I realize the gardening season is pretty much over, at least here in the Northeast, so it might seem weird to be talking about tomatoes still. In the beginning of October I felt it was time to start finishing up with the plants that were not going to be covered up. It has been a warm fall (again) but I knew it wasn’t going to be warm forever and any day we could get warning of a frost and I didn’t want to be scrambling around outside in the dusk trying to pick all my sensitive vegetables.
Even though the tomatoes were not ripe yet I brought them in. Many of the tomatoes did ripen up. We made salsa, sauce, and froze some for future use. For some reason though, this year, many of the tomatoes did not ripen up. I had a lot of tomatoes. It was a very good year. It could have been the heat we had in September. I read that extreme heat can hinder the ripening of tomatoes. They like it between 75 and 80 degrees and the temps were up to 90 during some weeks in September.
I read on a gardening site that you could force ripen tomatoes. I was a bit skeptical. I was quite surprised though because it has worked wonderfully. So far I have only had to throw away 2 tomatoes. I had tons of tomatoes. To only loose 2 is amazing. They don’t ripen at the same time. That is very helpful. Halfway through I made a tomato soup. Enough to freeze! I am about ready to make some more or maybe another tomato sauce. Of course we have been eating them in salad and soups too.
So this is what I did. Wrap each tomato individually in paper. Place them in a box. Add a few apples. Yes, apples. They emit a gas called ethylene and it makes fruit ripen. Cool, right! Anyway after you add the apples close the box and put in a warm, but not hot place. I kept my boxes right in my kitchen.
See the difference already? This was after about four days. I took out the ripe tomatoes and put them on the counter. This minimizes rot.
About a week and a half.
I took this picture just a few days ago. I started out with four boxes and now I am down to one.
And a huge bowl of nice ripe tomatoes is sitting on my counter. I guess that is another way to extend the season!
Now off to make some more soup!