TomatoesWith the weather forecast looking rather chilly for next, the growing season will be winding down quickly. A number of gardeners still have green tomatoes in the garden. Many tomato fruits may be ripened indoors for eating or canning, or use the green fruit to make green tomato pickles, relish, or salsa. Here are some tips and ideas.
Store tomato fruits at 55 to 70°F in well-ventilated, open cardboard boxes or on newspaper in a warm room, but out of direct sunlight. Check fruit every few days and collect those that have ripened, or eliminate any that may have spoiled. Cover or package in a plastic bag any fruits that begin to shrivel and dry, but are still not ripe. Green tomato fruit will ripen in about 2 weeks at 65 to 70°F; more mature fruit will ripen in a few days to a week.
Process ripened fruit Tomato fruit ripened indoors may be safely canned in recipes found in the Extension publication Tomatoes Tart & Tasty or from the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Tomatoes ripened indoors may not be as flavorful as those ripened out-of-doors, but they may be safely canned in recipes calling for ripe, red tomatoes. [Note: It is an error in Tomatoes Tart & Tasty when it states that ripened indoors should not be canned.]
Or consider processing mature green fruit into flavorful pickled products: Pickled sweet green tomatoes, Spiced green tomatoes, Green tomato relish Add spice to your life! You may safely substitute green tomatoes for tomatillos in an approved salsa recipe (try Green Tomato Salsa!), and you may also safely substitute green tomatoes or tomatillos for ripe tomatoes in any approved salsa recipe.
Indoor-ripened tomatoes may be dried in a dehydrator, although the resulting product will not be as flavorful as vine-ripened tomatoes. Green tomatoes cannot be successfully dried.