Thursday, October 21, 2010

An Easy Way to Store Fresh Garden Tomatoes For Christmas

Chapter 6

It's late October here at Cheesecake Farms.  Our night time temperatures are in the 50's which means the end of the vine ripened tomatoes.  It's just to cold.  (Cherry tomatoes keep on going till frost, however.)

Here's a super easy way to save those green tomatoes and magically turn them into red, ripe ones for Thanksgiving - and with a little luck, maybe a have a few for Christmas!

Before a frost turns your green tomatoes into mush, pick them all and brush off the dirt.  Don't wash them.  Check each one for even the tiniest blemish, spot or crack and do something else with those. (Like dusting them with corn meal and frying in bacon fat! Yum!!) One bad tomato will keep the others from ripening.

Wrap the perfect tomatoes individually in a bit of newspaper - covering the entire tomato.  Place wrapped tomatoes side by side in a sturdy card board (never plastic) box.  Depending on their size and weight, you can pile the tomatoes lightly just be careful not to squeeze or crush them.

Cover the box with a sturdy lid to prevent something falling on the tomatoes and crushing them.  A box inverted or flattened and placed on top will work.

Put the box into a cool (not cold) place that's out of the way.  The tomatoes will ripen slowly. The less sun, the longer they will store - up to a maximum of a month or two.  Watch out for fruit files.  That means some of the tomatoes have gotten too ripe or are oozing juice.

Remove tomatoes as you need them.  If necessary, put them into a sunny window to finish ripening.  Tomatoes stored like this don't get as red as vine ripened but they're a million times better than grocery store tomatoes!


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