The Difference Between Red Ripe and Orange Ripe Tomatoes

Tomatoes became a popular trend lately due to its high lycopene content. However, the tomatoes on your possession might not have any depending on your buying habit and where you store them. Buying red ripe is the best. Buying mature green to rare ripe and letting it ripe at ambient temperature is okay but storing them in refrigerator vegetable compartment is not. Tomatoes still undergo ripening when stored at cold temperatures, and when they do, lycopene production is halted.

It was one of our class discussion highlights that requires verification. I read more about it soon after.

Tomatoes are rich in lycopene (2.62-629.00 mg/100 g) and beta-carotene (0.23-2.83 mg/100 g). It also has Vitamin C and other essential nutrients.

Storage of grape tomatoes at 5°C resulted in minimal weight loss, no lycopene synthesis, decreased sugar concentrations and retention of Vitamin C concentrations.

The content of pigment substances indicated a change which was associated with the decrease of lycopene content and the increase of beta carotene . During the additional ripening under refrigerated conditions (1°C) the synthesis of beta carotene was faster than the synthesis of lycopene in respect to tomatoes that had been ripened in the open air.

So be it, let the tomatoes ripe on plant before picking to maximize nutrient contents, specially the lycopene. Harvested green to rare ripe tomatoes should be allowed to ripen at ambient temperature for the same purpose, but will have a reduced Vitamin C. Ripening at refrigerated storage allows faster beta-carotene formation, retention of Vitamin C but will have little or no lycopene at all.

Red ripe tomatoes have more lycopene while orange have more beta-carotene. Fruits ripened on plant and at refrigerated temperature have more Vitamin C.


Impact of Storage Conditions on Grape Tomato Quality, by Marita Cantwell, Xunli Nie, and Gyunghoon Hong Mann Laboratory, Dept. Plant Sciences,
University of California, Davis CA 95616 USA

Effects of Cold Storage and Ripening on Antioxidant Components in Tomatoes, by B.P. Brashlyanova, G.T. Pevicharova

Determination of Lycopene and Beta-carotene Content in Tomato Fruits and Related Products: Comparison of FT-Raman, ATR-IR, and NIR spectroscopy, by Baranska M, Schütze W, Schulz H.

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