Did you know that you can finish ripening tomatoes in your garage?Our growing season is short in Montana, but this year I figured out how to give my tomatoes a little bit more time to finish getting ripe.
|It worked! This tomato was every bit as flavorful as it looks!|
I used to be skeptical of this method.Several years ago, I heard that it is possible to finish ripening your green tomatoes by hanging the tomato plants upside down inside, before the first hard frost. I could never quite figure out the logistics though - how to pick up the huge plant and move it inside, what to hang it from, etc.
In past years, I used other ways to ripen my tomatoes instead.
There are a number of ways you can ripen end-of-season tomatoes after the weather becomes too cold for them, and I have tried many of them. For example, here are three different things I have tried.
- One year, when I grew cherry tomatoes in a pot, I brought the entire pot inside, put it by a sunny window, and continued to water it. Tomato plants are not the most appealing house plant - but we were picking cherry tomatoes for our salads all the way into mid-November!
- I covered the tomato plants with thick blankets every frosty night, and let them get sunshine during the day, prolonging the life cycle of the plants outside for as many days as I could.
- I picked all of the tomatoes off the vine. I let the ones that had begun to turn red finish ripening on my windowsill, and wrapped all the green ones in newspaper. I carefully placed the wrapped tomatoes one layer deep in cardboard boxes. I stored the boxes in my cool dark basement, and most of the tomatoes did ripened after a few weeks. The were good enough - but not great.
This year I uprooted and brought the whole plant inside - the easy way!
Nearly two weeks ago, our weather turned and we had frost in the forecast. I really only had one plant still laden with unripe tomatoes, but we had really been looking forward to eating them. On a whim, I gently pulled the entire plant up out of the ground, and wrapped a plastic bag around the still dirt-covered roots. Carefully supporting the stems and tomatoes, I carried the entire thing into our garage, and looked around. What to do with it??
There really wasn't an ideal place to hang the plant upside down, and I didn't have much time to deal with it. I placed the bag of roots in a shallow box, propped that up on another taller container, and let the tomatoes trail downward onto the ground in an out-of-the-way area of our garage. I didn't hang the tomato plant completely upside down - I just balanced it so the roots were higher than the stem. This seemed to work well, and was really easy to do.
I then proceeded to ignore it.
My results, after a little over a week.
Today, I took a look. ALL of the tomatoes ripened perfectly, and we will be enjoying every one. Once I pick them, all I have to do is wrap the rest of the plant up in the garbage bag, and take it to the transfer station where we take our trash, to be recycled.
This was the easiest and best way I have ever dealt with our end-of-season crop of tomatoes. Maybe it will work for you!
|We ate this garage-ripened tomato last night, and it tasted just like it had been ripened by the sun!|
Have you ever tried this?
What tips do you have for growing, ripening, and harvesting home-grown tomatoes?
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