One of my earliest childhood memories is the kitchen of my paternal grandmother. It was a tiny room with baby blue walls and a hulking white enamel, coal fired stove. A harvest gold refrigerator sat catty-corner across from the stove and was always filled with Hershey’s fudge pops. And next to the fridge, were two high windows where she would put her green tomatoes to ripen.
Recently, I read an article on the best ways to ripen green tomatoes. Place them in a brown paper bag with a well ripened banana or apple. Individually wrap them in newspaper and store in a cool dark room. Pull out the vines, leaving the tomatoes attached, and hang the entire thing. But never, EVER ripen them on the windowsill.
Was I doing it wrong all these years? Gramma did it and we all survived. There was no plague or pestilence. Why were we not struck down by an arrant lightning bolt or bowled over by an asteroid because of our tomato faux pas? Was my entire childhood a lie?!?!
So, I grabbed a paper bag, put in two green tomatoes, jammed a ripened banana in there, rolled the bag closed and let it sit on my counter for three days. I took the other tomatoes and set them on the windowsill.
Three days later…
…my windowsill tomatoes (top left) were ripening and my banana-gassed tomatoes were still as green as a shamrock shake.
TIP: if you’re going to ripen tomatoes on the windowsill, just make sure the sun isn’t continually beating down on them – they will cook in the heat.