You can ripen tomatoes that are not quite ripe and still get the fruit loaded with flavor.
If you pick the fruit early and you want them to ripen you need to find the sunniest counter in your house to place the tomatoes to complete the ripening process.
Place the tomato stem down to keep them from bruising and to help in the ripening process.
Do not try to ripen tomatoes that have any damage to them such as bruising, rotten spots, or blossom end rot. This fruit will rot before you can ripen them.
Late in the season before frost damages your tomatoes you can pick them green to whiteish green and still have them ripen. The tomatoes produce gas as they ripen called ethylene.
Some people believe that ripening the tomato at the end indoors enhances the flavors of the tomatoes but I prefer to pick them when they are ripe and ready to eat.
If you are picking the tomatoes in late Fall before the first frost to eat over the winter you should place them in a box stem side down and leave air space between. You can lightly cover them with newspaper and check them every few days. Once they begin to ripen place them in a sunny location on your counter to finish ripening.
Ripe bananas and apples placed next to tomatoes can also help to ripen tomatoes by giving off ethylene gas which enhances the ripening process.
When you are cleaning up your garden and removing plants for winter, you will undoubtedly find tomatoes that are still green and not damaged. These can be saved and ripened indoors if they are developed enough to have gone from totally green to an off-white color.
It is now December and we are eating the last of the green tomatoes that we harvested in October before they froze and split from the heavy Fall rains. The flavor was somewhere between store-bought tomatoes and the fresh ones we grew this year, not as good as fresh but definitely better than store-bought.
We saved a variety of tomatoes from the Sungold, and Prairie Fire to the Pineapple and Celebrity tomatoes. I think the best ones were the smaller cherry-size tomatoes for not only flavor but also color.
I think the larger ones we will use to cook with to mix with our frozen tomatoes in soups and on pasta.
Many of the tomatoes I saved ended up rotting either due to a blemish on the tomato or from it being too cold in the greenhouse which caused them to freeze and rot.
I would only save those tomatoes that are close to being ripe showing tinges of yellow and red. They should also be blemish free to prevent them from rotting.