Bozeman Tomato Bonanza: How to Make Them Last
It's been an epic year for many of us tomato growers in the Gallatin Valley. Mine have been the best tasting I've ever grown. Harvest is upon us...here's how to make them last longer.
Tomatoes grow well here. They're something I've always had good luck with. Container gardening is my thing due to limited space and the peace of mind of being able to bring stuff in the garage if we get a random or early frost.
This year I had REALLY good luck with cherry tomatoes. The plants stayed very healthy, the crop was plentiful and they taste amazing.
But with only three large plants, I've ended up with bowls and bowls of ripe tomatoes. Far more than I can use myself, so sure, I've shared with friends and neighbors.
When we were faced with a couple nights of super cold overnight temps, I decided to just harvest everything I could and hope for the best. No more hauling pots in and out of the garage.
Many tomatoes were of good size, looked very healthy, but were still quite green. No problem!
UNRIPE TOMATOES: They will ripen! Just give them time. Simply put them on a plate or large tupperware with no lid (so they can 'breathe'). Keep them at room temperature or a cool pantry. Don't put them in the fridge. But remove the stems. Moisture will escape the fruit if you leave them on their stems. Some folks swear by putting unripe tomatoes in a paper bag to trap the ethylene gas. I personally have never noticed a difference.
RIPE TOMATOES: Go ahead and put those in the fridge. They'll last up to a week (or two!) longer than storing them on the counter. If you're planning on cooking with them instead of eating them whole or sliced fresh, you CAN freeze them. Just know that they'll defrost quite soft and only be suitable for sauces and such.
YUMMY TIP: If you like fresh tomatoes on their own, try this balsamic reduction. Sure you can make your own but this store bought bottle is excellent. Great on tons of stuff including your hard-earned harvest.