Shirley Bovshow - How to Ripen Our End-Of-Summer Tomatoes

Shirley Bovshow shows us how to ripen our end-of-Summer tomatoes before we lose them to frost.

Tomato plants will grow as large as they can in the space you have. But it’s really important to ripen those green tomatoes now before it gets too cold or you will lose them. There are a few ways to save them before the cold weather ruins them and you won’t be able to enjoy them.

First: Trim off all the little yellow flowers. Those flowers will become tomatoes and we don’t want any more tomatoes forming. We want all the energy of the plant to go towards ripening the green tomatoes that are already here. So, trim off all those flowers. You can use your fingers or a pruner.

Second: Prune the top of the plant to prevent it from growing any taller.

Then, cut off those big bottom leaves because they can get moldy and create fungus, so we want those gone.

If conditions are warm enough, these will ripen in about a month, but it’s getting cold in a lot of the country, so we need to get these plants indoors so they can continue to ripen. As long as fruit is on the stem, it’s being nourished. But if it gets too cold will turn to mush. So, carefully pull the plant, roots and all out of the ground and prepare it for hanging. Clean the dirt off the roots then bind them with twine and hang it on a pre-hung shepherd’s hook. It’s ideal for this kind of hanging. We hang it upside down because the stalk wouldn’t have the strength to support the weight with the tomatoes still attached.

It’s the warmth and the hormones that cause the ripening. That’s why we want them on the vine because the hormones are running. Through the stem and into the fruit.

The ideal temperature is between 60 & 75 degrees. Anything 50 degrees and under, and the tomatoes won’t ripen

If you want to ripen the individual green tomato, put it in a brown paper bag with an apple or a banana. Those fruits are exuding ethylene gas as they continue to ripen, and that gas will encourage your green tomato to ripen in about a week. Don’t put a ripe tomato in with them though.

Finally, if you can’t get your green tomatoes to ripen you can always cut them up and make fried green tomatoes. So good!

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