Last Tomatoes of the Season

It’s been too long since I have posted here; my apologies! I have been busy with other volunteer opportunities and also my family. Look for several posts over the next few days.

Late season bounty being prepared to “go into cold storage”…

Over the past week I pulled all my tomato plants and cleaned up the gardens. My reward for this work was a BUNCH of green tomatoes. We use these to make green tomato mincemeat, but we also store a quantity to eat over the next few weeks. Here’s an excellent article on how to do this bit of “magic.” We had BLTs last year the week of Thanksgiving using this method. Thanks to Ward Upham for this nice article.

Cold nights are increasing in frequency with some areas already experiencing frost. If you have tomatoes, you may have some that are approaching maturity. Leave them on the vine until mature or until a frost is forecast. Tomatoes will ripen off the vine but must have reached a certain phase of maturity called the ‘mature green stage.’ These tomatoes are mature enough to harvest but not yet red. Look for full-sized tomatoes with a white, star-shaped zone at the bottom end of the fruit.

When harvesting fruit before a frost, separate tomatoes into three groups for storage: those that are mostly red, those that are just starting to turn, and those that are still green. Discard tomatoes with defects such as rots or breaks in the skin. Place the tomatoes on cardboard trays or cartons but use layers of newspaper to separate fruit if stacked. Occasionally a tomato may start to rot and leak juice. The newspaper will keep the juice from contacting nearby or underlying fruit. Store groups of tomatoes at as close to 55 degrees as possible until needed.

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