Hola chickas! I have again been busy with the day job, as I will until after Christmas. Luck would have it that the nightwear/loungewear biz gets busy around Christmas time ;). So gardening and being a domestic goddess will have to take a back seat. Buuuuuut seeing as I know you’re all super cool people I would appreciate a little vote in a competition my company has entered *pretty pleaseeeeee* http://15secondsoffame.izettle.com/entry/betty-blues-loungerie just go to the link and gizzus a big old vote (and then do it daily until October 25th because you can vote once every 24hours). Baaaaaasically it’s to win a weeks worth of national television advertising, which of course would be AMAZING if it happened :). Anyway back to tomatoes!
I was relieved to find out a couple of days ago that it has been a dodgy year for tomatoes. I thought I was the only person in the world who’s tomatoes hadn’t turned tomatoey red. My tomatoes had a rocky start in life, having been blown over as teeny seeds in the wind. So I thought the delay in growing was because of this. But apparently the bad weather this summer is to blame and tomato growers up and down the country are having to pick the tommy tomatoes green and ripen them off the plant. But how is such a thing done I hear you cry? How do I harvest and store my green tomatoes? Well I turned to my good old book by Twigs Way, “Allotment and Garden Guide” to find out how.
As you can see from the illustration from the 1945 ‘September’ allotment and garden guide, the best way to store them is in trays with newspaper in-between the rows to separate them. After sorting into size order I did just this, because after all if it’s good enough for those in 1945, it’s good enough for me!
The most important thing is to pack away your tomatoes carefully. Remove any bruised or split or otherwise blemished tomatoes so that only the good uns are left. When placing on the newspaper channels make sure that the tomatoes aren’t touching each other and keep checking and removing any ripened ones (to eat!) or decaying ones (for the bin!). Store them in the dark if you wish to prolong their shelf life to stop them ripening too fast, or in the light if you wish to ripen them up nicely. Storing in a cool place between 50F-60F is best as below 50F they don’t specify what happens but above 60F they are likely to shrivel a little. 55F is the preferred temp to store at, or if you don’t have a thermometer in Fahrenheit then I would suggest in a shed or a garage to keep away from frosts.
Now with all this advice from the ministry of AG, I also found out on tinternet that it is a specific chemical in tomatoes called ethylene that makes them go red. So in order to speed this up if you put a lid over the box or tray you are storing them in, it will trap in the chemical and circulate around the tommy tomatoes to speed up ripening. Therefore I have layed some newspaper over my newspaper trays to try and trap that ethylene! If this doesn’t work (I am quite impatient) then I will just turn them all into green tomato chutney. My mum made the most amazing green tomato chutney a few years ago so I would love to make some more!
Until next time, happy gardening!