The end of the tomato season is always a sad one for me.
No more fresh tomatoes.
No more fresh tomato juice or salsa and definitely no more bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches.
While I could buy tomatoes nothing taste as good as a fresh, homegrown tomato. But what do I do with all the green tomatoes that are still on the vine? Below are a few suggestions that you may want to follow so that you do not waste these delightful “Love Apples.”
1. Ripen on the plant. A few days prior to using this technique, cut back on watering. This will cause the fruit to speed up ripening. After a few days have passed, pull up the plants and shake off as much of the soil as you can. Turn upside down and tie the root end with string so that the plant can be hung in a cool location. While the plant and fruit is hanging, make sure that the plant does not receive direct sunlight. Check the fruit often and remove any spent or rotten fruit. Keeping these fruits on the plant will slow down the ripening process and in some situations cause more fruit to rot.
2. Ripen in a box. Green tomatoes can be wrapped innewspaper or tissue paper and placed in a single layer in a cardboard box. Place the box in an area that does not receive direct sunlight, check and rotate often. As the tomatoes ripen, place on a brightly lit windowsill to improve flavor.
3. Ripen with apples and bananas. Ethylene gas is a gas that is produced by apples and bananas as they ripen. This gas can also be used to speed up the ripening process of tomatoes. To do this, simply place an apple or banana in a paper bag along with some green tomatoes. Fold down the top of the bag and place on the counter. Check often and before you know it your green tomatoes will be ripe. When using this technique, do not over fill your bag with green tomatoes.
4. Prepare them as is. This is the easiest way and the most flavorful way I know of using green tomatoes. One of the top ways that many people have heard of when it comes to green tomatoes is prepare them as a side dish called fried green tomatoes. The just of this recipe is that the tomatoes are sliced somewhat thin and then rolled in cornmeal and fried.
If you are health conscious there are recipes for ones that are baked. Another common way of eating green tomatoes is by stewing them with a little sugar, butter and bread. But did you know that you could make a pie filling called green tomato mincemeat and a green tomato pie. You can also make green tomato marmalade, pickles and relish. Recipes using green tomatoes abound especially in old time cookbooks. If you are looking for something unique, just talk to the elders in your family. Every family has that special green tomato recipe.
Utilizing one or all of these techniques will help you reap the benefits of your tomato garden all the way to the end of the season. So until we blog again, let me know how you enjoy your green tomatoes.