At home with several carrier bags full I took stock. Part of my mind was swimming with thoughts of the Ebola outbreak that was on the news. By putting all the tomatoes together in one carrier bag, was I condemning the healthy tomatoes to contract blight too or was it just spread by bodily fluids through the stalks of the plant? Would there be an uprising from the healthy tomatoes once they realised they had been quarantined in bags, condemned to watching the other tomatoes slowly die or dying themselves?
Back to the tomatoes. First I sorted through all the tomatoes, removing stalks and tops and checking for the slightest speck or imperfection that may indicate blight. Even perfect tomatoes with blight on the tops got put in the contaminated pile and wrapped together in mass newspaper bundles to be binned.
The remaining tomatoes were washed and dried.
Then I decided to experiment. There is so much advice about the best way to ripen green tomatoes. I recently read it isn't the light or heat, but ethylene emitted by ripe tomatoes that encourages the other tomatoes to ripen. Ethylene is also emitted by bananas apparently. So I divided my tomatoes up. The first tray was left open on a sunny windowsill. The next bunch I wrapped up in newspaper with a banana skin. Wrapping meant no sunlight but would hopefully keep the ethylene from dispersing. It may also be slightly warmer than the open tray. The third batch was wrapped with a whole ripe banana (slightly more wasteful than a banana skin).
The fourth and fifth batches were just tomatoes wrapped up, but one had just green tomatoes in the photo above, whereas all the rest of the batches had some orange tomatoes included. The final experiment was to put some of the tomatoes in a glass jar, so that they would get sunlight, warmth and ethylene...in theory. Any guesses which method worked the best??
Even the batch of only green tomatoes that were wrapped had ripened more than the ones with the banana!
.... and how they had ripened a week later below.
The photo doesn't do it justice though, because we ate the ripest ones through the week, so there were even more ripe ones than shown. There were also still a few blighty ones in each batch too that were removed.
I'll admit it is not entirely scientific and hasn't covered all variations of tomato ripening that are possible, but really - just leave them open on a windowsill :-)