This summer has been relatively mild in Pittsburgh. The weather may have been a delight to some, but it may leave tomato growers staring at their plants, waiting for the green tomatoes to ripen. Some last-minute heat waves may turn some of those green fruits red, but you may still have a lot of green fruit on the vine. With colder temperatures creeping in, you may want to know: What can you do with all of these unripe tomatoes?
There are three ways to deal with your green tomatoes: wait it out, ripen them off of the vine, or enjoy them in their green state.
Waiting it out is simply a matter of hoping for more hot days. Hot weather will still aid the ripening process.
To pick and then ripen, find some green tomatoes that are almost ready to turn. Look for a yellow or blush shade, or check for a slightly softer texture. Pick these and bring them inside. Pile them up in a paper bag or a cardboard box, and add a banana to the bunch. The banana will release ethylene gas, which will naturally encourage ripening. Keep the bag or box closed and at room temperature, and within a week or two, you will have red tomatoes.
The third option is to pick the green tomatoes and enjoy them as they are. Green tomatoes can be pickled, cut up for salsa, baked into pies, or fried.
All is not lost, if the cold weather has left you with fewer vine-ripened tomatoes than expected. There are many ways to enjoy your home-grown veggies!