Get Ready for cold weather. We’ve been waiting all season for our tomatoes to ripen. What do we do when you know that a hard frost is going to hit and you still have lots of green ones on the vine? After ripening green tomatoes inside, I’ve had tomatoes into November and then I’m done. I won’t eat another tomato till the following season-July or August. A long wait but consider me a tomato snob as the store-bought tomatoes are never very good.
Tips on ripening tomatoes inside:
-Become a weather bug-we should check the weather for when the first freeze will arrive which historically comes mid-October here in Santa Fe.
This week Sunday through Monday is forecasted to get pretty cold at night–down to 34°F. This is not freezing (32°) but I will check the weather again on Saturday to see if it changes and if they predict a freeze or not. If it stays above 32°F, I will leave them as quite often we can squeeze out a few more weeks of decent weather for them.
-Pick em before the freeze-Pick all decent size green tomatoes and ripen inside. Leave the little ones. Ripening green tomatoes will never taste as good as sun-ripened tomatoes but they are still much better than store bought tomatoes. If you pick after the freeze, they will be ruined.
-Sort the tomatoes-Sort from rock hard green to almost ripe and put them in grocery paper bags and fold over the top. That way you don’t have to go through each bag every day and pull out the ones that are ripening sooner. Put them 2 layers deep.
-Use a slice of apple-In the bags with the green ones, I will put a slice of apple in the bag to help encourage ripening. An apple releases ethylene gas (the tomatoes produce this as well) which helps the ripening process. That is why you fold over the bag to help trap the gas that both the tomatoes and apple are releasing.
-Check bags every few days-When they start to change color, I pull those out and put them in other bags where they are all similar in the ripening stage.
-Leave them stem side up-they won’t rot as quickly.
-Almost ripe tomatoes-When your tomatoes are almost ripe, to increase flavor, pull them from the bags and place in a warm spot in your house a couple of days before you want to use them.
-Storage-Be sure to store them in a room that is at least 55 degrees. I made the mistake once and they didn’t have much flavor and many didn’t ripen at all. If they won’t ripen or aren’t flavorful they were probably stored in too cool a place or perhaps they were too small to begin with.
-Green tomatoes-Lastly you can always pickle green tomatoes or cook with them!
Better gobble up all the ripe tomatoes that you can! Soon the season will be over and we will be longing for flavorful ripe tomatoes again!