|Some of last year's tomatoes; taken October 2011.|
A couple dozen of these look ready to move to the kitchen.
Our first frost was last weekend, so we picked all the tomatoes we could find on our vines, whether they were ripe or not. We didn't have nearly as many greenies as we did last year, but there were still a couple hundred, I guess.
I don't want that many sitting around on my kitchen table or in my kitchen window waiting to turn red, so I set up the seed starter rack (mini greenhouse) in the basement. Any cool dark place, like a garage or cellar, will do. I left off the see-thru plastic cover and put a layer of cardboard on the shelves to keep the really small tomatoes from falling though (paper would work, too). I placed all the green tomatoes on the shelves and covered the entire rack with plastic. In our case, we had some very large white plastic bags used to dispose of natural Christmas trees. You could use large trash bags, tarps or whatever you have on hand. Cloth sheets will work, but not as well as plastic. The plastic covering not only blocks out direct sunlight, but also traps in gasses that help the tomatoes get ripe.
Every couple of days, I will go down to the basement and check for tomatoes that are turning red. Once they have a decent tint (about half-ripe) I'll gather those and bring them upstairs to sit on the table to ripen in the sunlight. I don't mind a few tomatoes at a time sitting around in my kitchen.
You're mileage may vary, but we've found that this method works better than any other for us. They'll never taste as good as if they had ripened on the vine, but they are still so much better tasting than store-bought tomatoes.