Ripening Outdoor Tomatoes in October

Idea sent in by Fred (London) - October 2011

What to do with all those trusses of green tomato fruits at the end of the year

trusses of tomatoes left to ripen

Ripening outdoor tomatoes at the end of the season can be difficult. You can easily be left with trusses of green fruits which show no signs of ripening - only to throw them away once the frosts hit or make chutney (if you have the time). You can put them on the windowsill or in a paper bag with a ripe banana but this can make them watery and tasteless.

The best method I have found is to cut the trusses from the parent plant and hang them upside down in the sunniest part of the garden at the beginning of October. I find that a hot sheltered, south facing spot, by a fence or brick wall, is best. The leaves will simply wilt away but the tomatoes will remain fresh and all the goodness left in the stem will be drawn into them.

You can also do this with bell peppers and red peppers. Peppers can also be left to ripen on the stem in a sunny room in the house.

If frosts threaten, I simply take the trusses in at night and put them out again the next day, however they should be safe from a ground frost if raised high enough and in shelter.

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