Harvest tomatoes before frost?

jbrickmNovember 2, 2010

Forecasts suggest night time lows will go below 32 this weekend. I have some 20-30 tomatoes of various sizes still on the vine on my 4 tomato plants.

Should I harvest the still green tomatoes now? What typically happens to fruits still on the plant when it freezes?

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If you pick the green fruits, you can fry and eat them green or leave them to ripen indoors. If you let them freeze, they will become soft and watery and will rot.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 12:22AM
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I ate a plate of fried green tomatoes last night...and MMMMM!!!! soooo good... one of my fav things ever...

coat them with fine seasoned corn meal and fry in a skillet with some oil... WOW!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 2:07PM
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Ok, I'm going to harvest them by the end of the week - some for fried green tomatoes and some for ripening off the vine.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 3:34PM
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Here's a couple of tips to consider for a good fried green tomato...

Use a couple eggs and a little bit of milk to 'wash' the tomatoes...just blend it all up. If you want you can add a few squeezes of lemon juice.

I use cornmeal catfish fry for my tomatoes, but just plain cornmeal works ok if you season it well. Sill add some salt either way....

Slice the tomatoes about 1/4 to 1/3 of an inch thick. Soak them in your egg/milk wash (lemon juice optional) while your oil heats up.

Use any kind of oil EXCEPT corn oil. It leaves a really strong after taste.

Your fire should be a little higher than medium...In the end if you cook the tomato too long it will be 'floopy'...I like mine with a little meat to it so I only cook until the corn meal is slightly browned just a little...

MMMMM!!! One of my favs!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 4:07PM
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Dan Staley

If you failed to cull your tomatoes in Sept and have lots of greens sitting there with no chance of ripening, you can also cut the plants and hang them upside down in the garage. Not the best flavor, of course, but still better'n store-bought.


    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 6:09PM
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Most of the green tomatoes will ripen. I had 8 flats of green tomatoes and more than 80% ripened. I didn't do anything special -- single layer, covered with a sheet of news print, unheated greenhouse.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2010 at 11:41AM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

We are to get our first hard freeze Saturday night. I'll be harvesting green tomatoes tomorrow. I will make a green tomato relish that has onions, bell peppers, and green apples in it. It's delicious on hot dogs. Waste not. Want not! :)

    Bookmark   November 5, 2010 at 12:16AM
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leisa_in_md(z6 MD)

UGH... missed my chance to bring in my green ones. They've gotten good and frozen. Is there anything I can do with them at this point? Or are they only good for the compost pile :(

    Bookmark   November 6, 2010 at 12:48PM
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ralleia(z5 Omaha, NE)

I have stored frozen whole red tomatoes and then used them in recipes that call for cooking down a tomato. They're quite fresh when stored this way, but of course they'll never have their firmness again. In a recipe that calls for cooking, you can't tell the difference.

Some people also freeze them green and use them in green tomato recipes. I know I've missed a few on the vines. Tomorrow I clean up all my tomato plants and cages. We've had a couple freezes now (down to 24 F) so I'll try frying some up and seeing how they work. If they work well, the frozen missed 'maters will go into the freezer.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2010 at 1:10PM
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leisa_in_md(z6 MD)

I just went and checked them and they are all squishy... not very appetizing, that's for sure... lol

Oh well -- hopefully next year will be better! :)

    Bookmark   November 6, 2010 at 1:24PM
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Leisa, if you pick them immediately after a freeze and before they rot, you can throw them in the blender and boil them down into a sauce. If they already started rotting, too late.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2010 at 1:30PM
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Dan Staley

and they are all squishy

Very easy to extend the season on toms or pick green pr cut entire plant and hang upside down in garage. No need to have them go to waste like that.


    Bookmark   November 6, 2010 at 3:11PM
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leisa_in_md(z6 MD)

Yep -- I know I should have brought them in, but the frost snuck up on me!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2010 at 3:54PM
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