The disappointment of missing out on the taste of homegrown tomatoes is to a gardener what breaking down within sight of the chequered flag is like for an F1 driver. Perhaps worse.
As the summer heat disappears faster than toilet rolls at lockdown, many of us are left with the fruits of months of labour and love stubbornly resisting the urge to go red.
Hoping for the return of warmth with an Indian summer is one option, but there are some others we can take to give nature a helping hand with the ripening.
First, choose your tomatoes carefully. To avoid rot and mould setting in, ditch any that are bruised or split.
Next, pair your toms up with other fruit. By boosting the green tomato’s exposure to ethylene, a natural plant hormone, you are giving them the best chance of ripening.
Bananas and apples give off ethylene so putting your toms in a paper bag with either of them should help the process. Place the bag somewhere warm and check on it regularly.
Some growers have had success putting tomatoes alongside a banana in a shoebox in an airing cupboard.
The same partnership approach can be taken by using a drawer for storage, although the colder the location, the longer the ripening may take.
All these methods have merit, particularly if your tomatoes have started to show signs of ripening, but if none of this works, you’ve always got the option of turning your green toms into chutney.