When the forecast indicates that there’s a chance of frost, it’s time to cover your tomatoes, or pick them green and bring them inside. But what to do with all of these green tomatoes? Fried Green Tomatoes was a good movie (at the time, but who knows how well it’s aged), but as for the dish, it’s not something I personally enjoy in quantities befitting the mountain of green tomatoes I’ve picked.
Before you decide what to cook with your green tomatoes, you can remove and store the ones that have a chance of ripening:
- Wash and dry each tomato.
- Set aside the ones that are damaged or are quite undersized (for example, specimens that are cherry-tomato sized but meant to ripen to roma tomato size). A hint: undersized tomatoes are often a darker green than their counterparts. They likely won’t ripen. Split or insect-damaged tomatoes will rot.
- Prepare a box for the undamaged, larger tomatoes. Put a layer of newspaper on the bottom, then lay the tomatoes out on the paper, a couple of inches apart. You may wrap them in the paper if you prefer. It’s important to ensure that the tomatoes don’t touch each other.
- Repeat this to make a few layers of tomatoes, but not so many that they’re in danger of being crushed by the weight.
- Store the box is a cool, dry place.
- Check the tomatoes once or twice a week. As the tomatoes begin to change colour and ripen, remove them from the box and put them on a sunny windowsill to ripen fully. Remove and discard any tomatoes that begin to rot or wrinkle; wrinkly tomatoes will get rubbery and not ripen properly. Over the course of the next few weeks or months, most of the tomatoes will ripen. Though they are never as tasty as tomatoes fresh from the vine, they are still a nice fall/winter treat!
Now, what to do with all of those small or damaged green tomatoes? How about salsa verde with green tomatoes instead of tomatillos, green tomato relish, or chili sauce? I made this green tomato mincemeat today. My dad always requests his mom’s green tomato chow recipe. There’s also green tomato pie and green tomato cake! Any other suggestions?