Whilst my tomatoes are coming to an end I still have quite a few on the vine that need to ripen. Now that we’re in October, the time has come for one last push to encourage them to turn into the sweet, red delights we’ve been enjoying throughout the summer months.
If you have not already done so, pinch out the leader shoot on your tomato plants (topmost shoot), this will allow the tomatoes to focus on ripening rather than growing.
Tomatoes need warmth rather than a lot of sunshine to ripen (cue the sweaty tomato bags the French love so much!) but when the weather does finally turn cooler, if you’re not lucky enough to have a greenhouse or polytunnel, then cloches will certainly help your last tomatoes to ripen.
I recently watched a video by Chris Beardshaw describing an alternative method for ripening tomatoes which I had not heard of before, and thought I’d share it with you. The whole tomato plant should be dug up, roots and all, and hung upside down in a cool, frost-free place such as a shed. This way the tomatoes will retain their full sweetness as they ripen on the vine by taking the water and nutrients from the stems. Watch the full video here.
Another traditional method for ripening tomatoes is to place the tomatoes in a drawer, dark box or brown paper bag, with either a banana or an apple, the ethylene gas emitted from these fruits will help the tomatoes to turn red.
We all want to avoid the countless jars of green tomato chutney this autumn, so if anyone has any other tips for ripening tomatoes I’d love to hear them.