How to Ripen Green Tomatoes Indoors


Do you still have tomatoes that are struggling to redden? Read on for an easy method to ripen green tomatoes indoors with almost no effort!We’ve had a summer growing season as strange and unpredictable as 2020 itself. Despite a warm, sunny spring, the summer got off to an unseasonably cool, wet start in June and July. This meant that some of our heat-loving crops like tomatoes and peppers got off to a slow start too.

Normally we start our tomato seeds in late February or early March, and by July we’re starting to pull in tomatoes form our garden. Last year we were practically swimming in ripe, red tomatoes by the beginning of August. Every single red tomato we enjoyed was vine-ripened and full of the most amazing flavour.

 

We were drowning in ripe tomatoes… last year

By the end of the season last year, we had a bunch of green tomatoes left over too. We made green tomato relish and chutney, we ate fried green tomatoes. I made a fermented green tomato and hot pepper hot sauce that was out of this world.

And still, the tomatoes just kept coming. There were more tomatoes than we knew what to do with! In fact, we were so sick of tomatoes that by the end of the season I started giving baskets of green tomatoes away.

But even after all of that tomato-production and all of the jars of tomato preserves we enjoyed all year, by the time summer rolled around again this year we were completely out of every tomato-based product we’d put up last year.

Obviously we eat a lot of tomatoes throughout the year, so it makes sense for us to grow as many as we possibly can. That being said, we increased our crop from 30 plants to about 40 plants this year AND started our seeds a few weeks early this year.

Naturally, we expected to be drowning in ripe tomatoes once again by midsummer, but when August rolled around again this year, there was nary a ripe tomato to be found.

Related: 6 Hacks for Growing a Bumper Crop of Tomatoes

 

When tomatoes don’t ripen…

Now, don’t get me wrong, there were lots of tomatoes on our plants. But they were all green! The lack of heat and direct sun meant they were ripening at the speed of molasses.

By the end of August, I was seriously starting to panic, wondering if we’d be able to put up enough jars of tomato sauce to get us through this year or if we’d have to rely on grocery store tomato sauce instead. (This is the stuff of nightmares for me).

I held out hope that we’d get a hot spell in September and that the pounds and pounds of green tomatoes in our garden would get a chance to ripen after all. Finally, in the first week of September, the weather forecast read full sun and hot temps. We were certain this would be the lucky break our tomatoes needed.

For two or three days, the sun shone and everything went crazy in the garden. Clusters of tomatoes all began ripening at once, pumpkins started growing and the cucumbers and zucchinis went nuts. Even our little watermelon plant started givin’er!

 

A disappointing end to summer

But as soon as the sun came out, the smoke rolled in from the west coast wildfires and that was that. We were back to grey skies and lukewarm temps. Boo!

That pretty much sealed the fate of our tomato plants. The smoke stuck around for a solid 10 days or so, and now that it’s finally cleared out, the rain clouds have moved in and fall is well and truly here. The tomatoes are still hanging on and some are ripening slowly, but we’ve come to terms with the fact that we are going to be harvesting mostly green tomatoes this year.

We’ll be making lots more of the green tomato relish (my fave!) and chutney (my husband’s fave:), and I’ll definitely be fermenting them along with our jalapeños and enjoying them breaded and fried and dipped in ranch dressing. I’m good with all of that. But I’m NOT good with having little to no tomato sauce or salsa on our  pantry shelves this winter.

Luckily, there is a trick we’ve been using to get our green tomatoes to ripen as we pull them indoors. It’s an old trick that I remember my great grandma used to use when harvesting her green or underripe tomatoes. (Maybe yours did too?) It’s really quite simple, and we’ve been having great success with it so far this year, so I knew I had to share it with you.

Okay, are you ready?

Here’s what you do…

Do you still have tomatoes that are struggling to redden? Read on for an easy method to ripen green tomatoes indoors with almost no effort!

How to ripen green tomatoes indoors

Step 1: Harvest your green tomatoes and bring them inside.

Step 2: Place them in a single layer in a crate, basket or cardboard box with good airflow all around. Put a layer of newspaper or brown bag/kraft paper in between additional layers if you have lots of tomatoes. Then, place the tomatoes somewhere out of direct sunlight (I’ve heard lots of people put them under their bed).

Step 3: Do nothing. Seriously, it’s that simple. The tomatoes will ripen all on their own.

Step 4: Check them every two or three days and remove tomatoes as they ripen to eat or process for preserving. (I just toss mine in the freezer until I have enough to make a batch of sauce).

Step 5: Repeat until all of your green tomatoes have ripened!

 

How fast do green tomatoes ripen indoors?

How fast your green  tomatoes will ripen indoors depends on a couple things, including how ripe they were when you picked them (tomatoes that were yellow or starting to turn red will ripen quicker), as well as how warm it is in the room where you’re storing them (keep them away from direct sources of heat like heaters or wood stoves). But they will all ripen in time.

Now, in my opinion, the flavour still isn’t quite the same as a vine-ripened tomato. Nothing beats that. But tomatoes ripened indoors still make a damn good sauce, which is what my most recent batch of “box-ripened” tomatoes is about to become.

Do you still have tomatoes that are struggling to redden? Read on for an easy method to ripen green tomatoes indoors with almost no effort!

These tomatoes were all yellowish green when I first put them in this crate. Some were just starting to turn red. Just 4 days later and they’re almost all fully ripened!

 

When to pull tomatoes (and when NOT to leave them on the vine)

I’m looking at the forecast now and wouldn’t ya know, it says we’re expecting full sun next week. But the temperature is starting to drop and, being that it’s 2020, I’m not taking any chances. (Tomatoes can withstand temperatures down to 10ºC / 50ºF, but if temperatures are expected to drop below that then you should probably pull them, even if they’re green).

My plan is to leave the really green tomatoes on the vine for as long as I can and hope that the sun helps to at least get them started next week, but any tomatoes that have any colour on them now are coming inside.

Once I’m fully satisfied that we’ve got enough red, ripe tomatoes to give us a year’s worth of tomato sauce, then and only then will I surrender and submit to eating them green. Because, let’s face it, as delicious as green tomatoes can be, nobody grows tomatoes with the intention of harvesting them green.

Tomatoes are meant to ripen! They’re meant to become beautiful jars of rich, red tomato sauce. It’s their destiny, and damnit, it’s my responsibility as the gardener to help them fulfill it… one way or another;)

What do YOU do with green tomatoes? Do you have any tricks for getting them to ripen, either on or off the vine? What’s your favourite recipe or way to enjoy green tomatoes? Let me know in the comments below!

Wishing you homemade, homegrown, homestead happiness:)

 

 

 

 


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6 Comments

  1. Lynda

    If you have room ..I have pulled up the plants tomatoes and all then hung them upside down in my protected shed.. they ripen one by one and I harvest each in its turn. Old ways from growing up with a rootcellar.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Ya I’ve heard of this method too, but I’ve heard it’s not really any quicker than ripening them in a box.

      Reply
  2. Rachel C.

    I picked all of mine Tuesday night and boxed them Wednesday morning. It’s been pouring and windy the past two days and we don’t have sun in the forecast until Monday. My trick is to add a few green bananas tucked into the layers to help speed the process.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Oh I feel like I’ve heard that before… About the green bananas. There must be an enzyme in them or something. I’ll have to experiment with that!

      Reply
      • chris

        I put an apple in the box with mine, but check them EVERY day!

        Reply
        • Anna Sakawsky

          Interesting. Mine seem to be ripening on their own so, so far so good!

          Reply

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ABOUT ANNA
Hi! I’m Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader who’s passionate about growing, cooking and preserving real food at home, creating my own herbal medicine and all-natural home and body care products, and working toward a simpler, more sustainable and self-sufficient life each and every day. 
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In fact, I’m all about everything fall: the colours, the coziness, the sweater weather, and yes, pumpkins and pumpkin spice. There’s just something comforting and nostalgic about it; Like grandma’s kitchen or the warm scent of pumpkin pie that wafts from the table at holiday dinners with family and friends.

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As much as I'm honestly kinda over the garden by this time of year and ready to tuck in indoors and rest for a while, I know that the effort I put into my garden in the fall will pay a huge return come next spring and summer when we're ready to plant and then harvest our next round of crops.

For one, fall is the best time to amend and enrich your soil, so adding compost or manure or some sort of organic matter is pretty crucial this time of year.

Also, you should always cover your soil, especially over the winter months when soil is more likely to erode and nutrients can get washed away. A cover crop or a thick layer of mulch is a good idea to help keep your soil protected and intact.

And of course, garlic should be planted in the fall before your first frost to ensure huge bulbs next summer. Us homesteaders always have to be thinking ahead a few seasons!

I'm taking you into our garden as we're tearing it down and planting out our garlic. I'll show you our fall gardening routine and I'll walk you through planting garlic so you can start growing it at home too! (It's honesty the easiest, most rewarding crop that we grow).

It's time for the grand finale in the garden this year as we tear it down and prep it for next spring. Will you join me for one last hurrah?

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I make at least a batch or two (or three) of these scented soy wax candles every year around this time. I burn a bunch of them myself over the winter and we gift them for Christmas. I’ve even sold them for upwards of $15 a piece!

If you want an easy and rewarding DIY project to get into as we head into fall and winter, homemade candles is your answer.

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Sometimes I question why I do what I do. Why do I take on so much? Why do I bother making everything from scratch and growing a garden and preserving food when I could just as well buy it from the store and save myself a ton of time and effort?⁣⁣⁣
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Why am I working hard to build a business out of my passion when I could just as easily go to work for a pay check and just enjoy homesteading as a hobby on the side?⁣⁣⁣
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Why do I choose to do everything the hard way and see against the grain? Why not just go with the flow and hope for the best?⁣⁣⁣
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I can’t say for sure that I would have chosen to follow all the same paths that I’ve gone down over the past few years had I not become a mother, but what I 𝘥𝘰 know for sure is that my beautiful daughter is worth every ounce of hard work; every dollar I’ve invested in our future goals and dreams; every late night work fest and canning session; every seed planted and loaf of bread baked.⁣

She’s worth it because I want to give her the best I can in life. I want her to eat good food and live a long and healthy life. I want to teach her how to be self-sufficient so that she has the skills she needs no matter what kind of world awaits her in the future. And I want to show her that anything is possible and any dream is worth pursuing, even if the work that it takes to achieve it is harder than following the herd and taking the road of least resistance.⁣⁣⁣
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This little human right here: this is my why. This girl and her goofy smile make everything worthwhile ❤️⁣⁣⁣
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What (or who?) is your why?
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This growing season has seriously been the strangest I’ve experienced so far. Summer came so late we thought it wasn’t gonna come at all. Our greens and peas and spring crops produced for weeks longer then they normally do as we waited FOREVER for our tomatoes and peppers and summer crops to grow and ripen.

Now that we’re into October, we’re having a warm spell and the garden is acting like it’s summer! The tomatoes are all just starting to turn red, the cucumbers and zucchini are still givin’er, the pumpkins and squash are having another growth spurt, and now the green beans are starting on round two after about a month of dormancy!

We’re supposed to be going fishing tomorrow, and I’m wondering if the salmon are a little late this year too...

If there’s one thing 2020 has taught us all it’s that nothing is ever certain. So even though I’m sort of ready to be done with the garden already, I’m reminded of how fortunate we are to have such abundance come from our property and our surrounding environment; To have so much when so many have so little; To live in such a beautiful, bountiful corner of the world surrounded by a kind-hearted community that values sustainability and self-sufficiency like we do.

I love making plans for the future, and we wouldn’t be where we are today without some pretty serious planning. But sometimes you’ve just gotta go with the flow and trust that even when things don’t work out exactly as you’d imagined, they work out exactly as they should.

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What are you feeling grateful for this year? It’s Thanksgiving next weekend here in Canada, so we’ll be talking a lot about gratefulness this week in our house 🙏
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Can you imagine how bland and boring our food (and life) would be without spices??⁣

Seriously! We take them for granted nowadays because they’re so readily available in our pantries and on grocery store shelves. But for thousands of years throughout history, spices were coveted, revered and hard to get. For around 1,500 years, spices travelled overland on camelback and horseback on the Silk Road from China to the west. And then, just over 500 years ago, explorers set out into the unknown to find a maritime trading route, and one of those explorers just so happened to stumble on the Americas along the way, essentially shaping history and the modern world as we know it. ⁣

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I LOVE to geek out on this sort of stuff, so doing the research for the latest issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine was actually so much fun. (If you hadn’t guessed, this issue is all about spices!!)⁣

I’d love to tell you so much more right here, but I’m a bit limited on space! However, you can read more about the fascinating story of spices, their culinary and medicinal uses, how to put them to use in your kitchen and yes, even how to grow them at home in the October issue.⁣

So if you’re already subscribed, be sure to check your inbox for the latest issue (it came out yesterday). And if you’re NOT yet subscribed, then head on over and click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead to subscribe for FREE, and get the latest issue delivered straight to your inbox!⁣

Wishing you a rich, flavourful fall season full of spice, pumpkin and otherwise;)
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The weather this summer has been as unpredictable as 2020 itself. The cool, grey, wet start to the summer meant that our sun-loving crops got a slow start in the garden, and that’s led to an unprecedented number of green tomatoes at the end of the season.

You’ve probably heard me complaining about our green tomato “problem” all summer. We do, after all, have great fruit set and TONS of tomatoes on our plants. They’re just almost all green!!!

While I do love me some green tomatoes (green tomato relish is my FAVE and fermented green tomatoes and hot peppers are out of this world), I refuse to give up on luscious, red, homemade tomato sauce and salsa just yet. I refuse to accept that they’re all just green and that’s just the way it is! So I’m taking matters into my own hands and ripening them myself.

Luckily the process of ripening green tomatoes indoors is ridiculously easy, so if you’ve got more green tomatoes than you know what to do with too, or you’re just keen to get another batch of sauce on your pantry shelves, I’m sharing this simple trick with you today for ripening green tomatoes that has stood the test of time (for real... my great grandmother used to do this).

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/how-to-ripen-green-tomatoes-indoors/ to learn this simple hack!
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September is such an odd time of year. It’s the time of year when we tend to find ourselves with a foot in two worlds: A transition season, if you will.⁣

In the garden, some plants are dead or dying. There’s brown, crispy stems, dried pea pods bursting with next year’s seeds and a natural layer of mulch in the form of fallen leaves. But at the same time there’s still so much life. So much greenery and colour. So much of summer still left.⁣

Indoors we’re busy putting up the harvest, stocking our shelves with jars of colourful food, baskets of cured onions and garlic, dried herbs hanging everywhere and crocks of fermenting foods on every countertop. But while we’re still dealing with the summer bounty, fall has begun, which means we’re back to schedules and routines and, for those of us with kids, school.⁣

But this year our return to our “normal” fall routines is anything but. For many families, there is no return to school. Not in the traditional sense anyway. Instead, more families than ever before have found themselves educating their children at home for the first time, whether by force or by choice. And trying to balance all of the usual September tasks with navigating full-time homeschooling can feel daunting, to say the least.⁣

I know we can all use as much help and expert advice as we can get at this time, so I’m honoured to have Ginny Aaron, a full-time homeschooling, homesteading mom of three sharing her wisdom on the blog this week. She’s generously shared her best tips for incorporating homeschooling with your existing routine and finding the teachable moments in the every day so that you don’t need to uproot your life or find another 7 hours in your day to recreate a classroom environment at home.⁣

I just love Ginny’s approach to homeschooling and if you’re anything like me, I think you will too. You can check out her full post by clicking the link in my bio or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/homeschooling-on-the-homestead/

It’s also Ginny's first time guest posting so be sure to leave a comment while you’re there and let us know what school looks like for your family this year.⁣

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead
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I’ve been feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders lately. Between balancing work and the garden and all of the canning and preserving tasks this time of year, I’ve already got enough on my plate. Add a string of social commitments, back-to-school and extracurricular activities, and I’m definitely feeling the pressure, as I usually do this time of year.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
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But lump on a pandemic, worsening political tensions, division and civil unrest, intensifying environmental disasters (we’re currently socked in with smoke from the California wildfires), and it all just becomes too much to bear some days.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
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I know I’m far from the only one who’s feeling this way. And yet, we all have to just keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep going even when we’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed and burnt out. Even when the present is frightening and the future is uncertain.⁣

I’ve developed some strategies over the past few years that have helped me keep moving forward and get things done even when I’m feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, and I want to share them with others who need help coping with stress and overwhelm right now too.⁣⁣
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You can check out my list of 10 tips for managing stress and overwhelm on the homestead (and in life!) by clicking the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead and then clicking the link to the full blog post at the top.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
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You can also grab my free time management planner by clicking the link in my bio and then clicking on “Free Resource Library,” (find it under “Homesteading & Self-Sufficiency Resources” in the library).⁣⁣⁣
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No matter what you’re struggling with right now, I hope some of these tips help keep you navigate these extra stressful times and stay focused and moving forward with your to-do list, as well as with your big goals and dreams. But most of all, I hope it reminds you that if you are struggling and feeling overwhelmed right now, you’re not alone.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
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Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead to read more.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
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I don’t think I have a jar big enough for this pickling cucumber 🥒 ⁣

What do you do with the huge pickling cukes that inevitably get missed in the garden??⁣

Please leave suggestions below! I’ve got two of ‘em! 😂
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Late summer is truly the time of abundance (and by far the busiest time of year for us).⁣⁣⁣
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We’ve got so much food that’s ripe for the picking in our own garden, plus baskets full of produce that we purchase locally when it’s in season and preserve for the winter.⁣⁣⁣
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Between harvesting and preserving (and trying my best to document it all for you along the way), there’s little time for much else in August.⁣⁣⁣
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We’re busy sweating in the garden and the kitchen, working around the clock to preserve all of the fruits (and vegetables) of summer so that come winter we hunker down and relax knowing we’ve got a pantry full of food to sustain us.⁣⁣⁣
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While there have been more times than I like to admit when I’ve asked myself why we do this when we could be at the beach or floating down the river like everyone else, come winter I am ALWAYS grateful for the time and energy we invested in the spring, summer and fall to grow and preserve all of the food that lines our pantry shelves.⁣⁣⁣
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With everything that 2020 has brought so far (and more uncertainty to come), this year I’m feeling grateful even in the thick of it; Even while I’m sweating and pulling late night canning sessions and constantly scraping dirt out from under my nails. This year it’s more apparent than ever how much growing and preserving our own food is worth the time and effort that it takes.⁣⁣⁣
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If you feel the same way and you’re looking to get even better at gardening, preserving and homesteading in general, or maybe you’re finally ready to start living a more sustainable lifestyle where YOU have control over your food supply, I highly encourage you to check out the Gardening & Sustainable Living Bundle (link in bio @thehouseandhomestead). It’s packed with almost $600 worth of resources designed to help you take control of your food security and live a more self-sufficient life, and it’s on sale today only for just $19.99!⁣

If you ask me, we would all be wise to invest in our own food security as we head into fall and winter 2020, so click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead to grab your bundle now. The sale ends tonight at midnight so don’t wait!!
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