Rainy days and Sundays always get me down when I can not garden!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Pickled or Fried?

What to do with all those green tomatoes at the end of the summer?

We are still a week or two away from the first fall frost (@10/28).  But my tomato plants are kaput.  I salvaged what I could and composted the rest.

There are several methods of ripening green tomatoes.  You can pull the entire plant out of the ground, shake off the excess dirt, tie a string or rope around the base and hang it upside down in the basement, garage or barn.  The tomatoes will ripen "on the vine".  Great if you have the space or do not mind a little dirt.

Since light is not needed to ripen green tomatoes, it is not necessary to place your tomatoes on a windowsill. Place a single layer of tomatoes in a box and cover with several sheets of newspaper.  Place in a cool area, such as a basement.  Check back on a regular basis.  You can also wrap each tomato in a sheet of newspaper and place in a box or bag.  However, I find this method to time consuming.  If your basement or garage is on the cooler side (50-60 F), it may take up to four weeks for the tomatoes to ripen.

To hasten the ripening process, a banana, pear or apple (or a ripe tomato) can be added to the box or bag.  The fruit releases ethylene gas, the "ripening hormone".  (If you use plastic bags, glass jars or other containers, keep an eye out for mold, due to moisture and warmth.)  Also, by placing your tomatoes in a warmer area of your house (65-75 F) you will accelerate ripening by about two weeks.

There are many uses for green tomatoes.  Besides frying or pickling, they can be used in salsa, chutney, and relish.  You can make green tomato bread, green tomato pie, or green tomato jam.  I also know a few individuals who eat raw green tomatoes!

What do you do with your green tomatoes?

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