I was still down in Tennessee moving my mom into boot camp when I heard about the first frost warning up here in Maryland, so I called my husband Ted and told him to go out in the garden and pick everything that was out there. It was already dark and getting colder by the minute, but like a true farmer that has to brave the elements to save the farm, he rescued two bushels of unripened tomatoes. Honestly, if it weren’t for the frost I think we would’ve had tomatoes until Easter! He sent me this picture with the message,”Picked by flashlight.”
Point taken, my dear, but aren’t you glad you didn’t just leave them for Old Man Winter? I mean, we can do something with all of those! When I got home a couple of days ago, they were sitting right there where he left them, waiting for me.
The first thing was to sort them. There were full sized red ones (eat now), full sized green ones (to ripen), small green ones (make something), and wormy ones for the chickens (they like tomatoes and worms!). Next thing was to figure out how to ripen the bigger green ones. I’ve heard of several techniques, and there are countless blogs out there with ideas galore on this. I chose to use the method of layering them in a box with newspaper, mainly because I don’t have the space to hang a gigantic, withering tomato plant in the house so that they can continue to ripen on the vine. I also have too many for the paper bag technique, which is to simply wrap up 8-10 at a time in a brown paper sack and put them in a window sill. So now I have two boxes full, which will take 3-4 weeks to ripen. Next, what to do with the tiny green ones that won’t ever ripen? Of course, everyone says “fried green tomatoes!” which are wonderful and I do love them, but how many of those can you eat? Other options seem to be various relishes, mincemeat, chutney, tomatillo sauce, and even green tomato bread! Now here’s something different from Chickens in the Road, a blog I really enjoy reading. It’s a Green Tomato Apple Crisp. Can’t wait to try this! I promise a report and a picture. Anybody out there have a favorite green tomato recipe? Lemme know!