The tomato. People really seem to either love it or hate it. But, if you're someone who adores tomatoes as much as the next person you can now brush up on how to tell if a tomato is ripe. Here, we break down the best ways to tell a good tomato from a rotten one.

What You Should Avoid

a good tomato and a rotten tomato

Tomatoes in the produce aisle are all smushed together into one section so it can be kind of hard to tell which ones are the better ones and which ones have been sitting out for a while. Plus there are so many different kinds out there that you need to be well-versed in what to look for. If you're looking to take home a few of them then you want to avoid any that have mold on them, are wrinkly, have bruises, or have any indentations on them. Regardless of whether or not it came from someone squeezing too hard, that tomato is a no-go now and can be left behind.

What you're looking for are tomatoes are shiny, have a good color, yield to slight pressure, and are tender. Here are the main things to look for in a ripe tomato:

The Feel Of The Tomato

As soon as you have a tomato in your hand you should be able to tell the difference between a ripe one and one that isn't quite there yet. Ripe tomatoes won't have any squishy bits to them, but they won't be hard as a rock either.

If you gently squeeze your tomatoes and they're still relatively hard then you know you have an underripe fruit on you. Be careful with how tight you squeeze them though because they're one of those fruits you need to be careful with, much like mangos and avocados. On the other hand, if you squeeze them and they're mushy then you have one that's past its prime. A perfectly ripe tomato is one that will yield slightly to the gentle pressure you apply to it. It will be firm and won't have any squishy spots.

Something else you should look for is the feel of tomatoes on the vine. If you pluck one off the vine with some difficulty then you know it's probably underripe. Tomatoes should come off the vine with some ease.

tomatoes in a bowl

Sniff The Tomatoes

Tomatoes will give off a distinct scent and if you press one close to your nose you'll be able to smell the sweet aroma that comes off of it. However, just like with pineapples, underripe tomatoes won't give off any scent at all.

Take A Good Look At Them

You'll be able to tell a ripe one from an overripe one just by looking at them, but if you run your hands over the skin then you'll be able to tell even better. The skin of a ripe tomato should be smooth and shiny. Any tomatoes that still seem to have a dull tone to them probably aren't ready for consumption yet.

Pay Attention To Color

Depending on the variety of tomato, you'll be looking for a nice red in color. Usually, the ones that are sold in the store are either red tomatoes or tomatoes on the vine, both of which will share the same deep red color. Though, depending on the types of tomatoes being grown you're looking for dark purple, orange or yellow. If you pick up a tomato and it's still a little green then you know you've got an underripe one on you.

different colors of tomatoes

Those are the best ways to tell a ripe tomato from one that isn't quite ready yet. Make sure you find one with a proper color, a sweet scent, and just the right amount of shine to the skin!

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