Storing Green Tomatoes

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green tomatoes on the vine

How to Store and Ripen Green Tomatoes

If it’s going to frost badly enough that your tomatoes will not make it, you can pull the whole tomato plant up by the roots.

Hang it upside down by the roots in the mudroom or garage (if it won’t freeze in there, too). The tomatoes will continue to ripen slowly just hanging there. You can also pull the tomatoes off at your leisure and place in buckets checking every day or so to pull out the ripening ones, or place in open short cardboard boxes under the bed or some similar place, again checking for ripening ones.

The trick is to pull the ripe ones out and get them away from the green ones as soon as possible. Using this method, I have had green tomatoes ripen over a month after I pulled the plants out of the garden. A few smaller ones ripened two months later :) Sure extends the tomato season! :) Marci


Thanks for the tip, Marci! I don’t pull up the entire plant. I just pick the tomatoes, lay them on a tray and cover with newspaper. I had tomatoes for almost a month after that.( See the tip below.)


From: Marjie B.
Here is a tip for ripening green tomatoes:

I hate clutter, so unless there are only a few tomatoes left when the frost comes, having green tomatoes ripening on my counter would drive me nuts! You can ripen your green tomatoes by layering them in a cardboard box with sections of newspapers sandwiched between the layers.

Check them every few days and remove the red ones.


Photo By: twinkleboi


  1. says

    we are now getting frost almost every night.
    I am wondering if I can dig up my tiny tim tomatoe plants and continue growing them inside?
    they are loaded but all green. only had 2 that ripened.

  2. Chris says

    We had our 1st successful garden this year – pickling cukes and plum tomatoes. As the plants are dying out we’ve been left with some green tomatoes.

    My husband tried pickling them, much the same way we make “refrigerator dill pickles.” I was a little skeptical, but I’m not anymore they taste wonderful!

  3. Jelaine Zastrow says

    No one likes to see foreign anything under a bed; however, I took large sections of cardboard and newspaper, layered my green tomatoes on them and scooted them under the bed (darker, not cold and out of the way) Each day I could slide a section out to check them out and move onto the next section. I didn’t lose any and I saved space ( I lived in a mobile home which inspired the idea)I used the idea many years successfully.

  4. Pat says

    I love green tomatoe relish! and of course fried green tomatoes. When we get those beautiful big tomatoes that are green I will cook up a batch and just serve some meat or mac and cheese with them. It is such a treat that since we only can really have them such a short time of the year I will serve them a couple of times a week, so we can enjoy them and get our fill. Then no more till the next year. By then we are hungry for those fried green tomatoes. like our fresh raspberries from the garden. If you can have them all year you just don’t relish them like you do if it’s a once a year delicacy.

  5. says

    The best way to store green tomatoes is in your belly.
    But since I don’t care for green tomatoes I have 20 pints of green tomatoe relish and if I have enough green ones in my garden I will try green tomatoe mince meat.
    Right now I have more of the relish draining so I can add the vinegar and then put it into jars to add to my christmas and just cause day gift baskets.
    Most of what I have are diabetic friendly so should do well as gifts here in town.
    Mom used to fry onions and green tomatoes together for my dad when we had liver. Other than that until the movie “fried green tomatoes” I had never heard of the ones with the batter.
    Bumper crops of tomatoes here in town just they are not ripening. the ones of mine that are ripe are the ones buried under all the leaves. strange is what that is. the ones in sight are green and hard and only about another week or 2 before we begin worrying about frost.

  6. says

    does anyone have a recipe for canning those hot banana peppers.
    my son loves them so I bought the peppers thinking it would be easy to find a good recipe.
    Found sweet, found canning green and red ones but no hot banana peppers.
    if I don’t get them done soon I will lose them.
    Help please.

    • Judy says

      I put the banana peppers in with my hot peppers or any kind of peppers and make a delicious relish with them! Just use them as you would any pepper. :)

  7. says

    I store our green tomatoes in the garage, in large boxes, separated by sheets of crumpled newspaper. You don’t want any tomatoes touching, if you plan to store for more than a couple of weeks. I check on the tomatoes a few times per week and bring in any ripening ones. I’ve had tomatoes continue to ripen up till November this way. And I use all those itty bitty ones, that will never ripen, in relish.

    • says

      That is where the saying “one rotten apple spoils the whole bunch” comes from. That includes tomatoes and that is why you need to watch them and not let them touch.

  8. Deb Vaughn says

    Paula Deen posted a recipe for green tomato cake on her website a while back. I changed out raisins for cranberries, walnuts for pecans and baked it in bread pans. My teen daughter went absolutely NUTS over this cake. I’m going to bake several and freeze while I’ve got all these green tomatoes.

  9. Judy P says

    When you mentioned putting the tomatoes in freezer bags and just freezing them for future salsa or chili, etc. – do you freeze them green or wait until they ripen?

  10. Barbara Lee says

    Give us a recipe for green tomato relish. Seems like several of you know how to make it. I would love to add that to my pantry, and have lots of green tomatoes to work with. Thanks so much for telling me how to keep them, and not lose them to frost!

  11. Mary Jane says

    Lots of good tips for ripening green tomatoes. I have found that if you just have a few of them, they can be put inside a paper grocery bag, roll down the top and just ripen them in the kitchen. Check every day or every other day. I admit that I have a warm kitchen, so I don’t know if that makes a difference. Once I had several grape type tomatoes that were still green. I put them in a plastic serving type dish that had a strainer insert inside. Then just covered the dish with it’s lid and left them on the table in the kitchen. Again they ripened just fine, and I had a few tomatoes every couple of days for about 3 to 4 weeks.

    • says

      This does work great and I would do this but recently I received a few green tomatoes and was not going to ripen them but just fry them. I didn’t get them fried and they set on my counter for awhile and they all ripen without me doing a thing to them. I was so glad because I was feeling guilty for not cooking them or doing anything with them. I really hate to waste food because I remember well what it was like not to have money to be able to buy a tomato because to me it was a luxury item. : )

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