How Long Can You Make Your Green Tomatoes Last?

| 10/7/2009 4:05:28 PM

Tags: food preservation, tomatoes, green tomatoes, question to readers,

Green Tomatoes On The VineDo you have tricks up your sleeve for storing tomatoes into the fall and winter? What's the longest you've been able to keep your summer tomatoes around? If you've got any tips and ideas for storing tomatoes, please share them by posting a comment below.

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Photo by L. Shat/

2/2/2010 2:57:31 PM

We preserve green cherry tomatoes by pickling them as dill pickles or pickle relish. We also make berry jam from them by using berry flavored jello.

1/30/2010 3:52:45 PM

I have found placing the tomatoes, unwrapped, in a single layer in a cardboard box results in fewer rotten tomatoes. In northwest Wisconsin I generally have to collect the green tomatoes in late September/mid October and often have fresh tomatoes at Christmas.

the herbangardener
11/11/2009 10:19:18 PM

I've stretched my tomato harvest all the way into JANUARY! (Our last frost is usually around October 5.) I wrapped each tomato individually in a square of newspaper, put them all into one layer at the bottom of a cardboard box, and stored them in the coldest part of the house, which was the floor of the coat closet. Once a week, I'd unwrap each tomato. I'd use it if it was red, and re-wrap the others...marking the newspaper of the nearly-ready ones with a yellow highlighter marker. Lindsey @ The Herbangardener

10/12/2009 9:26:51 PM

I purchased one of those upside down hanging planters. Since they still have green tomatoes on them, I just took it from its hanging position and moved the entire contraption into my heated garage near a window. Now they can ripen naturally, probably into November. Otherwise, I just pull up the entire plant from my garden, shake off the excess soil and hang that in my garage.

10/10/2009 7:37:28 AM

I have plastic containers, mainly empty twenty-eight pound kitty litter containers. I "line" the bottom with a towel (leaving the ends of the towel go up the side of the container) and place some tomatoes on the towel. Then, I place a hand towel over them (again the ends going up the sides initially) and adding more tomatoes. Repeating the towels until I get the container filled with tomatoes, then I fole the ends of the last towel over and loosely place the lid on the container. This is stored in our rarely used back stairs, which is cool due to being closed at all times. The tomatoes can be stored in the basement, which I have done in the past. They need to be checked every few days for ripening. I had tomatoes ripening until after Thanksgiving last year.

mary jane cummings_1
10/9/2009 6:34:29 PM

Before the frost does anything, harvest your green tomatoes and wrap them individually in newspaper. Store in a cold pantry. When you want to use them, unwrap and sit in the light somewhere inside your residence and they can start turning red for you. It works.

roy fritz
10/9/2009 1:48:52 PM

I make a drawing of my garden and where my tomatos are the latest I cover them during the early frosts. When it gets colder I put straw about 12 inches deep over the vines and a stake where the tomaotos are. It usually snows and covers the mounds of straw with a nice blanket of snow. The ground temp. helps things from freezing and with the straw cover it works out just about right. I go out every couple of weeks and pick my tomatoes along with carrots and my buttercup squash. I have picked green tomatoes out of the garden into December and then wrap them and let them ripen in the basement or use them as I pick them. The straw breaks down during the spring and is just right to till under for spring planting.

john wells_2
10/9/2009 11:13:39 AM

It's a definite fact that leaving at least some of the vine on the tomato slows down the spoiling. I clip or break off the vine about 1/2" from the attachment point and dip the fruit (yes, tomatoes are a fruit by botanical definition) in dilute hydrogen peroxide (food grade) 1/2% in non-chlorinated water for 10-30 seconds to kill off any bacteria and to remove any residue. If I cut the vine, I dip the tool in a peroxide solution between each different plant to prevent any possibility of bacterial or viral transfer. The peroxide (H2O2) causes quicker callousing of the end. Also remove any vegetables/fruit that are reaching the point of being at all over-ripe. Beside other reasons, when fruits begin to over-ripen they accelerate the production of Ethelyene gas which naturally speeds the decomposition. Tomatoes degrade the skin surface quicker when the temperature in the storage area is too cold. They keep much better at 40 degrees fahrenheit than at lower temps. We leave our coolers at 40-42 degrees and have greatly improved our pre-delivery storage life . Note: Do not store apples in unventilated close proximity to other fruits and vegetables since they are one of the largest producers of Ethelyene gas from the moment they are picked. We use this to our advantage with potatoes. To produce eyes for planting we just put 1 apple in a closed box of potatoes for a month. John Wells-Elk Valley

10/9/2009 10:37:13 AM

I have kept long keeper tomatoes through Thanksgiving, by wrapping green ones in paper and putting in a cool space stored on screens. I would lose maybe a fourth of them, but still they were so much better than the ones from the store.

joel spackman
10/9/2009 8:48:23 AM

I have very good luck with pulling the whole plant up at the end of ripe tomato harvest and hanging the plant upside down on an overhead rafter in my garage, you could also use hooks, wire coat hangers or anything that would suspend them upside down.when the leaves die,their is still enough moisture and strength left in the plant for the green tomatoes to keep ripening. has been about two to three weeks,I suspended mine upside down and I am still picking ripe tomatoes as they turn from green to red.I live in zone 4 so while it is below freezing outside,frost cannot get in my garage.

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