A week or so ago I finally gave up on my tomatoes ever ripening on the vine. The weather was getting cooler and I was going to lose them all if I didn't do something soon.
I hated to do it, but I went out and picked the biggest tomatoes and brought them in. The bushes, I ripped them up by the roots and laid them aside to go in the compost bin.
I counted 47 greener-than-a-gourd tomatoes. These were even too green to make fried green tomatoes.
In the back of my little brain there was a memory niggling around. I finally worked it to the surface and did what my granny use to do with tomatoes at the end of the season.
I put my 47 too-green tomatoes in a brown paper bag with an apple and rolled down the top, setting the bag aside to do it's thing.
I let a few days go by and checked on it. Low and behold! I had 4 red, ripe tomatoes. Hooray!
I took those out and closed up the bag. I've been doing this every couple of days for a week and I'm nearly out of too green tomatoes.
The kids think this is amazing. They want to know how I did it. How did I get those red tomatoes in that bag with the green ones and the apple? I just tell them it's helping nature along.
I'd love to go into the whole gas exchange, dark environment, ripening thing with them, but I know they're little eyes would glaze over and I'd lose them the first time I said ethylene oxide.
So for now, it seems like magic.