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Aug 23, 2000 08:05 AM

Green Tomatoes

  • c

Are green tomatoes just tomatoes that aren't ripe
yet or are they a kind of tomato that doesn't
get red? I've seen recipes calling for green
tomatoes and wonder if I can just pull some unripe
ones off the vine and use them.

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  1. While there are some great varieties of tomato that are green when fully ripe (Zebras come to mind), when a recipe specifies green tomatoes it is invariably calling for unripe tomatoes. And not extremely unripe--the usual supermarket tomato that is slightly green at the shoulders is plenty green enough.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Pepper

      I disagree about ripeness; you don't want hard-as-a-golf-ball green, but I think you want something that's still pretty green throughout. It should still be quite acidic, with a bit of sour tang. And as with ripe tomatoes, the best green tomatoes come from your own vine or a good small farmer. Mealy tomatoes are mealy tomatoes, whether green or ripe.

      1. re: Caitlin

        I concur. When green tomatoes are used for things like green tomato chutney or fried green tomatoes, you want unripe, green tomatoes, not partially ripened. And, though some books suggest this, green tomatoes are not a substitute for tomatillos, which are not a type of tomato at all, and do not taste the same.

    2. d
      Dan Silverman

      There are several varieties of tomato that have green pigmentation, but green tomatoes are green. They're not just unripe supermarket tomatoes, althought sometimes that's the best you can do. Begining in late May, early June vendors (farmers that is) at the NYC Greenmarkets started bringing them into town. These particular green tomatoes are quite green. They are quite acidic, but good for a number of things. Try the ubiquitous fried green tomato, or use them for soups or chutneys. Great with white meats or fish.