Ripening Green Tomatoes

How to Get Unripe Tomatoes to Ripen off the Vine

As you might be able to tell from the title, none of my experimental tomatoes got ripe on the vine. However, I did get a few tomatoes that reached close to full size, and there is a trick to getting them ripe.

Ripening Green Tomatoes

Watch the weather forecast in the fall, and just before the first killing frost arrives, pick all your tomatoes, green.

The frost will kill the plants, and turn any unpicked tomatoes to mush, so getting them just as the weather turns will give you an opportunity not to be missed.

Here's how to ripen green tomatoes:

Place them (unwashed) onto a newspaper lined basket or tray - I use the black plastic nursery trays or flats if I have a lot, or a wicker basket if there are only a few.

It's important to put them on something that has some air flow, so they don't rot.

I don't wash them for exactly this reason. If you have to wash them, use warm water, then let them dry out completely before setting them to ripen.

All that is required for them to ripen is a warm well ventilated area - for this, your root cellar or damp basement usually used for storing potatoes and other root vegetables won't work. Room temperature, and light or dark, doesn't matter.

Keep an eye on them as they ripen, and once they start to show some color, separate them, they will ripen fully in a day or so to be sliced onto your salad, or do as I do; core them and throw them into the freezer.

Then in the middle of winter you can have a taste of summer - if you have enough, rinse them under hot water while still frozen; the skins slip off cleanly.

Use them for making pasta sauce or soup. You can remove most of the water from them by letting them thaw in a colander over a bowl to capture the juice, which can be used for stock.

Make sure to roll them over and check that they're not rotting - cull them immediately if they show soft spots, blackened areas, or white botrytis mold.

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