When gardeners start the garden year, they have expectations of what they will grow and what the vegetables will look like when they harvest them. If you haven’t gardened before, the thing to know is that the plants, like us, have life spans. Meaning, they have a baby stage, a mid stage, a full grown stage and then start passing ripeness, grow too old and then return to the earth.
End of season means you must pick the remaining tomatoes,which coincides with picking the last of the herbs. There is nothing quite like pasta sauce made from freshly picked tomatoes, oregano and basil. End of season also means picking tomatoes no matter what stage they are in. Picking before frost means pick them all, no matter their color or size.There are uses for all the stages.
While you pick, look closely amongst the leaves. During the heat of summer days, plants become sneaky and you will find produce hidden in the garden. Luckily tomatoes are bright red, like a stop sign that says, Stop here! and Pick me! We are hidden way down here!
As you pick you can separate out the green ones. There are all sorts of recipes for green tomatoes. Google it, you will be surprised. You can also place them in windows to ripen or in brown paper bags, but you don’t want them to touch each other as they ripen this way. Green tomatoes should not be wasted. They have many delicious uses.
In the end, your fall harvest will be quite colorful and brighten your kitchen window sills as they ripen there in the sun.
When I cook salsa, pasta sauce and chutneys with the fall harvest, I still dream of next year’s perfect large ripe tomato for slicing into sandwiches. They never taste better than freshly picked while still warm from the sun.
I recommend the heirloom tomatoes for slicing, the taste is spectacular.