It never fails. Sometime in October, the weather forecaster will announce a frost warning. I can kiss all of my beautiful peppers, eggplants, melons, and tomatoes goodbye. It is a depressing time of year for me.
You can try to stave off the death of your tender plants by covering them with blankets or floating row covers. This will buy them a few degrees of warmth — sometimes, that's all they need to keep growing for a couple more weeks.
But when the time comes to give in to fate, that winter is coming whether I like it or not, I head out to the garden with a big bowl to harvest every last tomato. Whether they're slightly pink, yellowish, or solid green, I pick them. Not a single tomato goes to waste in this household.
The tomatoes that are already turning color will be set on the kitchen counter to finish ripening. They'll be tasty — almost as tasty as those that ripened on the vine.
But, what to do with all of those green tomatoes that were left on the plants? These, too, will ripen over the next few months if stored properly. They won't be as tasty, or as juicy, as the ones I enjoyed all summer long. But they will be real tomatoes from my own garden, and still insanely better than anything I can buy in the supermarket from November through May.