This year was rough on our tomato crop. The cold and damp conditions made it difficult for them to ripen completely. This appeared to be the case for everyone around us too. When we would go to the farmers market we would hear the same story over and over again, “The tomatoes just weren’t doing so well this year.”
So…what to do now that it’s October and I have a bushel full of unripened green tomatoes? I don’t want to let them go to waste; luckily, there are other options (and I’m not just talking about frying them.)
I want to share a trick my Grandma taught me that can make yer “mater’s” blush, and quite possibly give you tasty tomatoes up till Christmas… (It’s super, duper simple.)
A cool, dry place, like the basement.
A stack of newspapers or brown paper bags.
A large flat surface that will be undisturbed.
So, all you have to do is lay out a few sheets of newspaper, or flattened paper bags and place the tomatoes on top. Make sure they aren’t touching, give them a little bit of space.
After you have all of your tomatoes placed, cover them with a few more sheets of paper or brown paper bags and check them every few days.
When you see a tomato starting to form a little bit of a blush, remove it from the group and bring it upstairs to finish ripening.
If you want to ripen a bunch of them at once, leave the blushing tomatoes there for a while. The ripening tomatoes produce a natural plant hormone called ethylene, which will help push along the ripening process for the other ones. If you want to slow down the process, make sure to remove the tomatoes that show signs of ripening right away.
You’ll want to make sure you keep an eye out for any tomatoes that might form mold and remove them right away if you spot any. If they go unchecked it could spoil the whole batch. (You know the saying, one bad apple spoils the whole bunch…or tomato in this case.)
That’s all there is to it! I’ve been doing this with our tomatoes and it works very well.
In my next post I’ll show you what we’re doing with all our ripe tomatoes. I’ll share our recipe for home-made roasted marinara sauce (It’s soooo good!!!), and how to preserve it using a canner.