Tomatoes All Winter- The Best Way To Ripen

Tomatoes all winterWritten by A. Page

When summer ends and your garden is ready to be ripped up, it’s heartbreaking to throw away the dozens of green tomatoes that didn’t quite make it to the ripening process. Often times, we struggle to find efficient ways to store those green beauties. Most stick them up on the window sill and hope they turn before they rot. Surprisingly, tomatoes need no sunlight to ripen. A good majority of the time, this causes the skins to be harder and makes them more susceptible to rotting.

So, how do you store those gems for ripening?

1. Plan out how long you want your tomatoes to last you. It’s possible to harvest in September and be feeding off the same crop in January. Separate your tomatoes in groups based on your needs.

2. Inspect and wash the tomatoes under running water. You’ll want to get rid of damaged,spotted, and soft tomatoes. Save those for the window sill because the chances they will rot are pretty high and you don’t want them having an effect on your healthy tomatoes. The cool running water will get rid of fungus and lower the cross-contamination rate. Washing one by one isn’t time efficient and often doesn’t get rid of dangerous bacteria.

3. Get a series of flat, wide, and liquid proof containers to store them in. Each container should be big enough to leave about two inches in-between your tomatoes. Put a line of thick absorbent material along the bottom, so in the event that one of your tomatoes does rot, it will not be in contact with the other tomatoes. Make sure the tomatoes are clean and dry before placing them in containers.

4. Pick a few areas in your house that are clean and dry. Humidity causes rot. These areas should have temperature differences but still should rest between 50 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The cooler areas is where your winter tomatoes will ripen, and the warmer areas are for autumn tomatoes.

Periodically check your tomatoes. They will ripen over a period of two weeks to three months. It’s important you check them because if one begins to rot, they all will. Once tomatoes are about half way ripe, take them to the kitchen counter and cover them will a dry towel until they’re finished. Though it takes preparation and diligence, the tomatoes from your garden are much healthier for you than anything you’ll find in the grocery store during the cold months.