Wednesday, 27 August 2014

ripening tomatoes

Really got slack at this blogging thing recently.
But, as you'd expect, not spent the time away from the blog watching people play video games.

My daily routine is to let the hens out and then do half an hours work in the polytunnel (hoop house) where we have tomatoes, aubergines  cucumbers and chillies growing. This year our tomato varieties have included Gardeners' Delight & Tigerella. Next year we'll choose varieties that give maximum yield as well as that essential 'home grown' flavour.
 In the polytunnel, its been hot. Tooo hot in fact during the early part of the month and no tomatoes ripened.

A web search found this research from the University of Stamford:
  • Tomatoes ripen at 21-24C (70-75F)
  • and ripening stops above 85F 29.4C when pigments carotene & lycopene cannot be produced. 
Their advice is to pick when showing first signs of ripening and store at room temperature.

So, it was too hot for tomatoes to ripen, but I've improved the ventilation down there and temperatures have dropped as the heatwave ended.

And tomatoes are ripening. We've had over 10kg so far. My lovely cousin Sue advised me to simply pop surplus ripened tomatoes into a bag and freeze them whole. They will shed their skins easily in defrosting.

And so, the old rhythm of our life, which was so important to us but was lost in 2011 when we began this project, is slowly returning. There really are few satisfactions to match growing your own food.

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