Kid crafted wrapping
The first day of school

This is what remains

What remains

A few days ago, I suspected that our tomatoes were suffering from late blight.  I did a little research, but wasn't convinced until I saw the first rotting fruits.  At that point, I knew for sure.  I got up this morning, had a cup of coffee and then went outside to pull my tomato plants.  It was sad - I may have actually cried a little bit.  I harvested all the green tomatoes uneffected by the disease.  The rotting fruits and every part of all seven plants were closed up in large, plastic garbage bags to contain the blight.

The green tomatoes fill two large pyrex bowls and the better part of a shopping bag.  It would be a terrible shame to waste all this food.  I am hoping that some of them will ripen on my windowsills.   We will certainly fry some of them and I hope to find some recipes for pickled green tomatoes (like tomolives) or maybe even a green tomato relish.  If you have any tried and true recipes, would you email me (hillroad at bellsouth dot net) or comment with a link?  I'd appreciate that.

Also, if you are growing tomatoes in your garden this year, take a minute to educate yourself about late blight.  There was a great op-ed piece in the New York Times a couple of weeks ago and this video will show and tell you more.  Many farms and gardens have been effected by late blight this summer  - even Martha Stewart's tomatoes got it.  Left untreated, late blight will spread to other gardens and farms as it is an airborne disease.  Taking care of the problem is being a good and conscientious neighbor.  As much as it hurt me to lose our tomatoes, I know that pulling them was the best thing to do.

We won't be able to plant tomatoes or potatoes (it affects them both) in the same soil for a number of years.  I'm still researching, but I think there is a good chance we can plant some fall crops there now and other vegetables in the spring.  That's the silver lining for me.   That and the fact that I really wanted a third raised bed for next year.  If Fatty wants tomatoes, it looks like I'll get it.


heather smith jones

Those tomatoes will ripen. One year someone gave us a huge paper bag of green tomatoes, and lazy us, we kept them in there. Well, it turns out they ripened all together and were just fine!
Thanks for the links to info about late blight, I need to educate myself.

Tara Thayer

Oh, that does sound a bit heartbreaking. But they still look beautiful. I'll be checking back in your comments to see what people come up with for recipes. Green salsa sounds about right. So sorry for you, though.


Fried Green Tomatoes!! YUMMMM

Sorry to hear about your blight problem. Hopefully you can use a lot of them now and the rest will ripen beautifully!

Sarah's In the Midst of It

So sorry about your plants! We have a bunch, so I was relieved to read that the right conditions are wet, humid weather with mild temps. I live in super-hot, drought-ridden Texas, so I'm guessing mine will be okay! Unless they cook in their own skins, of course--it's 100 here today. :(

Karen at sew and sow life

Yes, sad, but very common this summer...Last fall, I volunteered at out local CSA. As we took down the tomato vines in October, there were still many green ones. We wrapped them in newspaper, packed them in boxes and set them aside in a cool spot, to put them on "hold". Took them out as needed and ripened them in paper bags.

I have a great recipe for piccalilli using green tomatoes, from my Great Uncle Quinn. Let me know if you'd like it. Also a recipe for green tomato chutney that I have not made, but looks good.


My mom and i have been making this green tomato hash for a few years, and love it!! it's so good, it keeps you from getting anxious for your toms to ripen!

I've it posted on my recipe blog at

Sorry about your plants!! And thanks for passing along the info to us about late blight.


Gosh, I feel your pain....I too am so sad to have lost my small crop of tomato plants (I live in the lower Hudson Valley of NY)....I picked all the red/semi-red ones today and am making a quick sauce. Going out tomorrow morning to pick all the green ones and pull the plants before we leave for vacation (many, many green ones). Hopefully, they'll ripen slowly....and we'll be eating many fried green tomatoes. Did yours become infected quickly? Mine went from being unbelievably beautiful and healthy to sick and rotting almost overnight.


You have me worried now. Some of our tomatoes look a little weird, but I figured it was because our plants are so dense no light can reach the fruit. There are also dying, yellow and brown leaves at the bottoms of some plants. Clearly I need to check our some of your links, though I did read the NYT article when it came out.

I've had this recipe for green tomato relish bookmarked for years, after a homesteading blog I read swore up and down how good it is. In fact they were so sad last year when they had no green tomatoes at the end of the season, and had to do without the relish. Of course, I may end up using the recipe myself soon.


Oh, crud! I am so sorry. I know what a treasure each and every homegrown tomato in your garden was. I hope and hope each year my friends who garden will part with a few to me. My fingers are crossed for some ripening for yours.


I usually make a green salsa at the end of the summer with green tomatoes - add cilantro, green hot pepper, tomatillos, onion, cumin, - really, anything you like in a salsa. Rather than canning it, I just freeze 2 cup portions in freezer bags. Then all winter, I put the frozen salsa in rice & beans, chili, burritos, you name it, while it is cooking. It is a little taste of summer in the middle of winter.

chicago sarah

It's hitting here too (or rather, Wisconsin). We have a share in a organic CSA and just got an email today that they have late blight. Apparently they are spraying copper on the plants, so we will have to wash them carefully before we eat the tomatoes. I'm bummed out about that, can only imagine your disappointment...


That's so sad, but thank you for the links, I had no idea blight hit tomatoes too (and not just potatoes). I'll certainly be keeping an eye on mine.


Oh no! So disappointing for you, e. We're suffering from The Blight up here in Maine too. It has been devastating for the farmers. Hey, those tomolives are fantastic in martinis. I hope you get some great recipe ideas for green tomatoes. xo


Oh no. Devastating.
My aunt in Vermont had to pull up all of her tomatoes yesterday, and she said she couldn't stop crying.
The Ball Blue Book has lots of recipes for canning stuff made of green tomatoes, my favorite is the Piccalilli Recipe. Let me know if you don't have it and I will email it to you - it is truly fabulous stuff. I can't eat a tuna fish sandwich without it.
And now I am going to go check my tomatoes.


Leaving tomatoes in a closed paper bag REALLY does work for ripening them! In fact, they'll ripen slowly so you can enjoy them through the rest of the summer. Just make sure to put at least 1 ripe one in there, something about that seems to help. We've done this successfully every summer for those late tomatoes that cling on after it gets cold! Works like a charm! So sorry for your loss, here's to raised beds!


They'll definitely ripen. A couple of years ago my tomatoes just kept producing and producing right up to the first hard freeze. I picked all the green tomatoes and put them in paper bags under the baby bed in our room. (where else could I have put that many green tomatoes?? we had 16 tomato plants!)

I had fresh, newly ripend tomatoes from late October until Christmas!!


Erin, dito what Clarissa said. Several years ago when we didn't have a frost until November, I still had green tomatoes up until right before thanksgiving. I kept them on the windowsill and they did ripen. I had cherry tomatoes that were ripe (on the windowsill!) at Christmas.

Good video. Glad to see that mine are simply unhappy, not blighted.


chipmunks, squirrels, and a very large groundhog beat the blight in my garden. but i still feel your pain erin! i would have cried too.

from all of the previous comments it sounds like the green ones will still ripen, so that's a bit of good news! and a third raised bed next year? well, that's not too bad either!

btw-this is a gorgeous photo!


what!?! how do you know when you can plant the tomatoes there again?


How sad! I watched the video and I am glad that you are getting the word out. thank you.


You're kidding, that sucks! I'm sure you can find some good recipes. There was a dogwood blite that supposedly swept through NC and all the dogwood trees when I was a kid, this blite stuff is serious business. I'm so sorry.


Oh! How sad! My condolences. I LOVE tomatoes, and I would be heartbroken if I had to pull all of my tomato plants, especially with so many green fruits.


I think I would cry too. That's sad. I have made green salsa before from green tomatoes. I just use the same recipe that I use for canned or ripe tomatoes. In mine there's garlic, green onion, lime juice, cilantro, and whatever tomatoes. Jalapeno if you like it spicy. If you use green ones you have to cook them down first. I cooked mine down in the summer, froze them, and then made the salsa for Christmas gifts. It was really pretty. I'm sure you'll be able to find some good recipes.


Oh Erin I'm so sad for you! Thanks for this info - I need to educate myself about it right now. I think I have a yard full of healthy tomatoes, but now I'm not so sure...


Blight is a curse. But the blessing comes in the form of green tomato mincemeat. My blighted tomatoes a few years ago became the best tasting mincemeat ever had. Although anything with tons of sugar and spice can become tasty. Seriously though, i got so many compliments on my mince tarts and mincemeat cheesecake that year.

French Knots

As we have had several sun free summers here in my little corner of England so no red ones on the vine, I ripen mine by putting them in a cardboard box with a lid and popping a banana in with them. Works for me!

Jane Weston

It's our first year growing tomatoes and we've had great luck ripening them in a paper bag.

Meg Evans

Thanks for the links. It looks like all those weird looking tomatoes I've been pulling off and chucking are in fact blighted. There go five plants...

kelly jo

A lot of people are having problems with tomatoes this year. We have only gotten 3 off our plants, and my in-laws and everyone in their neighborhood has lost all of their plants. Very sad...


Green Tomato Pie is yummy. I'll try and find my recipe, but basically I slice enough for a pie. Some folks peel them, I don't. Cook them for about 5 minutes in a bit of water, then treat like apples in your pie. Toss with flour and cinnamon and sugar, pour into pie shell, top and bake.


We had it hit hard here too-


oh no. that blight sounds like an awful thing!!!!

and YAY to a third bed! :)


Your tomatoes will be most likely to ripen if you keep them in an enclosed dark space. I put mine in a cupboard, but paper bags will also work. Best of luck with finding a variety of uses for the ones that stay green!


Thanks for posting this. Last night I showed to the pictures to my husband, and he said no no no, no blight here. This morning he came upstairs and said -- you jinxed me - we've got it! I made a green tomato chutney from Martha Stewart a few years ago -- it was okay, but I'm watching this space for other recipe ideas!


Man, I'm so sorry this happened to you. As I've said, I'm concerned for my own plants too. Thanks for putting the word out there for others to learn about it, and take the right measures to help other home gardeners if they get infected too. And I'm glad you mentioned the option of putting in some fall crops. If I do get infected, I'll remember that that is the silver lining. :)


Erin - so sorry to hear about your tomato plants. My family LOVES them as well. I appreciate the information you linked to as well. I was smart enough to actually plant seeds this year, but normally we buy starter plants and go from there. And, how cool is it to learn you can ripen tomatoes in a paper bag too? I always put mine on the window sill for a little extra redness!


Erin, I'm so sorry to hear your garden was struck by blight. I fear it and check my tomatoes every morning and evening. So far, so good. Unfortunately my zucchini, squash and pumpkin plants are sick with both downy and powdery mildew -- another sad result of all the rain we've had in New England this summer.

Here's hoping you find a great way to use up all your delicious green tomatoes.


I made a wonderful green tomato chutney last year. It's from a book called Stocking Up, by Rodale Press. Worth tracking down!


Oh no, what a shame! I just pulled up most of our little garden because of pests. Darned insects are eating everything before they ripen. I wasn't too heartbroken about it because the plants were pretty much spent at this point.


One year I made a pie using green tomatoes. I found the recipes online somewhere. I don't have it now though.

It ended up being really good. It tasted like apple pie.


i made quiche one year w/a mix of green and red tomatoes simply because i wouldn't have had enough and it was late in the year. we realized that we preferred the green tomatoes in the quiche. they held up texture wise, and were very tasty. i now make quiche w/only green tomatoes.


I made this relish last year with about 30 lbs of green tomatoes, and we're just now getting to the end of it all. It's amazing in potato salad, chicken salad, etc, and my son likes it on his hot dogs... Ours turned out a little runny and has a smoky taste to it because I tried to sextuple the recipe in one giant stockpot, which I do not recommend doing. the smoky flavor is from it scorching to the bottom of the pot ;) I think doubling the recipe would be ok, but any bigger of a batch and you'll be making things harder


Sometimes you can cause things to ripen if you put them in a paper bag with some ripe bananas. Crazy I know but it could work.

amy h

Oh my, that's so sad! I didn't think the blight was going as far west as you. I hope it doesn't make it here. Not that I have as many tomatoes as you though. :) I hope you find some good recipes for all those green tomatoes!


ohhhh geeee, our four organically grown tomato plants look strange... can it be... I hope NOT, we live in Ireland and those microorganisms won't cross the Atlantic, won't they???


A couple of weeks ago a storm came and knocked a ton of green babies off my tomato plants (which I thought had the blight but ended up just having a virus of some sort). I set them out and they ripened away. I'm so sorry that your tomatoes got is a huge bummer so late in the season!


I have a recipe for Green Tomato Chutney, if you want it...


that would make me sad, too!
i have successfully made green tomato salsa using the salsa recipe in the ball blue book canning book. i will say it comes out with too much vinegar to my taste, so i scale back the vinegar, leaving at least a ratio of 1/4 cups vinegar to 8 cups tomatoes.


Oh that's heartbreaking! Thank you for sharing the video and info. I don't have any suggestions other than let 'em ripen or fried green :) I understand they ripen faster in a paper bag.


Wow, it is so hard to lose the hope of tomatoes from your yard! Arghhh...I just lost a beehive and have been heartsick about that.

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