Cooking green tomatoes

Posted: Friday 26 September 2014
by Kate Bradbury

I know many gardeners who use green tomatoes to make chutney, and others who throw them on the compost heap. But why don’t more of us eat them?

Unripe tomatoes

I grew several varieties of tomato this year: ‘Sungold’ and ‘Ferline’ on the allotment, and the new ‘Indigo Rose’, a black tomato, at home. All the plants got blight – even the so-called blight-resistant ‘Ferline’. I lost a huge amount of fruit but managed to salvage some of it, although I did end up with an awful lot of green tomatoes.

I can’t be bothered with trying to ripen my haul – the fruit will never taste as sweet as those which were sun-ripened on the vine. And some proved quite hard to ripen – an email from Suttons confirmed that I was not alone in being unable to ripen ‘Indigo Rose’. Apparently the fruits are so loaded with antioxidants that this slows down the ripening process. The tomatoes do eventually turn wine red (with a pretty black splodge), but failing that, they’re green.

I know many gardeners who begrudgingly use green tomatoes to make chutney, and others who simply throw them on the compost heap. But why don’t more of us eat them? I wonder if half of the problem is that green tomatoes symbolise the end of summer. We are so busy being grumpy about there being no sun to ripen them that we don’t give them a chance in the kitchen.

A couple of years ago I made a fantastic green tomato relish, but this year I just got on with eating them. The combination of differently coloured tomatoes looks pretty, and I have used my haul in several dishes, including Yotam Ottolenghi’s tomato galette recipe and a tomato sauce to accompany home-made baked beans. I also made a rather wonderful curry, in which the turmeric turned the green ‘Sungold’ tomatoes a sort of lime green colour. They looked, and tasted, fantastic.

How have you used your green tomato haul this year? Or did you consign it all to the compost heap?

Discuss this blog post

Talkback: Cooking green tomatoes
Your comment will appear after a quick registration step

Cathy Ransome 26/09/2014 at 16:37

I have used my green ones in salads. Still have a good few in the green house .

Cathy Ransome 26/09/2014 at 16:38

I have used my green ones in salads. Still have a good few in the green house .

pansyface 26/09/2014 at 18:17

I loved Fannie Flagg's book. Sadly gave it away and lost the recipes that were in it. Here is something similar

David Matthews2 26/09/2014 at 19:59

? Anyone for "Green Tomato Wine" (after C Shave, from Amateur Winemaker - 130 New Winemaking Recipies 13th edition 1972, edited by CJJ Berry)

4lb green tomatoes, 1 quart balm leaves, including stalks, 1lb raisins, sultanas or currants (can be mixed), 1lb maize, barley or wheat, 2 lemons or oranges (or 1/2 oz citric acid in lieu), 3lb sugar, 1 gallon water, 1/2 pint cold tea (no milk!) Activated yeast & nutrient.

Soak the grains overnight. Scald the dried fruit and pass the grains, leaves & stalks, together with the tomatoes, dried fruit, fruit rinds (no white pith) through a mincer or liquidiser). Place the minced ingredients in the fermenting vessel & add the sugar. When cool, add the cold tea, fruit juices and citric acid, activated yeast and nutrient. Ferment for seven days - cover with muslin cloth or similar to exclude fruit flies etc, then strain into glass demijohn(s). Fit airlock, ferment and rack in the usual way. Put in steriised bottles & cork when completely fermented [2-4 months likely].

Simples, eh??

Nies Henstra-Sagel 26/09/2014 at 21:21

I had them chopped and in sugar for a night and then cooking to make green tomatoe confiture. It took a long time to thicken and jsut at the last burned
After that I was going to make green tomatoe chutney, but the tomatoes started rotting before I was ready to start cooking. Due to the rain this summer?!?!?!?!?!

See more comments...