October 15, 2010

How to have Fresh Homegrown Tomatoes on Your Thanksgiving Table

If there's one thing that can get tomato loving home gardeners really scrambling this time of year it's the threat of the first frost.

I wonder if meteorologists know how their announcement of a frost affects us tomato loving gardeners? A frost forecast sends us all out into our gardens with bags and baskets to collect every last luscious tomato on the vine before the frost destroys them. I've poked around in the tomato patch with a flashlight in the middle of the night to salvage tomatoes after hearing of impending frost on the late news. Every tomato gets picked, no matter it's ripeness, or uh, unripeness (is that a word?), even if I end up with a kitchen full of hard green tomatoes.Of course there are some tasty ways to use green tomatoes. Green tomatoes make an exceptionally good cake.

Sometimes I can up a batch of green tomato salsa... one well known Foodie Farmgirl has a really great recipe on her award winning blog. I recommend her recipe (and her blog).

And who can turn down a plate of freshly fried green tomatoes?

But you can also save some of those green tomatoes, let them slowly ripen, and enjoy red tomatoes for weeks to come, even possibly through Thanksgiving...

Gently wrap each green tomato in newspaper. Place them in a single layer in a shallow covered cardboard box (shoe boxes work nicely), and place the box in a cool dry place. Check them about once a week and use them as they slowly turn red.

I can't take credit for this simple and lovely hint! As it is with some of the best advice in the world, it was passed down to me by a nice little elderly lady before she passed on. I think of her fondly every autumn as I enjoy ripe tomatoes long past the first frost.


Julie said...

I always try to have homegrown tomatoes through Thanksgiving...it's a challenge! I've tried ripening green tomatoes in a paper bag, but unless they've started to turn a bit on the vine--I end up with hard green tomatoes. I think I'll try your method and see if I have better luck! Thanks for sharing!

megan @ whatmegansmaking said...

Thanks for the tip! I had no idea this was possible. Too late for this year, but I"ll remember for next year!

homegrown countrygirl said...

Julie & Megan,
Hey gals, thanks for your nice comments!!!