When green is ripe

Green green zebraOne of my tomato varieties this year is Green Zebra, and that’s pretty fabulous. I’ve had Green Zebra tomatoes before, purchased from the farmer’s market, and paid a pretty penny for them.

Apparently I paid such a pretty penny that I only remember that fact, but not what they look like when they’re ripe.

So my question of the day is this: Now that I have lovely Green Zebra fruits on the plant, how do I know when they’re ripe and ready for harvest? Because, of course, my usual red flag that a tomato is ready isn’t going to help me this time around.

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16 Responses to “When green is ripe”


  1. 1 Heather July 2, 2007 at 9:38 am

    Funky. I’ve never seen them, but I found these two references to the fruit turning golden with dark green stripes when it’s ripe:

    http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?category=1&subcategory=54&item=2276

    http://www.localharvest.org/store/item.jsp?id=7179

  2. 2 inadvertentgardener July 2, 2007 at 9:44 am

    Excellent resources, Heather — thanks! These definitely aren’t ready to go yet, but hopefully soon. They have such great flavor!

  3. 3 kate July 2, 2007 at 9:46 am

    I have never heard of these … Please take pictures too when they are ripe!

  4. 4 Sally July 2, 2007 at 12:33 pm

    I’ve grown these the last few years and love them. The seeds came free from Baker Creek and they now hold a permanent place in my tomato lineup. When they are ripe the background color is a deep golden and the stem end yields to slight pressure. Hope you enjoy them!

  5. 5 Matron July 2, 2007 at 2:18 pm

    What an interesting dilemma! I would love to find out. How about sniffing them? most fruit and veg have an aroma when they are properly ripe. Perhaps that will work?

  6. 6 Katiez July 2, 2007 at 2:31 pm

    I planted one of those…sigh… It died with the rest. Let me know how wonderful it is. I have to live tomato life vicariously this summer!

  7. 7 Robin July 2, 2007 at 6:01 pm

    I have grown these and wished that I had the color clues that Sally mentioned. I ended up FEELING them for ripeness. When they gave slightly to pressure, they were ready.

    Bon Appetit! They are WONDERFUL tomatoes.

    –Robin

  8. 8 inadvertentgardener July 2, 2007 at 10:22 pm

    Kate, I’ll definitely post pics and a tasting report when I’ve got them ready to go. Can’t wait!

    Sally, thanks for the tip — they’re so delicious, and I’m looking forward to enjoying them.

    Matron, the sniff test is a great idea!

    Katiez, I feel so badly for you. Feel free to come here for as much tomato love as you need…I may fully turn the blog over to tomatoes in August.

    Robin, I’ll add the pressure to the list. Thank you for the tip!

  9. 9 growthumbs July 3, 2007 at 4:34 am

    I have heard of these. I wonder if they will be striped inside too.

  10. 11 inadvertentgardener July 3, 2007 at 7:43 am

    Growthumbs, I’m trying to remember…I don’t think they will be. I think they’ll just be a solid green color.

  11. 12 rhianna September 8, 2009 at 2:16 am

    Hi
    Ive got loads of green striped toms but its sep and they dont seem to be changing, I also have creme noir toms x some yellow ones but only 1 has turned this year have loads of vines though. Does anyone know if they will turn or have i wasted my time this year please anyones help would be soo helpfull !!!

  12. 13 berto October 26, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    pick them and let them sit in the house, i have a full plant and i have done that with 2 dozen or so and it worked!
    when vine ripened the lighter part does go a little bit more yellow, the ones ripened on the window sill softened a bit but did not turn yellow ish…
    hope this helps

  13. 14 Cindy M. June 29, 2010 at 10:46 am

    I’m feeling a bit stupid… I planted my zebra late, almost 3 weeks ago. It had one tomatoe the size of a large pea. Now it’s the size, well bigger than a golf ball, smaller than a tennis ball. There have never been stripes on it, and it has stayed the same color of green. I’m afraid it’s gpoing to rot, and I won’t even realize it. Is there a time frame, or guide to help me know when to expect them to ripen? Clearly, I have never grown tomatoes!

  14. 15 Rose August 1, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    I’ve grown green zebra a few times and have them again this year. I live in the northeast so we have a fairly short growing season. We don’t plant until the first weekend in June. Your plant should do ok.
    They start out solid green and then as they get bigger they will get stripes. Once they are a golden color with darker green stripes, they’re ripe. They are not a big tomato …very tasty though.
    Good luck!!


  1. 1 Ask and the garden shall answer « The Inadvertent Gardener Trackback on July 5, 2007 at 7:16 pm

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