Our tomato plants began to die out in November, yet there were plenty of tomatoes that needed to be picked. There were dozen of tomatoes in different shades of red, green, and yellow. We snapped off clusters of the tomatoes that were still green, hoping that keeping the stem attached would encourage them to ripen. We had already had mornings with frost on the ground, so the tomatoes were not going to last much longer if they remained outside.
Tomatoes can continue to ripen indoors in a warm area. Despite popular belief, you do not need to put tomatoes on a sunny windowsill to ripen. Light actually causes the tomatoes to rot. It’s warmth, not light, that ripens green tomatoes. Interestingly enough, placing a banana in a paper bag with unripe tomatoes will also speed up the process. This is because bananas naturally release ethylene gas, a small hydrocarbon that is known as the aging hormone in plants.
Along with a bagful of tomatoes, we picked a handful of dragon peppers from the dying pepper plant, whose leaves were starting to droop and brown.