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what to do with green tomatos?

  • k

i've got nearly a bushel of heirloom tomatos that didn't ripen here in the upper midwest. an suggestions on what i can do with them?

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  1. There's a pretty interesting recipe for green tomato jam in the cookbook, "The Italian Country Table" by Lynn Kaspar. It is kindof like a chunky jam that you can put on top toast with ricotta cheese or even use to top a tart. I made it a few weeks ago and keep it in the freezer and it is good with an unusual but very authentic Italian kind of flavor. I imagine it would also be great alongside savory foods.

    Let's see if I can remember the general concept of the recipe:

    core and chop up 1 pound tomatoes into 1 inch chunks. Add 3/4 cup sugar and Let stand 24 hours in a non-reactive bowl. You should have a fair amount of juice released. Then put tomatoes with juice in a non-reactive pan, add zest of one lemon plus the lemon chopped into small chunks (seeds removed), along with a cinnamon stick, pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper and simmer gently on the stove about 20-40 minutes until the juice thickens to syrupy. Use in two weeks or keep in freezer.

    There is a similar recipe online here:


    It does require an extra step (boiling it all again).

    And another:

    Let us know what you decide to do!

    1. Try pickling tomatoes - much like cucumbers/pickles.

      Or how about the good old standby - use some for fried green tomatoes.

      1. how about fried green tomatoes? if you cholesterol isn't too high. ;)

        use green toms that are nice and firm.

        slice thickly, salt & pepper
        dredge in egg
        coat w/ mix of corn meal & flour (sometimes i add a little cayenne to this mix)
        fry in bacon fat until browned. the fat should be nice and hot, so as to cook the tomatoes quick. you don't want them to be soft.

        eat quick when hot, while the breading is crunchy... (usually standing by the stove... ice cold beer in hand) I find most people can't eat more than 2-4 slices a piece.

        you have to use the bacon fat, cooking them in oil just doesn't work. some people make blt's out of them, but that is way overkill in my book. I have made "dinner" out of them, by serving them with a bacon/spinach salad... but that was almost death by pork products. (you can keep them crisp on a cookie sheet in the oven, on low heat, if you are trying to make a larger quantity.) but they don't keep well and really aren't very good leftover... the breading gets too mushy.

        anyway.. worth trying once. :)

        1. I make a salsa/pico de gallo from them. Chop 'em, add chopped red onion, cilantro, chopped jalapeno pepper. Tastes similar to a tomatillo relish. (I've also made fried green tomatoes---yummy)

          1. I got this one from my farmer's market book. An uncooked pasta sauce:

            Finely chop the tomatoes (you could process them, but the sauce gets a little runny that way).
            Add minced garlic to taste. One clove per tomato is a decent amount. Add some red pepper flakes (also to taste), salt, pepper, and evoo (maybe 2 tbsp for each medium to large tomato). Let all that marinate together for at least an hour, then toss w/freshly cooked pasta and grated parmesan. If it's a warm day, this is wonderful as a cold pasta dish too.

            1. I had the same problem last year and everything I did with the tomatoes was successful.

              They make great BLTs. I tried it using the tomatoes raw, and also fried -- both good, but I actually preferred them raw.

              Makes a nice salsa, different than using tomatillos. Of course, this is also a good way to use up a bunch of them.

              My favourite might have been the tomato pie. It used a mixture of red & green, w/ the ratio favouring the greens so it had a tart & sweet taste.

              1. The best thing I ever had made with green tomatos was green tomato ketchup, bought at a farmer's market. It managed to be sweet and tart at the same time. I've googled up recipes before, but haven't ever tried making it.

                1. I had fried green tomatoes for the first time last weekend - we were visiting my grandmother in Minnesota, and my mother made them from her bushels of unripe tomatoes. They were like candy - sour, salty candy - but I couldn't get enough of them.

                  This same grandmother (87 yrs old and still living on her farm) takes the unripe ones, wraps them individually in newspaper, then stores them in the garage to ripen.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: miss_mia

                    Your grandmother wrapped the tomatoes in newspaper and stored them in the garage until ripe. Was the garage heated or not and about how long did it take for them to ripen?

                    1. re: A Hinman

                      I wrap them in newspaper and put in a brown paper bag, and leave in the kitchen. They ripen one at a time, you have to check them every day or so to see which ones are starting. Once they have a little red, you can put them in the sunshine to finish.

                      1. re: coll

                        Just made sauce today from green tomatoes that ripened to red in the kitchen. House-ripened tomatoes aren't great for eating raw, I usually cook with them. I pulled the plants up last month to make room for kale and chard. I don't wrap them, simply leave the tomatoes out on the counter or in a basket to ripen. Some people pull up the whole plants and hang them upside down in a shed or garage.

                  2. Here is the recipe, based on the the one given to me by my lovely friend Oakley:

                    This makes a sweet and zingy chutney that can be as spicy (or not) as you like. You may use green tomatoes or ripe apples.

                    1 seeded and chopped lemon and rind (use thin-rinded lemons sliced finely or use just the zest of thick-rinded lemons)

                    1 garlic clove

                    5 c. chopped green tomatoes or ripe apples

                    2 1/4 c. brown sugar

                    1 1/2 c. raisins, brown or golden

                    3/4 c. fresh ginger root, minced or diced (depending on your size preference)

                    1 1/2 t. salt

                    1/4 t. cayenne or equivalent in fresh thai chilies (or more!)

                    2 t. mustard seed, yellow or black

                    2 c. cider vinegar

                    Basically you just put it all in a pot and boil the heck out of it until everything is cooked and soft. I haven't tried sterile canning--I generally just put it in a boiled jar and lid and keep it in the fridge and use as needed. (I'm too chicken to experiment with canning things without a recipe approved by the state extension service.) It's righteously strong stuff with all the sugar, vinegar, and ginger, so be sure to crack a window or two when cooking it. My brother says when I made it the first time he could smell it a block away on his way home from school. I usually add a little more garlic and some black peppercorns. Oakley says you can add onions or chopped peppers, but she has never tried those. I think using both apples and tomatoes would give a great texture.

                    1. PICKLE THEM! I love pickled green tomatoes.