Green tomatoes…overlooked gems

Green is Good

Tomatoes, to me, seem to be about the easiest garden plant to grow. They can basically break in half, they will mend themselves and still grow, you can grow an entire new plant from a broken stem and they really don’t require too much attention. Every year is different, weather wise, but no matter when the frost arrives, there are always tons of green tomatoes. The first thing that comes to mind of course, are fried green tomatoes, which was one of my great grandmother’s favorite things to have, but there are so many more things that you can do with green tomatoes, it almost pains me to see and hear how people just discard them or let them rot on the vine.

Here in Indiana, we have had a constant threat of frost, because of that and the fact that we have already canned 118 pounds of red tomatoes, I just decided to pick whatever was green, use them and be done with tomatoes, it is October after all. I probably had about 35 pounds of green tomatoes, I know…crazy, but we did have 20 tomato plants, and from that we did the following…

rosemary tomatoesRosemary Pickled Green Cherry Tomatoes

I like these, but I am the only one in the family. I love salt and vinegar anything and that is what these are, so yummy. They also are good on an antipasto platter, see below. Also, any small variety tomato would work, grape, pear and so on.

Ingredients; 1 quart of tomatoes, 1 tsp salt, 2 cups vinegar, 4 cloves of garlic or equivalent minced, 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary

How to; Wash tomatoes, combine salt, vinegar in a saucepan and boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Pack garlic, rosemary and tomatoes* into jars (sterilize jars first) and then ladle the vinegar mixture into jars. Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes. Makes 4 half pints (or 2 pints or 1 quart)

*It is recommended to prick each tomato to stop the skins from cracking open, however, having done it both ways, there is not much difference to account for the extra work.

To prepare for the antipasto platter; drain the liquid from the jar and combine it with 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 tsp each of minced fresh oregano, rosemary and thyme and 1/4 tsp of both kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Once mixed, add the drained tomatoes, stirring to coat and refrigerate over night. 

Verde pasta sauceSauteed Garlic and Pepper Verde Pasta Sauce

I love this, it is really good and my kids like it, despite it looking like it does 🙂 . I have added a pint of this to boiled pasta in lieu of traditional sauce. I have also made a box of white cheddar mac and cheese and added a couple Tbsps to each bowl, both went over well.

Ingredients; Oil or equivalent, enough to saute, I actually used bacon grease , 1/2 cup of minced garlic, 4 medium red and/or yellow peppers, seeded and cut to your preference (diced, minced, put in the food processor and so on, I diced them), 12 pounds green tomatoes, 3 Tbsp of packed brown sugar, 2 Tbsp salt, 1 Tbsp of Balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp of pepper, 2 cups of fresh basil snipped or chopped, 1 cup of fresh cilantro snipped or chopped, 7 Tbsp of bottled lemon juice*

How to; Wash and clean tomatoes. Cut tomatoes, removing cores and any blemishes. (Green tomatoes do not need to have skins peeled.) Depending on size of your food processor, I had to work in a couple batches, put tomatoes in the processor and allow to chop considerably but not liquefy. Place tomatoes in a heavy non-stick sauce pot. Add the garlic, brown sugar, salt vinegar and pepper to the tomato mixture. Bring to a boil, then simmer/low boil for an hour. Stirring occasionally.

While waiting for the tomato mixture to boil, in a saute pan, with oil or grease, saute the peppers until the peppers become soft but not mushy. At the hour mark for the tomato mixture, add the peppers to the mixture and keep on heat for another 10 minutes. Lastly, remove from heat and add the basil and cilantro, stir.

*To can in a boiling water caner, sterilize jars, add 1 Tbsp of lemon juice to each jar, ladle mixture in and process for 35 minutes. This makes about 7 pints (or 3 quarts+). You could just freeze the mixture and then would not need to add the lemon juice.

Salsa verdeGranny’s Manzana Salsa Verde

This is a nice salsa and great for people who don’t like onions or those whom onions don’t like, as there are none. The apples add a nice texture and for a sweeter salsa, a different apple could be used. This recipe is a small batch and could be made for a gathering or party instead of canning.

Ingredients; 2 pounds of green tomatoes, 2 cups or about 3 medium finely chopped tart apples (I used granny smith), 1/2 cup or 1 small red sweet pepper, 1/2 sup cider vinegar, 1/4 cup finely chopped jalapeno (more for more heat), 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 chopped or snipped cilantro and tsp salt.

How to; Wash, core and chop tomatoes, in a stainless steel pot combine the tomatoes and other ingredients, bring to boil, once boiling reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

To can, sterilize jars, ladle mixture in and process in boiling water canner for 10 minutes. Makes 4 half pints (2 pints or 1 quart)

cut green tomatoesPineapple and Green Tomato Chutney

This is delicious, very sweet with a hit of heat. I only used 1 pepper so that the kids could try it, substituting the peppers called for in the recipe, a jalapeno might also reduce heat. This could be used as a marinade, a dipper to coconut shrimp or chicken, on a cream cheese bagel or mixed with cream cheese as a dip or just accompanied with an array of cheeses and meats.

Ingredients; 3 pounds of green tomatoes, cored and chopped like the picture above, 4 cups of sugar, 2 cups of chopped fresh pineapple, 1 cup water, 2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger, 1 tsp shredded lime peel, 2 Tbsp minced garlic (about 6 cloves), 1 cup snipped or chopped cilantro, 1/2 cup of snipped or chopped mint, 1-2 Thai or Serrano chile peppers finely chopped.

How to; Wash and core tomatoes, chop, shred and measure ingredients, combine all ingredients except cilantro, mint and chile peppers, into a heavy sauce pot and bring to boil, stirring frequently. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for an hour or until the mixture thickens, then stir in the cilantro, mint and chile peppers.

I did not freeze this but I would assume it would freeze fine like a jelly or jam would. If canning, sterilize your jars and process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes. Makes 6 half pints (or 3 pints).


Well, I hope that inspires you to use some of your green tomatoes! After this year, I will never view them the same, they really are very good in many ways, though fried is still a yummy option and in fact, I might make some tonight with the last few green tomatoes we have.

🙂 Bet and fam

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