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Harvesting, Ripening and Using Green Tomatoes

Fall has many of us scrambling to protect plants from frost, move tropicals indoors or finish harvesting our vegetables. Be sure you collect a few green tomatoes to ripen indoors.

You can pick any tomatoes that are starting to show color before the killing frost and finish ripening them indoors. The blossom end should be greenish white or starting to color up. Store your green tomatoes in a cool (60 to 65 degrees) location to extend their storage life.

Spread out the tomatoes on heavy paper or wrap them individually in newspaper so the fruit do not touch. Theyll ripen over the next few weeks. You can speed up the process by moving a few tomatoes to a bright warm location a few days before they're needed.

Next season consider growing a few Long Keepers to extend the growing season by several months.

And don't let the rest of the green tomatoes go to waste. Use them for frying, chow chow, green salsa and other tasty treats.

A bit more information: Tired of ending the season with loads of green tomatoes? Try growing short season varieties like Fourth of July that start producing fruit earlier in the season. And pinch off the growing tip of indeterminate tomatoes about a month before the average first fall frost. This allows the plant to put all its energy into ripening the existing fruit versus producing more flowers and fruit.


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