How Do You Know When Black Tomatoes Are Ripe?

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This guide will provide you with certain tips to easily identify ripe black tomatoes.

Keep reading to know more!

How Do You Know When Black Tomatoes Are Ripe?

Black tomatoes have a unique dark skin color and are famous for their bold color, rich flavor, and superior meaty texture. There are over 50 varieties of black tomatoes with red, brown, black, or purplish tinges.

A typical red tomato will turn green to bright red when ripe. But, for black tomato varieties, it can be a little tricky to tell when they are ripe due to their dark color.

Several ripeness indicators will help you decide if a black tomato is ready for picking or has to be left on the vine longer. First, look for a change in skin coloration to identify ripe tomatoes. You may also inspect the texture and aroma of the fruit to check its ripeness. Finally, personal taste and experiences will help to decide when black tomatoes are ripe.

Now, let me explain different ripeness indicators in detail.

1. Inspect The Varietal Coloration On The Fruit

Black tomatoes go through different ripening stages. They appear green on the vine and turn dark in the sunshine as they ripen.

You may look for distinct colorations on the fruit to tell the ripeness of the tomatoes. Generally, their color changes from a blue-purple tone to a deeper, reddish-purple color when ripe.

Also, the undersides may turn from green to red color. If you picked them early by mistake, you might ripen them off the vine.

Table: Color of Tomato Varieties When They Are Ripe

VarietyColor When Ripe
SiberiaDark shoulders with some green coloration on the top half and red on the bottom
Black Sea ManMahogany color with olive-green shoulders
Japanese Black TrifeleMahogany color with greenish-black patterns
Black EthiopianMahogany, bronze, and red
Black CherryBlackish-red

Check out this video for tips on when to harvest Black Beauty tomatoes:

Many gardeners prefer harvesting tomatoes with some greenish tinge, especially if susceptible to frost.

They are allowed to ripen indoors in a room that retains 70 to 75oF. It helps in saving the tomatoes from cracking and frost damage.

Here is a useful video on the different stages of ripening of tomatoes:

2. Check The Texture

You can not tell a ripe black tomato by its color alone. Once you notice the skin of the black tomato changes color, you may also feel ripeness.

Press the fruit lightly to gauge if it is ripe. Your ripe black tomatoes may be a little tender but heavy. It shouldn’t be very soft but should give slightly to the touch. They become softer as they ripen.

Do not bruise the fruit when pressing then. If the fruit is unripe, it will be pretty hard. Leave them on the vine to ripen for some time.

Also, ripe black tomatoes may quickly come off the vine, whereas unripe tomatoes do not come off the vine with ease.

3. Smell And Taste The Fruit

A ripe tomato will have a lovely fragrance. But, an unripe tomato will not have a distinct smell.

Do not confuse the smell of black tomatoes with the smell of the vines, which is also quite strong.

Finally, you may taste the black tomatoes off the vine if you are not sure of the ripeness. This will give you an idea if they are ripe.

Also, it will prevent letting the tomatoes too long on the vine, causing them to rot and split.


I hope this guide has helped you understand how to identify ripe black tomatoes from unripe ones.

I am interested to know if you have any other ripeness indicators for black tomatoes.

Do share the guide with your friends and family!