For many in the Northeast, frost is about to get the best of our precious garden. So now is a great time to pick those green tomatoes before it’s too late. You will know the frost has wrapped itself around your tomatoes as they will turn a dark green.
- Pick the healthy green ones off the vine.
- Wash the green tomatoes under cool running water to wash away any dirt, fungus, bacteria, etc. to avoid cross contamination and then pat them dry with a clean towel and let them dry fully.
- Get a wide container (cardboard box works well) with cover and use an absorbent layer on the bottom like paper towels. The container should be liquid proof like cardboard so if any tomatoes rot, the liquid does not infect the other healthy tomatoes.
- Place the tomatoes on one layer and space them out about 2 inches a part.
- Store the now clean, dry green tomatoes in a cool (50-65 F), dry area. An insulated garage, unheated basement or enclosed outside area works well. Temperatures between 50-60 will ripen the tomatoes slower and you may have some to enjoy through January. Temperatures between 60-65 will cause quicker ripening. Do note: high humidity will cause more rot.
- Check your tomatoes at least every few days. Remove those that are about 50% or more red, and let them finish their ripening on your kitchen counter. Any tomatoes with signs of rot should be removed.
- The tomatoes will slowly ripen over 3 weeks to 3 months giving you fresh-from-your-yard winter tomatoes that will still taste better than any store bought tomato.