She blinded me with Science: A guide for ripenning green tomatoes

30 09 2015


How many of us are stuck with dozens of green tomatoes.  “Oh man!  What are some green tomato recipes, quick!”  Last year I made 11 jars of green tomato chutney and, while delicious, I still have 9 jars.

I want the goods!

And now I know how to get them.  Thank you science and me-remembering-stuff!

I had learned that the ripening of most fruits releases a gas called “ethylene”.  And, thank you positive feedback loop, ethylene ALSO initiates and starts ripening fruit as well.

Last week, I picked some tomatoes.  Night temperatures hovered around 0 and my plants were hit hard (though not full on dead).  I thought I’d collect a few tomatoes and try some things out.  Well, I’m happy I did that.

It requires patience and a blind eye but you CAN get those green tomatoes to ripen.  Here is what I did.

I got a paper bag from the Safeway bakery (the ones you put the bulk buns in).  I put, maybe 15-20 tomatoes in it that were mostly green and a few that had a tinge of yellow to them.  Next I put 2 very under ripe bananas in the bag and rolled it closed.  My thinking was that as the bananas released ethylene, it would begin to ripen the tomatoes (since they are a fruit after all).  I kept it rolled up and put it under my kitchen table (I don’t know for certain if light is important but I’m not convinced heat is a good idea so I kept it shaded and room temperature).  I didn’t touch it for about a week.

I opened the bag up today and what do I find?  About 4 tomatoes that are COMPLETELY ready to eat, all of them looking a slightly different colour and ripening and two bananas that are perfectly ripe!  When I put them in the bag, the ripest tomato looked like the green (with touches of red) tomato in the top left.


I’m pretty jazzed about this because it means, not only that we will still get to enjoy many tomatoes over a longer period, but that I “discovered” something that will get a bunch of other people enjoying red tomatoes too!  I put discovered in quote marks because I don’t know for SURE if those tomatoes would have ripenned equally without the bananas in the bag.  It’s supposed to snow this saturday, so I’m going to try it again but this time, I’ll do a comparison with a few tomatoes around the house to figure out whether the bananas actually had an impact.  Needless to say, I AM happy that the tomatoes are going red, whether that’s from the banana in a bag, or just the inevitability of life and death.

And, just because it’s nice to appreciate the simple things; here’s a beautiful tomato:image




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