Here we are at the tail end of the garden season and our
gardens have plenty of green tomatoes just waiting for a few more warm days to
ripen. Is Mother Nature going to cooperate? She might help out a little but I
think we'll all be carting in loads of green tomatoes to be ripened indoors.
In case you haven't done this before, I thought I'd go
through the process. It's really quite easy and works great.
The tomatoes should be dry and undamaged for the best
results. If you have a basement, that works the best, but some type of darkened
area where the temperature hovers around 50 degrees is suitable as well.
Lay down a few sheets of newspaper where you'll be storing
them until they ripen. Place the green tomatoes on top of the paper, leaving a
couple of inches in between each one. It's risky to let them touch because
there's a higher chance they could rot.
Cover the tomatoes with another sheet of newspaper or two to
keep them in the dark. Check on them every few days and "harvest" as they ripen. You will be amazed at how well this works and it's a sneaky way to
extend the season!
Some folks like to rip up the entire tomato plant and hang
them upside down from a hook in an unfinished
basement or inside an outbuilding. This also works well but you have to be
careful: as the tomatoes ripen, some will decide to drop off the plant and,
well, I'm sure you can imagine what happens when a ripe, soft tomato hits a
hard floor! Eek. So if you decide to go this route, I'd recommend placing a
tarp on the floor below the hanging plant, just in case.
And don't forget that you can make fried green tomatoes
which are darned tasty. There are a ton of recipes on the web. I should also
mention that some folks enjoy making a "fake" apple pie with some of their
green tomatoes. I know that sounds weird but a co-worker of my husband's once
brought us a freshly-baked green tomato pie and I have to admit it was
absolutely delicious! I was a little nervous as I took my first bite or two but
then totally embraced the flavors and it was great. Who woulda thought...