October is here, which means frost is coming in a few weeks for most of us. So what are you going to do with those dozens of green tomatoes still hanging on the vine? Let them freeze and turn into disgusting mush? No. You’re going to ripen them indoors. Here’s how.
The Old-Fashioned Way
1. Pick the green tomatoes before a frost. Only pick ones without any rot, spots, or holes, because those without a solid, healthy skin will rot.
2. Gently wash each tomato to remove any disease spores or gunk that would cause the tomato to rot. Then pat it completely dry. If you leave it wet, it’ll rot. (Sense a pattern here?)
3. Get yourself a nice, big cardboard box that’s wide, but not so tall. (Costco has lots of free boxes. Find the right size and take it home.) Line the bottom with newspaper to absorb any juice. Place the tomatoes in a single layer on the bottom. Make sure they’re not touching each other. If you’re the anal-retentive type who takes a bath and then showers each morning, wrap each individual tomato in newspaper. (Today’s tomatoes like to keep informed.)
4. Place the box in a cool, dry place. A basement is good. Check the tomatoes every week. Some will ripen faster than others. Some will probably rot — remove those promptly, as any ooze from them that reaches others will cause the others to rot.
5. When the tomatoes ripen, you will ask yourself, “I wonder if these will taste as good as those that ripened on the vine?” No. But you’ll probably think they’re better than store-bought, because you went to all of this trouble.
6. If after 10 days or so, none of your tomatoes shown any sign of ripening, place a yellow banana in the box with them. The ethylene gas it gives off should give them a kick in the pants.
The Lazy Man’s (Grumpy’s) Way
1. Pick, wash, and dry the tomatoes as before. Then lay them on a counter top in a cool, dry place (I prefer granite, because of my superb taste). Make sure they don’t touch. Watch them ripen over the next few weeks. If they don’t, make yourself some fried green tomatoes.
2. For some quick tips on making delicious fried green tomatoes, click here.
Coming Up This Thursday
If you have too many tomatoes to use right now, there’s a good chance you have too many peppers as well. Grumpy will show you an incredibly easy way to store peppers over the winter, so you can enjoy them whenever you want.