The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Last tomato harvest?

Basket of tomatoesBy the calendar, we should have at least another week of frost-free weather, but our forecast mentioned a low of 36 F tonight.  Over the years we've lived here, I've noticed that our temperatures may drop as much as five degrees below the predicted low so I consider any forecast less than 37 to be a frost watch.

If I was desperate to extend our summer harvest, I would run around tossing row covers over everything.  But we've had a good summer, so I'm instead harvesting any ripe or Ripening tomatoes indoorsripenable fruits that would be damaged by freezing, then letting the summer go gracefully.  I stewed up a gallon of ripe tomatoes to go in the freezer and laid out any with a blush of color to ripen over the next few weeks.

I'm ashamed to say that I left the really green tomatoes on the vine to rot.  I've never gotten excited about fried green tomatoes, but if you comment with a more interesting green tomato recipe in the next few hours, I'll rush out and collect them.  Instead of worrying over the last tomatoes, I'm instead focusing my energy today on harvesting squash, beans, swiss chard, and the last watermelon.

Huckleberry wants you to know that even though I closed the windows and put on long johns and two sweaters, he still thinks it's warm enough to sit outside...for five minutes at a time.

Our homemade chicken waterer makes farm chores simple and fun.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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When I have green tomatoes, I make Piccalilli Relish. Mind you, I absolutely hate pickle relishes of the storebought variety; homemade Piccalilli is the only relish I'll eat. Even if you're not a fan of relishes, you might want to try to make a small batch just to see what you think of it: this one - minus the hot peppers - is pretty similar to one my mum taught me (which is more of a feel thing at this point and hard to write down, heh)

I usually can ours, but if you're just making a small batch, pour boiling water into a glass jar or two, to heat them up and disinfect them, before you put the relish in. Then store them in the refrigerator. I've kept jars like that for four to six months just fine (just smell before use to make sure it's still okay - but it has plenty of vinegar and salt in it to keep it safe).

Comment by Ikwig Tue Oct 5 10:16:31 2010
I'll bet that's an awesome recipe, but I don't think it's up our alley. We've yet to find a relish or pickle we like, which makes it very unlikely we'll like this. Hopefully it'll tweak the interest of someone else, though!
Comment by anna Tue Oct 5 14:44:28 2010
Backwoods Home Magazine had a recipe for pickled green tomatoes this month. It involved vinegar and garlic.
Comment by Faith Wed Oct 6 11:05:16 2010
Pickling does seem to be the approved method of using up green tomatoes, if you don't want to fry them. I guess we'll have to start liking pickles one of these days!
Comment by anna Wed Oct 6 13:25:13 2010

But if I wanted green tomatoes I'd probably have to grow them first. :-)

Anna - Just a thought, would it be possible to grow tomatoes and bell peppers indoors, e.g. in my window sill? My balcony only gets sun in the afternoon.

BTW, have you tried english piccalilli? I really like it on a sandwich with cheese.

Comment by Roland_Smith Wed Oct 6 16:33:24 2010

I'm so excited that you're thinking of growing something! Tomatoes and bell peppers might not be the best choice --- both like lots of heat and far more light than you can manage indoors without serious grow lights. Instead, you might consider starting with herbs --- fresh herbs go a long way toward making meals tasty, they can cope with lower light, and they don't need much space. Or maybe a pot of leaf lettuce --- you could cut it about once a week.

I haven't tried English piccalili. It looks like something I would either love or hate... :-)

Comment by anna Wed Oct 6 17:01:48 2010

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