Got a lot of blackberries? Then check out this recipe for Blackberry Mojito Fruit Leather.

I'm not a huge fan of fruit leathers, but this turned out super good! And, really, you can't go wrong with blackberries, mint and rum.

Friday, November 20, 2009

How to ripen green tomatoes

Every year, I have the same dilemma. Since we generally don't have very hot summers around here, inevitably at the end of the summer growing season I still have a bunch of tomatoes left on the vine, but they are all green with no signs of ripening in their near future.

A few weeks ago, I went outside and clipped the 10 or so tomatoes that I had left and brought them inside. After doing a bit o' research I decided how I was going to not only store them, but also coax them into ripening. Since we don't have any newspaper on hand (since we cancelled the NY Times a while ago), I couldn't individually wrap them and store them in a box, like some people suggested.

One method that looked intriguing to me was to place the tomatoes in a paper bag with an apple and store them that way. Why the apple you ask? Well, the apple puts off ethylene gas, which helps the tomatoes to ripen. Since I had all the appropriate items for that storage and ripening method, I gave it a whirl (this is a little more difficult way to store them if you have a ton of them).

I placed the tomatoes in the bag with an apple for ripening, folded over the top and secured the whole deal with a binder clip. A week or so ago, I went to check the tomatoes and found that two or three of them had molded up - probably because they had some small bruise on them that I didn't notice. The rest were still green. Not green, turning red, but green-white. There was no hope in sight, but I dutifully folded the bag back up after composting the moldy ones and promptly went back to ignoring the whole lot.

Last weekend I decided to take a peek and make sure no other tomatoes were going moldy, and lo and behold! But, what to my wondering eyes did appear, but a big ole juicy, red tomato staring back at me! And, another one with a little red blush working through the skin. I peeked again last night and they are all almost ripe. So, here's to ripe, homegrown tomatoes in mid-November!

What's your favorite method of ripening green tomatoes off the vine?

18 comments:

Heather @ SGF said...

I usually just put them in a paper bag. I've never used an apple and they always ripen right up, but it does take weeks.

Loulou said...

I usually just leave them sitting out in a bowl and they eventually ripen...if I can leave them for that long. I love making fried green tomatoes!

Anonymous said...

Hi Crunchy - read your blog with interest. Here in New Zealand tomatoes are just getting started, but I am looking forward to having them well into the cooler months. I usually put them between layers of newspaper in a cardboard box, after washing them in water with a little bleach and drying well. A friend of mind takes the whole plant out of the ground and hangs it upside down in her garage. I think her garage will be warmer than one in your area would be. The tomatoes ripen well and I think are better than my boxed ones. Loretta

Tree Hugging Mama said...

Clip the plants, tomatoes and all and hang in the basement. The ripening time is the same as with the apple. It takes several weeks, bur I like that they ripen slowly.

Cheap Like Me said...

I don't have room to hang the whole plant, so I put them in shoeboxes with newspaper (or the tissue that came with the shoes) keeping them from touching. We had hard frosts in September here, and during a 6-inch snowstorm last weekend, it was a real pleasure to pull out enough red tomatoes to fill up the kitchen windowsill like summer.

The Raven said...

I love to have mine green! While I really enjoy green tomato pickle, my very favorite thing in the world--even besides okra and Brussels sprouts--is friend green tomatoes. In fact, I pick a lot of my tomatoes green even during the summer...

Cave-Woman said...

I LOVE to make a green tomato tart---or to mix up the last of the green tomatoes with okra and to fry them. Serve with fresh onion and Hoppin' John. Very southern, but oh, so good.

Chile said...

Towards the end of the season, we were getting a lot of green tomatoes from our CSA. Some would ripen in to beautiful red tomatoes while others never did. Luckily, I learned that green tomatoes can be cooked like any other vegetable so I just started adding them in with soups and stews if they didn't develop a rose blush within a few days.

keenbeen said...

I've done the same with the paper bag but I used a banana. The tomatoes weren't terribly green, but it worked fast. I think bananas probably off-gas more than apples, based on how quickly they ripen on their own.

Maeve said...

I put mine in a single layer in a cardboard box and set them in a cool room in the basement that doesn't really get much light. If they don't touch, then one going bad doesn't ruin those next to it. (This is why I don't usually put them in a bowl.)

It does take a while, anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. There is something decadent about eating a ripe garden tomato long after frosts have laid waste to the garden. :)

Amber said...

I just set mine out on a dark shelf, and they ripen on their own. I don't know if paper would help, but I haven't found it necessary.

This year, though, I've really gotten into fried green tomatoes, which is a whole OTHER way to go. I melt mozza on mine and they're heavenly. :)

Mel said...

Have you eaten any yet?? How is the texture? When I have tried to ripen very green tomatoes, they eventually turn red, but they've also been terribly mushy. Interested to see how yours are! Are you planning to eat any raw, or are all destined for sauce,etc.? And where were you in October, when our Chicago weather tanked, and I had prolly 30+ green tomatoes I left to rot on the vines??? (I am a bad, bad gardener)

two vegan boys said...

Thank you so much. We have an arse load of green tomatoes. Hope you have a great weekend.

Oldnovice said...

My tomatoes are just starting to turn red out on the vines after a long, long period of not ripening at all.

I'm in North Texas and we haven't yet had a freeze, so I'm just letting them do their thing until a freeze is forecast for our area at which time I'll toss a row cover over the plants and hope for the best. Our weather is such that we could scrape car windshields one day and wear shorts the next this time of year, so I have hope things can ripen outside without too much interference.

utahlawyer said...

Here in Utah, we usually get our first freeze in late September. We always have a lot of green tomatoes left. (Usually around a bushel). We save the cardboard flats from the bottom of can cases and lay out our green tomatoes on them. Then we place them either in the basement or the garage where it stays cool, but doesn't freeze. The tomatoes gradually ripen. We usually have enough, but not more ripe at one time then we can use. This way, we have been able to have ripe garden tomatoes until Thanksgiving. Last year, we had tomatoes until Christmas. We do get a few that get mushy and moldy. As long as we pick those out to compost, the rest are fine. My parents ripened tomatoes this way and I do the same. It has always worked well for us.

Mimi said...

That's so cool! No imported tomatoes for you!

Mira Dessy said...

LIke many others I love green tomatoes. They are tasty, versatile and just as healthy as the red ones.

La La said...

Hmm.. why not make some green tomato chutney.. really nummy... at least with the bruised ones...

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