Can you eat slightly unripe tomatoes?

What exactly are green tomatoes? Are these unripe tomatoes or something else entirely? Are there any green tomato dishes you can try?

Firstly, there are two types of green tomatoes. They are sometimes a distinct kind of heirloom tomato that is still green when ripe. This style often contains vertical stripes or other color variations and is soft when pushed. Heirloom green tomatoes taste similar to red tomatoes.

Green tomatoes, on the other hand, are usually merely unripe tomatoes. They were sometimes harvested before they became red. Green tomatoes are usually tomatoes that missed the chance to ripen before the weather started to get colder – in late summer and early autumn.

An unripe tomato is pale green all over, has an almost crunchy bite and tastes tart. We adore them, so we’ve included a few of our favorite unripe tomato recipes below.


Is it safe to eat green tomatoes?

Green tomatoes are safe to consume whether cooked or raw. Just test the waters first if you’re particularly sensitive to acidic foods, as green tomatoes can cause gastrointestinal discomfort for a small number of people.

Unripe tomatoes may be ripened by keeping them someplace warm in a paper bag alongside apples or ripe bananas. But this plan won’t always work, leaving green tomatoes the same colour as they started.

Also, red tomatoes may be found at any time. Why not try some recipes with green tomatoes instead, enjoying their firm texture and more acidic taste?

10 recipes for green tomatoes

Here are a few suggestions on what to do with green tomatoes:

  • Green tomato chutney
  • Fried green tomatoes
  • Pickled green tomatoes
  • Curried green tomatoes
  • Air fried green tomatoes
  • Roasted green tomatoes
  • Green tomato chilli
  • Green tomato salad
  • Green tomato paste
  • Frozen green tomatoes

Continue reading for more information on these unripe tomato recipes.

Green tomato chutney

1kg green tomatoes, sliced; 200g onions, coarsely chopped. Layer both in a large bowl with 1 tbsp of salt and leave overnight.

Next, cut 200g sultanas then core and chop 200g cooking apples the following day.

Pour 200g sugar (muscovado is preferable, but use any) and 500ml vinegar into a large pan, stir to dissolve the sugar and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes after adding the sultanas and apples. Drain the tomatoes and onions in a strainer (do not rinse), then return to the pan and bring to a boil.

Cook, stirring regularly, for 1 hour, or until the mixture is thick and pulp-like.

Cover with lids and place in sterile, warmed jars.

(via BBC Good Food)

Fried green tomatoes

Season with salt and pepper after slicing 4 big or 6 medium green tomatoes crosswise into 1 cm pieces.

In a mixing dish, combine 130g polenta or breadcrumbs and 12 teaspoon smoked paprika.

In a separate dish, lightly whisk 2 eggs (or, to make it vegan, 6 tbsp aquafaba).

In a frying pan, heat 120ml vegetable oil over medium heat. Roll the tomato pieces in the polenta dish after dipping them in the egg or aquafaba mixture. Fried them in a single layer for about 3 minutes each side, or until golden brown.

Drain on a plate lined with a paper towel. 

(via Martha Stewart)

Pickled green tomatoes

Weigh a 1l sealable jar (or one with a lid) and make a note of the number on the scales. Pack 375g diced green tomatoes into the jar.

Gather 10g sliced garlic cloves, 30g sugar (preferably caster but any will do), 250g white wine vinegar (or use any), 250ml water, 1 bay leaf, ½ tsp black peppercorns, ¼ tsp yellow mustard seeds, ¼ tsp coriander seeds and 1 pinch of chilli flakes. Bring the remaining ingredients to a boil in a big saucepan. Let to cool before pouring over the tomatoes in the jar.

Weigh the jar again and deduct the jar’s initial weight. Then divide the result by 100% to get 1% of the total weight of the combination. Fill the container with this much salt.

1 week at room temperature after sealing. Make sure the tomatoes stay submerged throughout the pickling time.

Once opened, keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

(via Great British Chefs)

Curried green tomatoes

Melt 2 tbsp vegan spread or butter in a pan. Cook until the onions are transparent, about 2 tbsp chopped onion.

1 tsp curry powder and 400g coarsely sliced green tomatoes are also recommended. Cook until thoroughly hot, then add salt and pepper to taste.

(via The Kitchn)

Air fried green tomatoes

Cut 4 big or 6 medium green tomatoes into 1 cm slices crosswise.

Whisk 2 eggs, or 6 tbsp of aquafaba for a vegan alternative, in a small bowl. Fill a glass with 85g of dairy or plant milk.

In a separate small bowl, combine 120g flour, 12 teaspoon salt, and 14 teaspoon black pepper.

Pour 80g polenta and 80g breadcrumbs, or 160g breadcrumbs, into a third small bowl. Then add 1 tbsp Italian seasoning, plus 2 tbsp of grated parmesan or your favourite sharp vegan cheese.

Dip the tomato slices in the egg, then in the flour, and last in the polenta mixture.

Layer them in an air fryer basket in a single layer, then spray the tops with olive oil. Cook at 200°C in the air fryer for 5 or 6 minutes, then flip over, spritz with olive oil again and cook for another 5 minutes.

(via The Recipe Critic)

Roasted green tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 220°C. 

In a mixing bowl, combine 800g green tomatoes, whole cherry or sliced medium. Add to the bowl 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp seasoning, ½ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp dried thyme and ¼ tsp black pepper. To coat the tomatoes, toss thoroughly.

Place on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour on the center shelf of the oven. The tomatoes should be deflated but not dried out.

(via The Daily Dish)

Green tomato chilli

Cook 1 kilogram beans of your choosing and set aside. Dice 3 large green tomatoes, 2 chilli peppers (jalapeños work great), 1 onion and 2 stalks of celery.

Place all the vegetables in a large skillet, along with 1 tbsp olive oil and the juice of 2 limes. Sauté over medium heat until they’re all soft. Cook for another 2 minutes after adding 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tbsp chili powder, and 1 tbsp cumin. Heat thoroughly after adding the beans.

(via The VeganAsana)

Green tomato salad

For a salad with a Burmese twist, in a small saucepan, combine 1 tbsp peanut oil, 1 chilli pepper and ¼ tsp dried chilli flakes. Warm for 1 minute over medium heat, then remove and set aside to cool.

Place 450g green tomatoes in a mixing basin and cut into thin wedges. Add 1 thinly sliced onion, 2 peeled and crushed garlic cloves, and 30g finely chopped peanuts. Squeeze half a lime over the top and toss to combine.

Add extra lime juice and season with salt to taste. Coarsely chop a good handful of fresh coriander and garnish to serve.

(via Viet World Kitchen)

Green tomato paste

Use your green tomatoes to make salsa verde. 900g green tomatoes, quartered, and 4 mild chili peppers, quartered. 1 onion and 3 garlic cloves should be peeled and finely chopped.

Add the ingredients into a stockpot, along with 1 tsp salt, ¼ tsp ground cumin, 1 tbsp olive oil and 3 tbsp water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a medium-low heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Add 12 teaspoon fresh lemon zest, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 1 teaspoon sugar, and a small handful of chopped coriander leaves. Simmer for 5 minutes more. Taste the mixture and make any necessary adjustments to the flavors.

Blend the ingredients in a blender, pulsing until it reaches the desired consistency, whether chunky or smooth.

(via NC Cooperative Extension)

Frozen green tomatoes

What can you do with an abundance of green tomatoes? Take the pressure off and freeze them to use later.

Although you may freeze tomatoes, you should be warned that their texture will become considerably less firm once thawed. This isn’t an issue if you’re planning a green tomato dish that involves frying or baking. But forget about throwing them raw into a salad – they’ll be too mushy.

To freeze green tomatoes, cut them into 12 cm pieces beforehand. Then separate them into portion sizes with wax paper and put them into an airtight container with minimal excess air inside. Put them in the freezer for up to a year.

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