

I just noticed this chart says tomatoes are not ethylene sensitive!

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This is super helpful, thanks, but the second link seems to contradict the poster re: ethylene sensitivity.

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Sigh. I hate when that happens! The poster is from a pretty trusted source.

I’ve long believed tomatoes were ethylene sensitive.

Here’s another chart which list them as sensitive, but their source is really old.

This one is interesting!

One more; recent and peer reviewed, but more than you wanted to know.

Differences between ethylene emission characteristics of tomato cultivars in tomato production at plant factory

And another one

Roma’s, which I tend to use almost exclusively for pizza/pasta sauce, always seem to be much more trouble than they’re worth to grow. The last time I did, I ended up making and freezing a bunch of sauce, which was, frankly, more trouble and bother than I wanted to undertake at the time. And tomatoes are the one fruit/veg that might be better and more consistent canned than fresh for at least some applications.

Granted, if you want a fresh caprese salad or cherry tomatoes in your blue cheese salad or slices on your sandwich, if you can get vine ripened, fresh picked, well, yeah, sure. But if they’re going into a big ol’ pot or pan to get cooked down, good canned tomatoes in one form or another are almost always a easier, better choice.

YMMV, of course.

Hmmm…what is blue cheese salad? I think I would like that!

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Quoted from the peer reviewed article:

Ethylene promotes the ripening of tomato fruit, which not only can accelerate the ripening of unripe tomato but also may lead to over-ripeness of tomato fruit.

So it looks like it might be ethylene sensitive? I tend to want to read ten articles before coming to a conclusion in my standard line of work as a researcher, so this makes me slightly more certain about ethylene leading to tomato ripening.

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Ahhh! Me too! So not more than you wanted to know!

I do buy canned (San Marzano), which I mostly use for sauces and chili, but I prefer fresh for recipes where I like them roasted (Mexican salsa/sauces, etc.).

Since my original post these are ripening up just sitting in a bowl on my counter where I keep my onions and garlic. Just diced up the softest one and it was pretty good and will be doing it up in a frittata with caramelized onions, peppers, shrooms, and cheddar.

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In my long history of growing tomatoes, I have found that the standard size paste tomatoes, Roma and San Marzano included, are just not worth it. I have had good results over several years with two variants that produce fruits of much larger size, ranging from 8 oz to almost 2 pounds. They are San Marzano Redorta and Romeo Roma, the latter being larger but less regularly shaped. If you find commercial seeds, save the ones from your crop (the fruits have as few as 10 seeds each) for the next year.

Please share your experience ( and maybe your seeds?) on the veggie garden threads! I’m looking those varieties up!

FWIW, I have grown Dwarf Tomato Project “Sneaky Sauce” paste tomatoes ( among others) in containers for years, and while its super easy to buy paste tomatoes here ( they are grown here commercially), these don’t seem like much trouble at all!

The plants are still holding on; flowers but no fruit,

I buy canned when they are not in season.

No, by standard, I mean the usual size paste tomatoes, not the plant habit. But both SMR and RR are indeterminate and can grow quite long/tall, with continuous bearing. I found that the standard paste tomatoes would tend toward fruit fall and blossom end rot, while SMR and RR stay on the vines tenaciously and grow well if given water, calcium, and magnesium in their fertilizer. (I like one feeding of Osmocote Plus at planting time.) I have not heard of the dwarf paste variety you mention. I do grow most of my tomatoes in real earth, but I also grow a brown dwarf project tomato, Kukaburra Kackle, in containers where the squirrels don’t find them.

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Nice! And those are open pollinated?


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