ripen green tomatoes1

That time of the season came where tomatoes aren’t turning red as easily as in mid-summer. In all kinds of gardening groups I’m seeing a discussion come by whether you can get green tomatoes to turn red. A lot of people say you can’t do it. It’s advised to make chutney out of the green tomatoes. Well, ever since I have had tomatoes in buckets on balcony’s and stuff I have taken green tomatoes from the bushes this time of year and placed them in a sunny place to turn red. This always turned out great and I just couldn’t understand why this wouldn’t work for other people. Maybe I had always used those small cherry tomatoes? Maybe it doesn’t work for bigger ones?

I decided to try again. A week ago we came back from holiday and I took some of the tomatoes off the bushes. I chose them carefully. These were the tomatoes that were fully grown, were changing colour a bit, but not quickly enough really. Probably because the weather is getting colder. I read somewhere that tomatoes don’t need sun, but they mostly need warmth. And it’s not that warm anymore unfortunately. I don’t know exactly why we think the tomatoes need sun, probably because the sun gives warmth and we confuse warmth for light? I can also leave them on the bushes and just wait for them to slowly ripen in the occasional warmth given by the sun outside, but this process exhausts the bush that is already at the end of its’ energy and at the same time there is the risk of tomatoes bursting open due to all the rain.

So I decided to take them off the bushes, placed them in a crate covered with paper sheets with an old apple from our tree and covered them with the same sheets of paper. During this week if the day was warm I would place the crate outside and uncover the paper, if it was a cold day and during the night I would place the crate indoors. I kept this doing for a week and actually all the tomatoes have turned red (the ones on the right on the picture below)! Mind you some of them are yellow, that’s because it’s a yellow variety!

Today I decided to go up again and take the next batch of tomatoes off the bushes and placed them next to the ones that are almost finished. This way I can just shuffle them from the left to the right whenever I take a batch out. I also placed an extra banana in the crate to see if that can speed up the process. I might do an experiment with the next batch with an apple, banana and nothing in three different crates to see what works best. But for now I just try everything.

ripen green tomatoes2

The moral of the story? Don’t listen to the pessimists that tell you you can’t turn green tomatoes red. Because you can! Just try and if it doesn’t work, you can always make green tomato chutney!