This month, the plot's most versatile fruit makes a blushingly late arrival. Find out how to ripen green tomatoes with our top tips.
At the end of the season there are always a few unripe tomatoes kicking about. You can of course but them in a paper bag in a drawer to ripen (never on a window sill: it toughens the skins) or whip them up into a batch of chutney, but all of this slightly overcompensates. A green tomato is actually rather a lovely thing. Cooked – and they do need to be cooked – they have the same tomatoey taste but with a more savoury, vegetable edge.
For a recipe for fried green tomatoes, turn to page 24 of September's The Simple Things.
How to ripen tomatoes indoors
Make sure you pick your green tomatoes before the risk of any frost.
Wash each tomato in cold water, dry with a clean towel, then allow to dry completely.
Remove any tomatoes that have signs of damage, bruising, or spotting.
Source a container large enough to contain all of your tomatoes with around 5cm between each fruit. They should not be touching. Choose a container that will not leak in case any of your tomatoes rot. Line with an absorbent material such as newspaper or paper towel.
Place your tomatoes spaced out, one layer deep in the container.
Store in a cool, dry place, such as a garage, porch or outhouse.
Check on the tomatoes every other day, removing any that are 50% or more red (let these finish ripening in the kitchen) and removing/disposing of any with signs of rot.
It could take three weeks to three months for your tomatoes to fully ripen, depending on the conditions you create for them. You could be eating delicious, ripe, homegrown tomatoes for Christmas.