This little post about how to ripen green tomatoes is for ANYONE who has a load of green tomatoes at the end of summer. The good news is that you can STILL enjoy them!
All those green tomatoes that didn’t ripen on the vine are still good tomatoes! Keep them and have ripe ones for weeks, if not months!
I’ve been ripening tomatoes in the house for years now. I come from a long line of ripeners, my mom did it, my grandmother did it, I bet her mom did it too! Although she lived in Iowa and I think the growing season is longer than ours is up here.
Lengthening the Season
When you live in an area that has a self-professed frost-free period of 90 days you get creative. You know you have to stretch your season.
A lot of us start plants indoors while there’s snow on the ground. Many of us utilize greenhouses for growing tomatoes, cucumbers, and tender things like basil.
Having a greenhouse or hothouse means you stretch the growing season on both ends. You can plant a little earlier, (or a lot if you heat with wood) and get your plants in their pots early. Or ready for being planted outside when our planting day arrives.
And also you can leave your plants a little longer in the fall because they are protected from light frost.
Eventually, a hard freeze is coming and you’re going to have to pack it in. Unless you’re set up for all winter growing. It’s definitely hard to look at the greenhouse full of green tomatoes, and semi-ripe tomatoes and know it’s time to pull them down.
Bonus for Ripening Green Tomatoes??
But the good news is this: you can ripen about 99% of those green tomatoes in the house! And it’s a fairly simple process.
- green and semi ripe tomatoes from the greenhouse
- flat boxes or trays
- Pick all the remaining tomatoes in the greenhouse
- do not wash
- lay your trays, boxes, or planting flats in a warm dry space that gets partial sun
- the more tomatoes you have the more boxes you may need, plan accordingly
- divide up the tomatoes according to ripeness, here's how I usually sort mine
•All green tomatoes
•Starting to turn pink
- Lay them in the boxes, don't stuff them in or crowd them they can rot that way, you may need a few more boxes or less if you have less to sort out
- Now comes the fun every day you're going to check your boxes for progress, you're going to be moving tomatoes in the boxes or trays, rolling them over so they don't rot instead of ripening
- move any tomatoes to different boxes as they ripen
- you should also plan on eating ripe ones almost daily, in the beginning anyway
- be sure remove any rotting tomatoes right away so they don't spoil the whole box
- as supplies dwindle you can start using smaller trays and boxes or put them together
- in the beginning, it helps to have them sorted so you can keep an eye on development when you only have a few left, it's easier to put them all in one and just check them each day or two
- think about putting all your cherry or grape tomatoes in their own box so they don't get overlooked
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