Green zebra is as pleasing to the mouth as it is to the eye. The striking combination of yellow background and green stripes makes it an exotic fruit. It brightens up your dishes and brings a sweet and tangy taste that chefs crave for.
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When growing green zebra tomatoes for the first time, it’s common to ask, “when are zebra tomatoes ripe”. It’s not as straightforward to tell if they’re ripe or not as it is with red tomatoes. With red tomatoes, the classic red color is enough to ascertain the ripeness. However, that’s not the case with green zebra tomatoes. They’ll stay green even after they are fully ripe.
You’ll need to know for sure what can classify as ripe to pick it at just the right time. Continue reading and learn how to identify a ripe zebra tomato.
What Is A Green Zebra Tomato?
Green zebra is a unique bi-colored tomato cultivar with dark green and yellow stripes. The newer varieties have a reddish color in place of yellow when ripe. It is more tangy as compared to regular tomatoes and works great in salads. The variety was developed by Tom Wanger of Everett in Washington. It first appeared in the Tater-Mater Seed Catalog in 1983.
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There are contradicting opinions as to whether the variety is an heirloom or not. Commercial open-pollinated varieties introduced before the 1940s are considered an heirloom. This is why many gardeners don’t classify Green Zebra as an heirloom. However, many classify it under “modern heirloom” or “created heirloom”.
There are different varieties of Zebra Tomato. The most common ones include Green Zebra, Black Zebra, Big Zebra and Red Zebra. They are all indeterminate varieties, which means the vines grow long and will continue producing fruit until frost kills the plant.
How Long Do Green Zebra Tomatoes Take To Mature?
When growing from transplants, it takes about 75 to 80 days for the plants to produce ripe fruit. However, if you’re growing from seed, you’ll naturally have to wait much longer. It typically takes about 100 to 105 days for Green Zebra plants to start giving ripe fruits after planting the seed.
Being an indeterminate variety, the fruits will not come to harvest at the same time. They will continue giving fruit throughout the growing season. With good care and a long growing season, a single plant can produce dozens of zebra tomatoes!
What Does A Ripe Green Zebra Tomato Look Like?
A ripe green zebra is a perfect globular shape, with a smooth, round surface, about 2 inches in diameter. Each fruit can weigh around 3 ounces. A ripe green zebra tomato has a surface covered with yellow and dark green stripes. When a green zebra tomato turns ripe, the light green stripes will turn yellow. The newer varieties have a reddish blush to them where the yellow stripes are supposed to be. The flesh is lime-emerald.
Steps To Identify Ripeness
It’s not easy to tell when a green zebra tomato is ripe. It’s not red, after all! So when are green zebra tomatoes ripe and ready to be picked?
Here are some steps to help identify a ripe green zebra:
- Look for tomatoes that have yellow underlying stripes instead of light green.
- Hold the tomato in your hand to feel it. It should be firm, but will slightly give when you press it a little.
- The yellow stripes will show a slight blush of redness at the stem end of the tomato.
- You can pick it sooner than the ideal time if you want a more tart flavor. If you want the tomatoes sweeter, leave them just a bit longer on the vine. However, leaving them too long on the vines can turn them mealy.
How To Care For Green Zebra Tomatoes?
Green Zebra tomatoes might look exotic, but they’re not much different from the regular red tomatoes in terms of their growing habit. With the right care, they grow quite fast, producing fruit in just 75 days. They require plenty of sunlight and warm temperatures to produce the best fruit.
Ensure consistent watering throughout the growing season, since uneven watering can lead to blossom end rot, while overwatering leads to root rot. Support the vines with trellises or stakes to keep them off the ground and prevent diseases.
Also, just like regular tomatoes, they’ll perform best with regular fertilization. Amend the soil with compost at the time of planting. Then transplant and supplement with regular doses of fertilizer throughout the growing season to keep the plants nourished. However, too much nitrogen can inhibit fruit production.
What To Do With A Ripe Green Zebra Tomato
So once you’ve picked the perfect ripe green zebra tomatoes, what should you do with them? If you’re wondering how to use these green tomatoes, there are plenty of excellent ideas. The exciting blend of tart and sweet makes them perfect for eating right off the vines. They’ll also add a spark to your salads. Ever tried a green tomato salsa? Yes, they work perfectly in salsas, creating a spicy blend with a pop of color.
So now you know how to tell if green zebra tomatoes are ripe. It’s best to pick them at just the right time to enjoy the perfect flavors! They’re easy to grow and equally easy to harvest if you just know how to identify ripeness. Add them to your recipes and enjoy the pop of color and exciting flavors they bring to the table.