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Don’t Throw Away Your Green Tomatoes

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Well it’s officially fall, and that means lost of tomatoes for canning and preserving. It can also mean lots of unripe green tomatoes left on the vine. If you’ve ever thought what a waste to have all those green tomatoes left at the end of summer. Stop! Don’t throw away your green tomatoes. It’s so easy to slow ripen them with my “no fuss” method.

When I pick my tomatoes for the last time of the season I always wash and sort them into groups. They typically consist of need to be used today, I have a few days, and GREEN. Since I harvest most of my tomatoes out at my husband’s grandparents house I usually pick all of the tomatoes I can each trip and then right before it gets cold I pull all of the green tomatoes.

Ideally I’d like to pick my tomatoes ripe off the vine, but in the area I live we often have short growing seasons and unexpected cold snaps. When the temperatures start to drop at night you can certainly cover your plants to protect them from frost, but if your ready to harvest what’s left on the vine including all of your green tomatoes you can bring the tomatoes in and wait for them to slow ripen. This can be done a number of ways, but I’m going to tell you about my “no fuss” way I deal with my green tomatoes.

I start by harvesting all of my tomatoes. I don’t pay any attention to the shade of green I just wash and sort my tomatoes into the categories I mentioned above. Then I wash them all removing any dirt and discarding any with bug holes or bad spots. The next step is the MOST important. Depending on how many green tomatoes you have you’ll need to fine a place to lay them out to completely dry. In my case I use a large beach towel and my patio table and lay them out to dry.

The next step in my “no fuss” slow ripening of my green tomatoes is placing them in a cardboard box. Yup that’s it. No wrapping them in news paper. No layering them just right and no hanging messy plants somewhere. The only consideration is to not have them too awful deep. You don’t want the weight of the tomatoes to be so much that its squishes the ones on the bottom. I place my cardboard boxes with my green  unripe tomatoes in my garage and wait.


One to two times a week I check them, turn them and pull out any red ripe tomatoes and make sure there aren’t any that are spoiling. Once I have enough ripe I t

urn them into AMAZING salsa, process them into tomato sauce or spaghetti sauce. I’m usually able to enjoy my slow ripened tomatoes into late November and that sure beats sore bought!

If you not the patient kind and just want to pick all of your green tomatoes and use them right away check out a few recipes using green tomatoes that look AMAZING!


Roasted Tomatillo or Green Tomato Salsa From An Oregon Cottage

Fried Green Tomatoes  From A Family Feast

 Spicy Green Tomato Pickles From Little House Living.


-Happy Ripening!



Slow ripen green tomatoes