Are There Tomatoes That are Green When Ripe?

While on holiday in Rome, we bought sandwiches containing slices of green tomatoes. Are these a special tomato or just any old unripe fruit? Thanks.

By Marg from England

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I really can't speak for Italy but at least here in the US green tomatoes are generally unripe tomatoes and are used in a variety of ways including fried green tomatoes. I just did a Google search and found that there are special varieties that remain green when ripe and maybe they are more popular in Italy than they are here. ;-)

Sorry I can't give you a more definitive answer to your question.

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There are several varieties of green tomatoes, and some of them are, as you found out, delicious. I grew an adopted tomato this year, so I don't know the variety, but it was lime green with faint spots of deeper green, and had notes of apple flavor. But there are many tomatoes of a different color! Most of them are heirloom varieties, or older than 50 years, that will grow true from the harvested seeds. Most tomatoes today are hybrids, altered by man, and will not reproduce from their seeds. But back to the colors: different shades of red, pink, yellow, white, orange, purple, black, and multi. I think the purple and black tomatoes are fairly similar looking, kind of deep, deep, purpley red with tones of browns and greens. They aren't attractive to many people, but they are absolutey delicious! The best black and purple tomatoes taste like they were marinated in wine. As for the multis: this year my favorite tomato (I grew 10 varieties) was the pineapple. Big red tomatoes, streaked with yellow on the outside. When you slice them open, you see a splash of red and yellow, sometimes with splashes of violet or lime green. And so sweet, complex, well, I'm going on and on, aren't I? Sorry about that, but I just love tomatoes!

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