Jeopardy question: What is 230?

Answer:  The estimated number of green tomatoes I picked yesterday.

It was forecast to go down to 31 degrees last night, and since when I walked this morning, our thermometer, which always shows a bit lower than what the web says the temp is, registered 26 degrees, I am pretty sure it really did go below freezing.  That being the case, and having already covered the tomatoes on two separate occasions to try to give them more time to hopefully ripen, I went out yesterday afternoon in the windy, 38-degree weather to pick green tomatoes and peppers.

It was a particularly distasteful job, as it had rained for a couple days, and the cold, wet, slippery fruit was covered with cold, wet, slippery, slimy, dead, brown leaves.  Everything was soggy and nasty, and my hands were so cold my fingers went numb.

We have four cheap, plastic buckets, and I filled one of them three-fourths full of peppers.  The other three and-a-quarter buckets were totally loaded with green tomatoes!  Having hauled them all inside, I then proceeded to rinse each tomato to get the junk off, and I set them to dry on a beach towel on the kitchen counter.

Here’s a shot of the final batch, about a third of the total green tomato haul:

A subset of our finer collection of green tomatoes

A subset of our finer collection of green tomatoes

And on November 6th, amazingly, there were still blossoms on several of the plants!  I planted six Early Girls and four Big Beefs this year.  From those ten plants, we had all our family could eat, plenty to give away to friends, and at the end of the season about three times what you see above.

Of course, I then have to figure out what to do with all these left-overs.  My first technique has been to try to give away as many as possible.  Although I’ve never made them, many folks do rave about fried green tomatoes, so along with the nicest of the 23 green bell peppers I picked yesterday, I loaded a lot of green tomatoes into this basket and took them to church last night.

Greenness to give away

Greenness to give away

I plunked a sign in the basket that read, “FREE Green Tomatoes and Bell Peppers,” and I put some white paper bags beside it.  After church, most of the contents were gone, so I counted that a success.

A close-up.  Yes, I'm proud of the produce.  = )

A close-up. Yes, I’m proud of the produce.  = )

Of course, there are still QUITE a few green tomatoes left, and I have designs for some of them.  I threw out all the ones that had blemishes.  I loaded maybe 20 or so into a shoebox to make things with.  I have a recipe for green tomato pie, and I may try some relish or salsa.  Then I figure I really should do the fried green tomato thing at least once, as well.

The rest – probably 60 or so – are layered with newspaper in a box in the playroom to see if they will ripen.  If they do, that will be nice.  If they don’t, or if they just rot, I will throw them out and reckon it was a great year for tomatoes.  I have really enjoyed tending them and eating them, but I am ready to be done.  I am going to enjoy the extra time in the morning not watering, and if we have some sun this weekend, I’m going to dump the plants and clean and put away the pots, and won’t that closure just be marvelously satisfying?!?

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1 Response to “Jeopardy question: What is 230?”


  1. 1 projectbuddy November 7, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    I’ve used green tomatoes at this time of year to make chow chow and other types of relishes. With the green peppers too, that would be great!


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