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Just because your tomatoes didn’t turn green, don’t give up on them
Shirley Ivey’s kitchen is fragrant with the aroma of fried green tomatoes.
Shirley Ivey slices a Cherokee purple tomato and an Aunt Ruby German green heirloom, unripe for sandwiches, but perfect for frying.
Shirley Ivey uses corn flour mixed with rice flour and seasonings to create a gluten-free batter to make her fried green tomatoes.
Keeping the oil temperature hot by not overcrowding the pan helps crisp the crust on fried green tomatoes.
Shirley Ivy holds a aunt ruby German green, left, and a Cherokee purple tomato from her garden.
Give Mother Nature a hand with methods to ripen green tomatoes

Not every rock hard, green tomato will ripen. Unless there’s a tinge of color near the blossom end of the fruit, tomatoes will not ripen at all. Pick these untinged, solid green tomatoes for immediate use.

Take one that is slightly soft and starting to blush and cut through it. The inside should be sticky or gelatinous, a sign that the tomato has matured enough to ripen. You can’t use the one you’ve sliced, but it’s an example of the type of mature tomato that can ripen in weeks ahead.

You don’t have to pick the individual green tomatoes. Some gardeners recommend pulling the entire plant from the ground, retaining a few of the roots. Hang the plant upside down in a heated garage or basement where the fruit will ripen almost as well as if left on the vine in the garden.

Look for decay or bruised fruit and remove these and toss them into a compost pile. One decaying tomato will quickly ruin the remaining.

If you choose to pick unblemished fruit rather than pull the vine, gently wash the tomatoes and let them air dry before setting them into storage to ripen. The cooler the storage environment, the longer it takes for the tomatoes to ripen, but an unheated garage is usually too cold to promote even ripening and often results in less flavorful fruit. Sixty to 68 degrees should be sufficient to ripen tomatoes within two to three weeks, but tomatoes should be checked every couple of days.

Some gardeners recommend placing a couple of tomatoes in a large, lidded jar with a ripening banana.

The high levels of ethylene gas in a ripening banana hastens the process, but tomatoes will still release their own ethylene in a cardboard box, in which tomatoes can be gently layered with newspapers placed between layers. Don’t use color newsprint and limit boxes to no more than three layers, or the weight could bruise tomatoes.

A slightly humid environment, such as a laundry room, is ideal.

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Now what?

Shirley Ivey’s kitchen is fragrant with the aroma of fried green tomatoes.
Shirley Ivey slices a Cherokee purple tomato and an Aunt Ruby German green heirloom, unripe for sandwiches, but perfect for frying.
Shirley Ivey uses corn flour mixed with rice flour and seasonings to create a gluten-free batter to make her fried green tomatoes.
Keeping the oil temperature hot by not overcrowding the pan helps crisp the crust on fried green tomatoes.
Shirley Ivy holds a aunt ruby German green, left, and a Cherokee purple tomato from her garden.
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