How To Pick Tomatoes Off A Plant? 4 Steps and Pro Tips!

Are you tired of biting into bland, underripe tomatoes? Do you struggle with knowing when the perfect time to pick your tomatoes is? Look no further! In this guide, we will dive into the importance of fully ripe tomatoes and provide a step-by-step guide on how to pick tomatoes off a plant and after you have identified they are ready to be harvested.

From color and size, to firmness and smell, this guide will equip you with the knowledge to pick and harvest the perfect tomatoes every time, whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a novice.

So, get ready to enjoy the delicious taste of fully ripe tomatoes in all your favorite dishes.


  1. Make sure the tomato is fully ripe
  2. Gently twist the tomato off the vine (you can use shear as well)
  3. Place the fruit in a basket
  4. Don’t store in the fridge for more than 3 days

Preparations to make before picking the tomatoes

First and foremost, it is important to have the right tools for the job. This includes a sturdy ladder or step stool if the tomatoes are growing on a vine, a pair of sharp pruning shears or a serrated knife for cutting the tomatoes off the vine, and a basket or container for collecting the tomatoes.


Before picking the tomatoes, it is important to inspect the plants for any signs of disease or pests. If you notice any discoloration, yellowing or wilting on the leaves, it is best to leave those tomatoes on the vine to prevent the spread of any potential infections.

Check the weather forecast before harvesting your tomatoes. If there is a chance of rain, it’s best to wait until the weather clears up before picking to prevent the tomatoes from getting damaged or moldy.

It’s also a good idea to do some research on the specific variety of tomato you are growing. Different varieties have different optimal ripening times, so it’s important to know when the tomatoes should be picked for the best flavor and texture.

Ensure that the plants are getting enough water. Tomatoes need consistent moisture to thrive and produce the best fruit, so it’s necessary to keep an eye on the soil moisture level and water the plants as needed.

watering can

Make sure that the tomatoes have enough space to grow. Crowded plants can lead to smaller, less flavorful tomatoes, so it’s important to keep an eye on the growth and prune back any branches or leaves that are blocking the sun or taking up too much space.

Before picking the tomatoes, wear gloves and protective clothing, to avoid any contact with tomato leaves as they may cause skin irritation or rash.

If the tomatoes are grown in a greenhouse, it is important to check the temperature and humidity level inside the greenhouse and make sure they are in the optimal range for the growth of tomatoes.

It’s also a good idea to clean the area around the tomato plants before you start harvesting. This will help to reduce the risk of spreading disease and pests.

Finally, Remember that tomatoes should be picked by gently twisting them off the vine, to avoid damaging the vine or the remaining tomatoes on the plant.

How To Pick Tomatoes Off A Plant

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to pick tomatoes:

Step 1.

First, make sure that the tomato is fully ripe. Look for signs of ripeness such as a deep red color, a slightly soft feel, and a sweet aroma.

Step 2.

Once you’ve identified a ripe tomato, use your fingers to gently twist the fruit off of the vine. Alternatively, you can use a shear and leave a little bit of the stem on the tomatoes.


Avoid pulling the tomato off, as this can cause damage to the vine and surrounding fruit.

Step 3.

Place the picked tomato in a container or basket, being careful not to bruise or damage the fruit.

Step 4.

Repeat the process for all of the ripe tomatoes on the vine.


If you’re picking tomatoes in bulk, it’s best to use a pair of scissors to snip the stem of the tomato. This will help preserve the health of the plant and allow it to continue producing fruit.

Additional tips on how to handle tomatoes after harvesting the tomatoes:

  • Handle the tomatoes gently. They are relatively fragile and can be damaged easily.
  • Keep the tomatoes out of direct sunlight, as this can cause them to overheat and spoil quickly.
  • After picking tomatoes, it’s essential to store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
  • Keep an eye on the tomatoes for any signs of spoilage, and use them as soon as possible.


If you plan to store the tomatoes in the fridge, do not store them more than 3 days as they lose the taste and fragrance.

You can also consider freezing some of the tomatoes, for example, cherry tomatoes are perfect for freezing.

By following these steps, you can ensure that you’re picking fully ripe tomatoes and preserving the health of the vine.

How often should you harvest tomatoes?

Harvesting tomatoes is an ongoing process that should occur regularly in order to ensure that the fruit is ripe and at its peak of flavor and nutrition. The frequency of harvesting will depend on a few factors, including the variety of tomato plant, the growing conditions, and the size and maturity of the fruit.

First, consider the variety of the tomato plant. Some varieties, such as cherry tomatoes, have a shorter maturity period and will need to be harvested more frequently. Others, such as heirloom varieties, may take longer to mature and will require less frequent harvesting.

cherry tomato plant

Next, consider the growing conditions. If the weather is hot and sunny, tomatoes will ripen more quickly and may need to be harvested more frequently.

On the other hand, if the weather is cooler and overcast, tomatoes may take longer to ripen and may require less frequent harvesting.


The size and maturity of the fruit is also an important factor in determining how often to harvest tomatoes. As tomatoes begin to ripen, they will start to change color from green to a lighter green, yellow or pink.

Once the tomatoes have reached a red color, they are ready to be picked. However, it’s best to wait for them to be fully ripe for best taste and nutrition.

In general, it’s a good idea to check your tomato plants every few days and harvest any ripe fruit as needed. This will ensure that you are always enjoying the freshest and most flavorful tomatoes possible.

Additionally, it’s also important to note that over-ripe tomatoes should also be picked as they can attract pests and diseases and can also fall off the vine, which can damage the plant.

Bottom Line

Picking and harvesting tomatoes can be a bit of a tricky task, but by following the tips and techniques outlined in this article, you can ensure that you’re picking your tomatoes at the perfect time for maximum flavor and quality.

Remember, timing is everything when it comes to picking tomatoes, so pay attention to the color, size, firmness, smell, separation and season of the fruit. And lastly, don’t hesitate to experiment with different methods to find what works best for you and your tomatoes. Happy harvesting!