plum tomatoes with green, unripe tops

Green shoulder

Updated: February 20, 2023

Green tops on tomatoes

Large-fruited tomato cultivars, particularly non-hybrids, may ripen conspicuously from the bottom of the fruit up to the stem end. In some cases, the shoulder may be completely green even though the rest of the fruit is ripe. It is best to simply pick the fruit and discard the green portion. Genetics and environmental conditions (high temperatures and exposure to direct sunlight) are probably responsible for this phenomenon.

Potato tubers exposed to sunlight will develop green skin. This discoloration is associated with the concentration of toxic alkaloids and should be cut out prior to eating. Hilling soil around plant stems to fully cover tubers will prevent the problem.

The tops of other root crops exposed to sunlight will exhibit the same tendency to turn green. Simply cut out the green portion.

green potatoes
Potatoes exposed to sunlight