why did the tomato turn red

Why Did The Tomato Turn Red?

4 minutes, 52 seconds Read

Tomato is a versatile vegetable. It contains Vitamin C and minerals like potassium, essential for a healthy life. But why did the tomato turn red?

Well, it contains various compounds that contribute to its color and taste. When the tomatoes are in the unripened stage they have chlorophyll pigment.

But when it matures, the chlorophyll degrades, and the lycopene compound starts to dominate and change the color from green to red. It has antioxidant properties that help to improve your heart health.

The ripening process of tomatoes creates curiosity in most gardeners and consumers. So, in this article, we will explore the ripening process of tomatoes and their changing color.

About Tomatoes

Tomato is an amazing fruit. Most people love to grow in their garden because of its amazing color and beauty. Simultaneously, tomatoes have loads of vitamin C, which helps boost your immune levels.

They belong to the nightshade family which includes various fruits and vegetables like potatoes and eggplant. Botanically, tomatoes can come under the classification of fruits.

You will observe that almost all fruits grow from flowers. They have either a single seed or many seeds that assist in the reproduction process of the plant.

Similarly, tomatoes also grow from the yellow flowers grown on the vine. They even have a lot of seeds. So, they are under fruit classification.

But the classification changes when it comes to the cooking World. They come under vegetable classification when it comes to culinary application. People use tomatoes for salads, soups, pizzas, and many more.

Why Did The Tomato Turn Red?

why did the tomato turn red
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The taste and flavor of tomatoes are mindblowing. Hence, most people try to grow tomatoes in their gardens. If you plant them in early spring, they are ready for harvesting by late summer.

You will find that when the tomatoes are in the unripening stage they are green and hard. But when it approaches harvesting, it changes its color from green to red. It becomes quite soft and juicy. But why did the tomato turn red?

This is mainly because certain tomato compounds impart color, flavor, and texture.

You will find a cluster of yellow color flowers on the tomato plant. You will find a pistil (female sexual organ) and stamen (male sexual organ) on each flower. They are pollinated by wind or insects and grow into green tomatoes.

The color is green mainly because of the presence of chlorophyll pigment. The same pigment imparts a green color to the leaves and plays a significant role in photosynthesis.

Tomatoes undergo various physical and chemical changes when the seeds inside the tomatoes start to mature. It starts to gather more carotenoids when it approaches maturity.

 A stage comes when the tomatoes stop producing chlorophyll and synthesize ethylene and other ripening compounds.

Carotenoid compounds mainly impart a red color to tomatoes. The most important and dominating carotenoid compound present in tomatoes is lycopene.

They accumulate on the flesh of matured red tomatoes and have powerful antioxidant properties. The antioxidants can help to protect your cells from harmful molecules. These harmful molecules can cause various chronic diseases.

Lycopene can help to reduce the risk of prostate cancer and protect your heart and liver in human beings.

There are even other compounds like ethylene and auxin responsible for ripening tomatoes. The ethylene helps to accelerate the tomato ripening process by breaking down cell walls and starches. It mainly imparts juiciness and flavor to the ripening tomatoes.

What are the factors that affect tomatoes’ red color?

why did the tomato turn red
Image Source: gettyimages

Tomatoes are highly nutritious fruits. You can eat it in either raw or cooked form. However, there are a lot of effects that can impart red color to tomatoes.

1. Varieties

There are various tomato varieties available all over the globe. If you plant smaller varieties of tomatoes, they turn red faster than large ones. For instance, if you grow cherry tomatoes they will turn red faster than beefsteak tomatoes.

2. Temperature

The process of turning from red to green color tomatoes also depends on temperature. Warmer temperatures will always accelerate the ripening process; hence, the tomatoes can change their color from green to red.

Temperatures within the 50-85 degrees Fahrenheit range will help produce lycopene in tomatoes. But if you stay in a location where the temperature goes above or below this range, the tomatoes grown in your garden will stay green for a maximum number of days.

3. Environmental Factors

The sunlight plays a very vital role in ripening tomatoes. The sunlight will help trigger ripening and produce various compounds in tomatoes.

Tricks That Can Help In Turning Green To Red Colour Tomatoes

1. Prune Them

Tomatoes are pretty popular during summertime. If you wish to get more red tomatoes, try to prune them throughout the growing season.

2. Pinch The Suckers

Suckers are small stems that develop in between the plant branch and leaf joint. Try to remove them as they will not produce tomatoes and will only steal sunlight.

3. Remove Tiny Tomatoes

Tiny tomatoes don’t turn red easily. So it’s remove them from the plant.

Harvesting Of Tomatoes

You need to pick tomatoes at the right time to enjoy their flavor and texture. If you pluck tomatoes too early then it results in underripe tomatoes. They lack both sweetness and color. Again, if you pick too late, then the tomatoes will overripe. There is also a reduction in quality.


Tomato is a juicy fruit that has incredible health benefits. You will observe green-colored tomatoes produced from yellow-colored flowers. The green color is mainly because of the presence of chlorophyll pigment.

But when the fruit approaches maturity the chlorophyll pigment starts to reduce. The lycopene pigment is in large quantities, imparting a red color to tomatoes.

I hope you like this article why did the tomato turn red, and if there are any queries, please post them.

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