Winter Tomatoes

Dateline: 25 November 2008



According to the book, Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Storage of Fruits & Vegetables, by Nancy Bubel:


"Mature green tomatoes will ripen in 25 to 28 days at 55 degrees."

Back just before the first cold frost of autumn, Marlene picked several green tomatoes from our garden, brought them in the house, carefully laid them out on a flat surface in a cool, dry room, with a towel over them. That was weeks ago. The fruits have ripened gradually. Some of the tomatoes develop soft spots or small rotten areas. But those infirmities can be cut out. Then again, many of the tomatoes ripen to picture perfection. Either way, such tomatoes are certainly edible, and a welcome treat long after the garden has died.

The above picture was taken yesterday. It is the end of November and we have several inches of snow on the ground. A storm was howling outside. But we had fresh tomatoes from our garden.

The effort to preserve these tomatoes was minimal. This preservation technique is nothing new. Down-to-earth people have done this with their tomatoes for generations. But I think the idea is worth mentioning every so often for those who have never tried it.



12 comments:

Danman said...

Hey Herrick,
I've heard of that book but not read it or looked at it. Good stuff? I've got a Storey Publication book on building your own rootcellar. Someday, someday....

daisyblend said...

Oh NOW you tell me! After I tossed all those green tomatoes when I cleaned up the garden. :) It was painful. I thought, "Surely these are good for SOMEthing."
Thanks... I'll try it next year.

~K~

Matt B said...

Herrick,

Do tomatoes that are ripened in this way not have that flavorless, or "flavor lite" taste that you find in store bought varieties?

Thanks,
Matt

Aimee Kieffer, aka "Momzoo" said...

I ripened a whole box of green tomatoes like that this year. They taste wonderful and I was able to process about 8 quarts of tomatoes. Usually I would have just thrown them in the compost pile.

Jim Janknegt said...

That is great. We had a watermelon volunteer from out compost pile late in the season. It was the fastest growing watermelon I have ever seen. We picked three watermelons right before the first frost we had on November 16. One of them was 31 pounds and they are very sweet and delicious. It is amazing to be eating fresh watermelon right before Thanksgiving. Something to be thankful for along with all the other good produce we got from our garden this year. Thanks be to God!!

Herrick Kimball said...

Danman-
I like the book. It is a great reference and full of very useful information.

Matt-
The tomatoes do not taste as good as a fresh, sun-ripened tomato. But they are far, far better than the bland grocery store tomotoes from who-knows-where.

Anonymous said...

Goodness, don't discard those green tomatoes. I have a nice stash of delicious home made green tomato pickles and others sliced and frozen ready to fry later.

Hollis

Chris said...

My mom's old use for green tomatoes was to make green tomato jam. Someday I need to get her recipe.. I know it involved green tomato and lemon peel, but that's all I can remember anymore.

Half Acre Homestead said...

You can also make a lovely recipe of green tomatoes and onion pickles..its a sweet pickle and very tasty..let me know if you want my recipe!
MrsVolfie@g-mail.com

Terri said...

I remember my grandmother wrapping each of her green tomatoes in a piece of newspaper and setting them in a box on the floor in an unused bedroom that stayed cold. She would periodically check them and pull out the ones that were ripening. I can remember her pulling out "fresh" tomatoes from that box well into December.
I hate winter store bought tomatoes, there is just no taste to them. But sadly in march what choice do we have.
Herrick, wonderful website and information. I've spent many hours on cold snow blowing days curled up with hot herbal tea, my own blends, and your website, planning my next spring projects.
Thank you for all the inspiration you provide!!

dale said...

I cut off some branches with green tomatoes and put them in a 5 gal bucket with water, like flowers in a vase. I put inside at a south facing window. This seemed to work better than just letting them ripen. Also I planted a few tomato plants in planters, so I just moved these inside to my big south facing window too. One is still alive + producing flowers now in May. This season I plan to augment with some gro-lights to extend productivity.

butch fomby said...

ONE THING I'VE LEARNED ABOUT GROWING TOMATOES IS HOW TO GROW HEALTHY PLANTS THAT PRODUCE TILL ABOUT THIRD FROST...IT IS THE SOIL...HERE IS WHAT I CALL THE OKLAHOMA WAY...1. COMPOST 2. ROCK DUST 3. BIOCHAR 4. MYCORRHIZA 5.HULGELKULTUR...GOOGLE THEM AND STUDY THEM...THIS WAY FIGHTS DROUTH, DISEASE, INSECTS, WEEDS, ETC...PLUS MAKES A VERY HEALTHY YOU...HOPE THIS HELPS SOMEONE...ROY