You can ripen and use green tomatoes | Community

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Do you have lots of green tomatoes on your vines? Are you worried that you won’t see them ripen or that you won’t be able to use them before it gets cold?

It is likely that we will soon have a killing freeze in our area, probably within the next few weeks.

It’s also likely that your tomatoes won’t ripen before this frost, usually the first week of November. So how do you harvest them and what can you do with green tomatoes?

There are two methods for picking and ripening your green tomatoes, and both require that you pick your tomatoes before the vines are killed by a hard frost.

The first method is simple, requires a bit of space, and involves pulling out all of your vines.

When a frost is forecast, you should pull out your entire vines by the roots, being careful not to bruise the fruit.

Simply hang the vines in a garage or crawl space where temperatures stay at 50 degrees or higher.

Depending on the temperature, the fruit will ripen over a long period of time.

Cooler temperatures slow ripening, but prevent rot; tomatoes will ripen faster in warmer temperatures, but be sure to check frequently as they can rot if not harvested quickly.

The second way to ripen your green tomatoes is also to harvest them before a killing frost.

After picking your green tomatoes, rinse and pat them dry. If you have any that are pink, you can simply place them on the kitchen counter and let them ripen at room temperature.

Green tomatoes can be individually wrapped in foil or stored unwrapped. Light is not needed to ripen tomatoes.

Temperature is a factor and the fastest ripening occurs between 65 and 70 degrees.

However, those ripened at 60 degrees will be firmer and have less rot, although they will take longer to ripen. High humidity will prevent wilting.

Be sure to check your tomatoes every few days to monitor the ripening progress. remove those that are ripe and those that are starting to decay.

You can store ripened tomatoes in a cool storage area for up to a month; 55 to 60 degrees is optimal and they need good air circulation. Do not store them below 50 degrees or they will spoil.

If you don’t want to wait for your tomatoes to ripen, why not try cooking your green tomatoes?

They can be fried, sautéed or cooked in sauces and stews; you can use them in pickle relish or even make them into bread or cakes.

Here’s a great green tomato bread recipe: Beat 3 eggs until fluffy and add 2 cups sugar, 1 cup vegetable oil, 1 tbsp vanilla, 1 tsp salt, ¼ tsp of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of cloves.

Mix well then stir in 3 cups flour and mix well again. Finally, stir in 2 cups grated unpeeled green tomatoes.

Bake in two greased and floured loaf pans at 325 degrees for one hour. Remove from oven and serve warm with butter or cream cheese.

Here’s another recipe for using up your green tomatoes – everyone’s favorite fried green tomatoes: first mix 1 large lightly beaten egg with 1/2 cup buttermilk and set aside.

Then combine ¼ cup all-purpose flour, ½ cup cornmeal, 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper in a shallow bowl or pan. Cut 3 medium green tomatoes into 1/3 inch slices.

Dip tomato strips in ¼ cup flour, dip in egg mixture, and dip in cornmeal mixture. Pour vegetable oil to a depth of 1/4 to 1/2 inch in a large cast iron skillet; heat to 375 degrees.

Place the tomatoes, in batches, in the hot oil and cook for 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

Drain on paper towel or wire rack.

Sprinkle hot tomatoes with salt. What makes this recipe so good is the cornmeal coating!

If you follow the methods above, you can enjoy your ripe tomatoes on Thanksgiving or try one of the many green tomato recipes available if you want to use your green tomatoes right away.

Whatever you do, be sure to take advantage of the remaining bounty in your summer garden.

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