How to use Green Tomates

comments (5) October 14th, 2010

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WesternGardener Jodi Torpey, contributor
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A basket of green tomatoes hints at the variety of delicious recipes that await creative cooks.Click To Enlarge

A basket of green tomatoes hints at the variety of delicious recipes that await creative cooks.

Photo: Jodi Torpey

I'm ready to hang up my gardening gloves for the season, but my tomato plants aren't quite ready to quit yet. Even though night-time temperatures are dropping into the 40s, some of my tomato plants are still covered in blossoms. It won't be long until the first freeze claims the last brave tomato vines still full of green tomatoes.

Before that can happen, I'll hurry into the veggie garden and pick all the remaining green gems that won't have time to ripen on the vine. It's a welcome end-of-season ritual because it signals the end of the gardening season and the beginning of using green tomatoes in my cooking.

Generations of creative cooks have made the most of this harvest by using green tomatoes in all kinds of recipes. Green tomatoes can be sautéed, stewed, roasted, fried, made into relish or chutney, stirred into soup, baked into bread or cake, and preserved by canning or freezing. There are hundreds of recipes available online that show I'm not the only gardener who appreciates tomatoes still wrapped in green.

Once all the green fruit is harvested, I sort the tomatoes according to size and color.

Mature green tomatoes are a good size and have started to change color from green to a light white or barely pink. Because these tomatoes will eventually ripen, I wrap them individually in newspaper and keep them in a cool, dark cupboard. Over several weeks, I'll check their progress every few days. I look forward to opening up each little bundle and always feel like I've won a nice prize when I find a bright red tomato hiding inside.

In sorting through the remaining immature green fruit I stack them in piles depending on how I plan to use them. Some of the larger ones will be cut into quarters, placed in a roasting pan, drizzled with olive oil, and slow roasted for several hours. I'll refrigerate this batch to use as a condiment to accompany meat or curry dishes.

Smaller green tomatoes will be washed, cored, and diced for freezing in convenient two-cup packets. These chopped tomatoes have a future as a tasty veggie to be tossed or blended into vegetable soup, sautéed and added to omelets or other egg recipes, simmered into stews, or baked into other dishes that benefit from their bright, piquant flavor.

With careful planning, I'll be able to enjoy my green tomatoes until it's time to plant some more.

posted in: tomatoes, green tomatoes

Comments (5)

bobbyevans6 writes: Well Done..
Posted: 1:38 am on January 2nd
lpnpeds60 writes: Not really a comment - If anyone has recipe for Chunky Stewed Tomatoes if you not mind I would love you to e-mail it to me. Have lots of tomatoes and need to do some stewed ones and unable to find a recipe for chunky. Thanks. (e-mail,[email protected])
Posted: 3:28 pm on November 3rd
WesternGardener writes: Glad to hear other gardeners appreciate green tomatoes as much as I do. I really like the idea of green tomato salsa. I hadn't thought of that!
Posted: 2:18 pm on October 16th
LeslieinPayson writes: Green tomato salsa is good- I process (could just chop) the green tomamtoes, green onions, cilantro, lime juice, and chili peppers. Green tomato pickles are good, too. We're so warm I may not have any left green this year.
Posted: 3:24 pm on October 15th
Ruth writes: This post is very timely for me, Jodi. Here in SW Connecticut, I'm on frost watch. We've had a couple of close calls, but I haven't brought in all the tomatoes yet. When I do harvest everything, I keep them in boxes. My house is "cool" (and that's a major understatement), but even so, it's important to check the stash frequently and remove any tomatoes that show even the smallest signs of rot.
Posted: 9:56 am on October 15th
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