Dana’s Big Gardening Adventure: A tomato rescue

When I heard this morning that our temperature had dipped to a lowly 8 degrees celsius last night I had a bit of a panic attack. My heirloom tomato plants (brandywines, cherokee purples) and my two big boy tomato plants have produced a plentiful but late-to-ripen crop.

So, today I staged a tomato rescue. I’ve spread this bounty out now on parchment-lined baking sheets to ripen. I’ll report back to you about whether these potentially delicious orbs ripen or atrophy. Keep your fingers crossed!

17 Responses to Dana’s Big Gardening Adventure: A tomato rescue

  1. Kitt says:

    I expect I’ll be draping sheets over my vines at night if the temps approach freezing, but if it’s forecast to actually freeze, I plan to uproot the plants and hang them in my garage. Supposedly the tomatoes will continue to ripen that way.

    But I’ll be interested to hear how your method works out. Sounds less messy, anyway!

  2. jasmine says:

    Ooh…good luck. Hope you were able to rescue them.


  3. danamccauley says:

    I almost am afraid to have them all ripen at once – how will I eat that many tomatoes at one time?

    Kitt, your method sounds messy indeed. It makes sense though. Good luck and keep me posted on what happens with your crop!

  4. Good luck with saving your tomatoes. My neighbour dropped off a basket of them and I’ll be eating tomato salad for the next few days.

    I guess you could preserve them if they all ripen at once, but that’s a whole other garden adventure.

  5. Marusya says:

    Those tomatoes look lovely, sculptural. Will you fry the green ones? Let them ripen? I had a green tomato crop last year. Tried the paper bag trick, didn’t work. They ended up in the compost. I think those puppies would have done better in the open. Or, coated in cornmeal, sizzling in a pan.

  6. danamccauley says:

    Your suggestion is a good one Maryusa but I’m trying to avoid frying these days – I’m on a diet.

    I think I’ll add a banana to each tray later today after I get home from the store. I’ve heard that the gases they emit help other fruits to ripen.

  7. Sara says:

    I think I still have at least a few weeks left on my tomatoes, but I do have some fried green tomato recipes that I’m holding on to for when it gets too cold for the plants. Last year I made a green tomato and pancetta soup, I think it was an emeril recipe I got from the food network website. I remember it being quite good.

  8. danamccauley says:

    Adding pancetta to card board soup would make it delicious so I have no doubt that the green tomato and pancetta soup was great!

  9. Candace says:

    My inlaws are concerned about the same thing here in Germany… I think they are going to take the last of the tomatoes down and make pickled green tomatoes before it gets too cold.

  10. Cheryl says:

    My dad takes his tomatoes and lays them in a box, covered loosely with a sheet of newsprint, in the basement. As they ripen he eats or quickly blanches and tosses them in the freezer. When he has enough tomatoes in the freezer he makes his salsa or sauce of whatever is on the menu. Now he actually buys green tomatoes and ripens them this way. Cheap Ukrainian! But the salsa he makes is fantastic!

  11. Beth says:

    My mom suggested a similar method and, coincidentally, she’s also Ukrainian!

  12. danamccauley says:

    Tomato update: about 25% ripe, 25% transitional and 50% still green and hard as pellets….this is progress!

  13. Sock Knitter says:

    My Father (Hungarian, must have something to do with that area of the world and newsprint, eh?) used to wrap them in newspaper and store them in the basement — this would slow down the ripening and give us delicious ‘maters well into the cold months of fall!

    Not exactly the same taste as ripening on the vine — but good enough!

    If any of them DID get hit by the frost — Pickled Greens are most certainly the way to go!! If they start to even remotely soften without turning red, that is what I’d do with ’em! YUMMY, love them almost as much as red ones, though after the past 5 years without being able to garden, and good ripe garden tomato is something I would likely pay ten bucks for!!

  14. danamccauley says:

    Thanks for the intel sock knitter! You are correct, even a bad garden tomato is better than the best bought tomato!

  15. […] Big Gardening Adventure: It’s over This picture shows one of my rescued, window sill-ripened Brandywine tomatoes perched on a rescued Cherokee Purple tomato that itself is perched upon a can of organic Ontario […]

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