Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Results of the Green Tomato Ripening Experiment

As you may remember, Hubby Dear and I decided to try two different ways of ripening the green tomatoes we were left with when frosty weather set in last month. We wanted to see which method, if any, could extend our harvest of fresh, ripe tomatoes into the winter months.

October 18: Green and under-ripe tomatoes saved from the frost

The first, most tedious method, involved picking the remaining tomatoes from each plant, dipping the tomatoes into a bleach water solution, allowing them to air dry, and then placing them in a single layer inside a newspaper-lined cardboard box. This took a while to accomplish and then I had to find an out-of-the-way place to stash the cardboard boxes.

At first, the bleach/cardboard method seemed to work just fine, but after a few weeks, the tomatoes started shriveling up as they ripened.

November 19: Something doesn't smell so good...

By mid-November, things had taken a decided turn for the worst and we had to throw away the remaining tomatoes.

October 18: Fresh from the garden

The other procedure we tried involved uprooting an entire plant and placing it upside down in our garage.

November 26: the foliage is brown, but the tomatoes are still ripening

This couldn't be easier. All we have to do is pick the tomatoes as they ripen. I don't think they taste quite as nice as your typical backyard tomato, but they sure beat anything you'll find in a grocery store. Every so often, one of the tomatoes will shrivel, but not to the extent of the other ripening method.

The winner by a landslide is obviously method two. Unless a tomato plant is simply too large and unwieldy to bring inside without mutilating it, this is going to be our go-to procedure.

Homegrown tomatoes during the Christmas season? I'm loving it!


  1. Interesting. :) We find it easiest to pick the green tomatoes and place them in a single layer on a pantry shelf. (No bleach dip.) They don't shrivel, and they slowly ripen.

  2. I recently had this same problem when I had an abundance of green tomatoes. The method I researched and used was to place the green tomatoes in a single layer in a brown paper bag. Loosely fold the top. The tomatoes give off gas as they ripen, and you can speed the process by tossing an apple or banana in the bag. The fruit gives off extra gas which speeds the process. This method is working for me.