Four months ago I purchase hydroponic tomatoes from Safeway. Before we consumed all of these tomatoes my own organic crop kicked in, leaving one uneaten tomato. This tomato is still in the fruit bowl still not completely ripe and has a crisp stalk. We live in north east Victoria where temperatures through summer reach 45 degrees. This tomato has withstood extreme heat and no refrigeration. My question to you is why? Or how can a tomato stay in a holding pattern for this length of time?
Yes, I understand your question. What I understand about ripening should explain a few things.
We do know you need to pick tomatoes when ripe, and the ripening process is supposed to occur as the plant produces its last sugar content to attract animals to spread the fruit, and/or to give its offspring something to grow from once it has fallen. To indicate the food is at its tastiest, the plant will give off ethylene gas to finish the ripening colour.
If picked green, most tomatoes go red due to the beginning of the rotting process, which also is related to ethylene gas. Hence fruit going red and soft in the bowl may not indicate it is getting better…. could be its process of dying.
Hydroponic tomatoes will usually not rot in the short term because the lack of soil-borne and soil related bacterias.
The plant has longer shelf life because of this, and most hydroponic tomatoes are sold “vine-ripened” to ensure they are ripe and salable. Long shelf life is natural and really how plants are supposed to work.
Some varieties of tomatoes such as gross lisse have longer shelf life. Combined with other aspects this may play a part.
45 degree temperature might not affect ripening. If inside and 45 degrees, this is not unusual for tomatoes. On a 30 degree day in the sun the tomato reaches as high as 65 degrees internally, which is why they split if cold rain falls on the fruit during/after a hot day. Tomatoes should NEVER be refrigerated as it shortens their life, except that it slows bacteria, which is not applicable in this case.
Finally, the fruit may not be able to ripen on its own. Put a ripe banana (a fruit that has high ethylene gas) and ensure its a supermarket one as they are artificially gased with ethyene, next to the tomato and theoretically it should all ripen faster.
As for Organics, I am glad you tried some Hydroponic produce. I am a strong believer in non-synthetic growing, and we use non-chemical, only mineral based nutrients.
Are you using manures? Research has now shown E-coli and other bacteria from Organic fertilisers such as manures are being transferred into the vegetables. Some countries are considering banning all manure based organic produce after the political fallout following the Mad cow scares in the UK. I am supporting Hydroponics primarily for its lack of contaminants, being 12 minerals, pure, refined from soils and seawater. Thats my advertising, and hope you don’t take it the wrong way.
Hope your interest includes a Hydroponic System one day. Remember, some glyconutrients, phytoestrogens, and other high tech discoveries are nutrients made in the fruits and often break down within hours of picking (such as mannose, a glyconutrient which assists the body in communication and healing) and may not be present in crops grown in traditional methods. Hydroponics is the preferred method to enhance their production, and the need to pick the fruit/vegetable and eat it immediately is extremely important.
Gee I can talk can’t I, sorry I tend to ramble.