Are you going to miss those fresh homegrown tomatoes this winter? Well don’t! I can teach you how to eat fresh homegrown tomatoes all winter with this simple trick! Don’t let the frost put a damper on your BLT game.
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Eating Fresh Homegrown Tomatoes All Winter
Tomatoes have always been a garden staple for my family. Even when we lived on a postage stamp lot my mom had a garden and homegrown tomatoes. As a teenager, we moved to the country and she had a giant garden. The number of tomatoes was outrageous! Once they started ripening, it seemed like they would never stop. She would have mounds of them on every countertop. One fall, I went in to do laundry and discovered brown paper sacks all lined up on the utility room counter. Curious, I peeked in and found a single tomato in each bag. I jokingly asked my mom if she had packed her lunch for the rest of the year. That’s when I learned a little trick to eat fresh homegrown tomatoes all winter!
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When to Pick Homegrown Tomatoes for Winter
Tomatoes like the heat of the summer. When the temps start cooling down or the nights are getting cold, it is time to harvest what is left of the tomato crop. If you notice that the tomato harvest has slowed down significantly, that’s a good sign that it’s time to let the tomatoes go. If you’ve got a chance of frost go ahead and pick because once the frost gets the tomatoes, this trick won’t work.
Go ahead and pick all of the tomatoes. I leave the tiny ones on the plant, but anything big enough to eat is harvested. Most of the tomatoes are still green or just starting to turn orange. Pick them all because they will be delicious later.
The completely green ones don’t always work as well as those starting to change colors, but always pick them anyway because some is better than none. There is a zero percent chance of them ripening if you don’t pick them before frost.
How to Store Fresh Tomatoes All Winter
When you bring the tomato harvest inside, make sure to remove any stems, leaves, or bugs. Then check over the harvest and toss any tomatoes with holes or bruising back into the compost.
Wash all of the good tomatoes to remove any dirt. Allow them to dry completely. I usually let them sit out on the counter overnight.
You are going to put two or three tomatoes in a brown paper sack. Completely green tomatoes do best when placed in with the stem side down. Then fold the top down and place the bags in a cool dark place. Check on the tomatoes every couple of days. The tomatoes will ripen in the bag. When they are ripe, pull them out and enjoy.
The tomatoes ripen inside the bag because it traps the gas. Ripening tomatoes produce a gas called ethylene gas. When this gas is trapped inside the bag it stimulates ripening in the other tomatoes.
The time it takes to ripen will depend on how green the tomatoes were to begin with. Some will be ready within a couple of days and others you will be eating long after the first frost. My mom has used this trick and eaten fresh homegrown tomatoes all winter.
Are you overrun with ripe tomatoes? Check out this post on blanching and freezing them for winter. They make great pizza sauce!
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