2 Ways to Have Fresh Tomatoes This Winter!

If you have a vine full of green tomatoes and an overnight frost just waiting to hit, I feel your pain. But you CAN pick and store those green tomatoes and enjoy them late into the fall or even early winter.  Here’s how!



The clock is ticking away on fall in Southern Ontario.  Like sand through the hour glass, these are the days of the scraggy looking garden.  The last dregs of tomatoes sit on the vines as green as can be but if you grab them before the frost hits you can ripen them inside your home and store them for the winter. I know.  It’s a tomato miracle.

Now, as someone who doesn’t even love tomatoes, I have a curiously HUGE desire to hang onto them as long as possible.  I might as well tell you. I kind of grew to enjoy tomatoes this summer. I still can’t pick them off the vine and eat them like an apple like some lunatics can, but I love them sliced into a salad with basil and balsamic vinegar. Buffalo mozzarella too if I’m feeling fancy. And especially flush with cash.

But I know, I just KNOW I won’t be buying tomatoes in the grocery store this winter. They’ll be gross and mealy and since I didn’t grow them myself, I won’t have the incentive to eat them. I’m sort of like a child that way. I’m more likely to eat a vegetable I’m not in love with if I grew it myself. I contemplated planting a big ham in the spring to see if I’d develop a taste for it.  Never got around to it.

If you, like me, want to hold onto the things in your garden for as long as possible, I have 2 ways to keep you in fresh tomatoes for the winter. Kind of. You’ll see what I mean.


 That’s right.  If you have a cherry tomato plant go outside right now and snip off a cutting.

A small sucker would do nicely.

Bring it inside and put it in a jar of water.




Tomatoes will grow roots almost overnight. Kay, maybe a week or so. They’re good like that.


Cutting Roots

Once a good solid base of roots has grown, (more than mine has here) plant it in a pot and put it in the sunniest, brightest windowsill you have.

If you’re lucky, by January or February you’ll have a teeny, tiny, tomato or two. At the very least you’ll have some fun.


Before really cold overnight temperatures hit, and definitely before the frost shows up, pick all of your unripe tomatoes.


Basket Of Tomatoes


Place a single layer of them in a basket, crate or cardboard box.

Place a sheet of newspaper over them.

Put down one more layer (no more ’cause the bottom ones will bruise) of tomatoes.

Many people suggest wrapping each tomato individually in newspaper or tissue paper.

I wasn’t about to do that with the amount of tomatoes I’m gonna have.

I may try it on a few of them just to see the difference though.

Judging by the small experiment I’ve done with these tomatoes here, it doesn’t look like the really unripe tomatoes with shiny skins are going to ripen.

So don’t bother with the really shiny, waxy looking ones.  Green is fine.  Completely immature and shiny is not.


Storing Tomatoes


Then all you have to do is bring them inside and put them in a cool room.

They’ll be ripe by Christmas.


Holding Tomatoes


The warmer the room, the more quickly they’ll ripen.

If you leave them in a warm place like your kitchen counter for a couple of weeks, they’ll be ripe and delicious in no time.

The same, incidentally, cannot be said for a great, big ham. It’ll just be ripe. 


  1. Madeline says:

    Thank you for the tips on storing green tomatoes in paper I am trying brown paper bags. Living in Wyoming we want to keep all the veggies we can coxes out of the ground.
    My great grandma had a recipe for green tomatoes chutney using green tomatoes it was delicious I tried it this year and it turned out really great too. I’ve always had green fried tomatoes thank you for the other person who commented with the batter I’ll have to try that too.

  2. Donna says:

    Hi folks
    I live in Washington State and have been gardening 5-6 yrs and need to say every year I learn something new and would never consider myself a pro.

    With that said I need to tell you it has been the hardest year ever. Temps ran in the high 90’s to 100+ Then we had smoke from fires so bad I couldn’t be outside longer then it took time to water my plants. I even moved patio umbrella’s to shade my plants 🤭. I fought ants, slugs and pincher bugs. I did everything organically. I found my veggies were starting to suffer from fruit end rot. So I resorted to putting tums at the base of my peppers, squash, cucumbers and zucchini because they lacked certain ingredients, one being magnesium. I even put down course sand at the base of my plants to keep the slugs away and resorted to put down gnat glass. I have to say I never found a slug fully grown just tiny little guys.

    After things started to settle down we were hit with heavy winds for a couple days. Then I found 100’s of fruit flies and every plant enemy you could imagine. I was ready to just torch the whole garden! After that everything went down hill my plants were covered with eggs of just about every insect imaginable. Believe me I used every organic method I could find. I thought I was winning the battle my tomatoes, herbs, everything was producing lots of fruit. For a couple weeks then the insects moved back in and everything started dying. Rather than spray and cut everything back again I ended pulling the worst plants out and sprayed them with heavy duty insect killer before putting them in our dumpster. The moths and other insects won but odd my plants are producing lots of fruit again. My bell peppers and chili went crazy I had more peppers then I knew what to do with. All my plants are covered with new blossoms and new fruit. So today I get a warning message saying we are expected to get a freeze tonight to protect my plants. Really! I am done. I picked dozens of green tomatoes and seems like hundred’s of cherry tomatoes. Lots of bell and peppers not really ready to pick but no way am I going to lose them to a freeze. I think I will just pull everything out this weekend and start new cuttings from my basil and other herbs and grow them indoors.

    Believe it or not I am already thinking what can I do next year to prevent the insect attack I had this year. My son put it well after hearing me whine. He looked over the fence at my neighbors yards who unfortunately don’t care about their yards and have grown a jungle of weeds. I have to admit I actually went into their yards and sprayed weed and insect spray in hopes of putting up some sort of barrier. He turned to me and said Mom if you were an insect living next door would you stay there or come over to this oasis? Well put he put it all in prospective.

    So I hope I didn’t bore anyone with my whining but can some one tell me what I can do to kill all of those insects bedding down for the winter ready to take out my garden next year? I know they are there should I put down some sort of insect killer to rid them before next year. Help I am serious 😢.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Donna! Unfortunately there’s no winning the battle against bugs. :/ The first thing you have to do is identify what kind of actual pests you have and then tackle them. For instance, I have trouble with leek moths, so to combat that you can either grow your onions, garlic and leeks under row cover for the whole season so the moths can’t get to them or you can do that AND add in a very specific type of beneficial insect that eats the eggs of the leek moth. You should always use two or three methods to eliminate or at least slow down insects. But like I said, the first step is to identify what exactly the pests and diseases are. Each plant will have it’s own problem. Slugs for example will be found when it’s rainy or too wet. They damage the fruit or vegetables, and then ants come in and eat out of the holes the slugs have made. So ants probably aren’t eating your plants on their own, they’re opportunistic, taking advantage of holes made by slugs. Get rid of the slugs and slug damage and your ant damage will be far less. Slugs can be kept under control by keeping things dry and very weeded so they have nothing to hide under. All lower leaves off, no dead leaves or straw in the garden for them to hide under etc. K. That’s my quick lesson. :) ~ karen!

    • Sarah says:

      I keep dandelions around to sustain bees when other food sources aren’t available and their deep roots are good for holding soil in place. Earthworms can always be found near them, so I can move them and their higher quality soil around to rougher patches of the yard to revitalize dead soil and bring life to clay. I also have harvested dandelion greens and consider herbicide and insecticide to be toxic to my side of the fence, the environment, and humans (see Monsanto lymphoma lawsuit and the impact of Imperils on evergreens – scary stuff). I hope my neighbors don’t get the wrong idea about what I care about, and I hope they never get the notion to spray my lawn. Slugs are not my favorite creatures either, so I feel your pain. I don’t know what the weather like is where you live, but dry spells force roots to go deeper, making the plants hardier. Maybe less frequent watering would help with your slug issue. Good luck!

  3. Annette Marchand says:

    Thank you for the helpful hints on storing green tomatoes for the winter. Other suggestions on vegetables for storage like squash? Peppers?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annette. Squash varieties react differently to long term storage. The thicker the skin the better they store usually. So a Grey Ghost will store better than an acorn. Also properly curing them before they’re stored helps. I store all my winter squash at around 4 degrees celsius (40 F) in a closed but ventilated cupboard and most of my varieties last into March or April if I’m lucky. :) Peppers? That’s a bit harder. I actually freeze mine whole (except red peppers which I roast then freeze) and pull them out when needed. I also dry hot peppers to turn into powder or crush into hot pepper flakes. ~ karen!

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  5. Barb says:

    I wrap my green tomatoes individually n newspaper ,and layer them with cardboard foam tray , in a cardboard box. They last

  6. antonio says:

    Will the first method work with any kind of tomatoe ??

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