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How to Ripen Green Tomatoes

If you’re growing tomatoes in your garden and you’re getting an early frost, you may be wondering what to do. Learn how to ripen green tomatoes indoors with this easy method. 

Brown paper bag full of small green tomatoes.

Winter has a tendency to arrive early here in the mountains. Some years, we get snow as early as September and we’re in a position of having to decide what to do about our green tomatoes.

One year when the frost arrived, we still had well over a hundred green tomatoes on our plants that we knew wouldn’t make it through the frost. I picked all of them, and I’m glad I did because the plants were decimated by frost the next morning.

I didn’t want to use that many green tomatoes though, so I wanted to figure out a way to ripen them. The tomatoes were so flavorful from those plants that we wanted more of that goodness!

An Easy Method to Ripen Green Tomatoes

That’s when I discovered a simple way to ripen green tomatoes off the vine. I know most people put their tomatoes on a windowsill in the sun to ripen them. Unfortunately that causes the skin to become tough. There is a better way to ripen to tomatoes, and it’s pretty hands-off too.

A much easier and more effective way to ripen green tomatoes is to simply place them in a brown paper grocery bag and close the bag up. You can check them after a few days and see if any have ripened.

Brown paper bag with some green tomatoes and some red tomatoes

What I love about this method is that the tomatoes still ripen at different times, so you have tomatoes to use over time rather than all at once. When Kaylee was younger, I’d catch her sneaking so many tomatoes out of the bag, but I didn’t mind. At least I knew she was eating a healthy snack!

What to Do with Extra Ripe Tomatoes

If you have a lot of tomatoes, you may have too many ripen at the same time. If that’s the case, you can simply can the tomatoes from your garden and use them later. Homemade canned tomatoes are great in chili recipes!

If you still have green tomatoes on the vine and you have a cold weather forecast like us, give this method of ripening green tomatoes a try. It’s so easy your kids can help you with it!

Green tomatoes being ripened in a paper bag.

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