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Green Tomato Ripening

The end of tomato season is in sight. Tomato plant leaves are looking bedraggled, clouds of white flies erupt whenever the plants get jostled, and ripening has slowed to a crawl. Yet there may still be a good number of green tomatoes hanging on those fading plants.  It can be fun to see how late into the year one can pick tomatoes, if for no other reason than to torment gardeners in less idyllic climates. But as the temperatures dip into the 40s at night ripening becomes painfully slow and that slowness doesn’t result in especially tasty tomatoes. (Although, in December the plastic tomatoes at the store will be worse!) Until the first frost blackens the basil the idea of having one more caprese salad can make the gardener willing to hold her breath to avoid inhaling white flies long enough to grab some red deliciousness.

At some point, however, even the most stalwart gardener will admit defeat, or at least an unwillingness to go out into the 40 degree fog in hopes of a last remnant of summer, bragging rights aside. All is not lost, though, even if there are numerous half ripened tomatoes on the vine at the moment of defeat.

Green tomatoes, set single-layered on a plate with a ripe banana and covered with a dish towel, will ripen. Check every few days and replace the banana if there are any signs of mold.

For the price of a banana or two you can extend the tomato season. Seems like a good deal to me!


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