In my quest for a perfect shakeshouka (eggs in poultry) I figured out I need less acidity in the dish, and have read that acidity in tomatoes varies widely. I have read that very ripe tomatoes have lower acidity, but how do you know it is ripe? Most are picked before ripening before they are shipped. Does the ripening that follows after shipping matter in acidity?

  • Your title asks about measuring acidity, but from the body it seems like it'd be more useful to just be able to tell how ripe your tomatoes are, and possibly know how to compensate if they're a bit more tart.
    – Cascabel
    Jan 18, 2016 at 23:07
  • @jefromi I feared that asking about ripeness would be mistaken for a question about gardening. Would you suggest a re-edit in spite of that?
    – Bar Akiva
    Jan 19, 2016 at 7:18
  • 1
    Ripeness isn't a gardening question; you have to pick out good fruit and vegetables in the grocery store too. If you do want to know how to tell when to pick tomatoes, that'd be a fine question on gardening.stackexchange.com but asking here about ripeness isn't going to be mistaken for that.
    – Cascabel
    Jan 19, 2016 at 7:20
  • Good point @jefromi! Edited!
    – Bar Akiva
    Jan 19, 2016 at 7:52
  • I think your approach is wrong. You need to pick the right tomato, then you can fine-tune with ripeness. Low acid variants are f.e. Jet Star, Pink Girl or San Marzano. Jan 19, 2016 at 8:58

1 Answer 1


Smell and touch your tomato. The softer it is, the riper. Also, the more it smells like a sun-ripened tomato, the riper. The smell is not only stronger, it is different from the smell of a badly ripened (but still red) tomato, or worse, previously refrigerated tomato. If you don't know how a good tomato smells, you'll have to learn it by smelling tomatoes before cutting them and remembering how they smell compared to their taste. Or go to somebody with a tomato garden in a reasonably sunny location, pick the ripest tomato and smell it before eating. I doubt that anybody in the world has developed the vocabulary to simply describe what you're looking for in the taste, so you have to experience it for yourself.

Don't go by color, that depends more on variety and can also be created with artificial ripening without imparting sweetness.

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