Using Green Tomatoes

Category Growing Food
Don't throw away those green tomatoes at the end of the growing season. This is a page about using green tomatoes.


Share on ThriftyFunThis page contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!

October 12, 2011

One year when I had planted my tomatoes late in the season I had lots of green tomatoes left on the vines when I needed to get them off or lose them all. I picked them all and wrapped each separately in newspaper. I layered them in a box only 2 layers high, and stored them in a cool dark place. Check them once a week.

If when you unwrap a tomato and it has started to turn red leave unwrapped put it where you can keep an eye on it. The tomato will finish turning red and ripen and you will have a fresh ripe tomato in the middle of the winter. When I did this I had lots of green tomatoes, I ended up with fresh ripe tomatoes until February of the next year.

There is nothing like a fresh home grown tomato in the winter months. Just be sure and check them all or some may rot and cause others around it to rot. It is a little work, but oh, so worth it. I heard about this from somewhere else but can't remember where.


By cora from N.C.

Comment Was this helpful? 12
Read More Comments

September 24, 2010

Waiting for a late-crop of tomatoes to go from green to red on the vine can seem like an eternity-especially in late August and early September, when fall is looming just around the corner. If at the end of your growing season you find yourself with a bushel of unripe, green tomatoes don't despair, and whatever you do, don't throw them out. You can easily harvest them and ripen them indoors, or make use of them in some great, green tomato recipes.

Ripening Tomatoes Indoors

Tomatoes ripen best between 60-70 F (extended exposure to cooler or warmer temperatures will interfere with the ripening process and affect the flavor). Tomatoes that are ripened for storage should be picked when they are fully mature in size, and have turned pale pink, to light green or white in color. Small fruits and those greener in color will neither ripen, nor develop satisfactory flavor. Save these for your favorite green tomato pickle recipes.


There are two ways to ripen tomatoes indoors:

Harvest them individually. Pick them, lay them in an open cardboard box (one to two layers deep), cover the top with newspaper, and store them at room temperature.

Harvest whole plants. If frost is imminent, the entire plant can also be taken up (tomatoes still intact) and brought inside. Hang the plants to dry upside down from the ceiling in the basement, and the fruits will continue to "ripen on the vine".

No matter what method you choose, check on your tomatoes every few days to toss any that may have spoiled. Mature green tomatoes will ripen in approximately 14 days at 70 degrees F and 28 days at 55 degrees F.

Cooking With Green Tomatoes

Green tomatoes don't have the same bold taste of fresh, fully ripe tomatoes, and that's a good thing. Their mild, sweet flavor (think zucchini) means it's easy to integrate them into a wide variety of recipes. From breads and soup, to jams, sauces, and casseroles, a quick search of the web will yield hundreds of recipes designed to showcase green tomatoes. Here are just three examples:


Fried Green Tomatoes

This traditional favorite is probably the first recipe that comes to mind when cooking with green tomatoes. It's quick and easy. Just dip tomato slices in a batter of flour, cornmeal, and egg before frying in oil. If you want to add a little spice, shake a few drops of hot sauce into the batter.

Green Tomato Pickles

Follow any traditional recipe for making dill pickles or bread and butter pickles and substitute green cherry tomatoes for cucumbers. This principle works for relish recipes as well. Enjoy your martinis with olives? Try a pickled green cherry tomato instead.

Green Tomato Mincemeat

A great alternative to this traditional holiday favorite is to combine chopped green tomatoes with chopped apples and simmer with traditional mincemeat ingredients: raisins, sugar, vinegar, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Pour over vanilla ice cream or use it as a pie filling.


Selecting Green Tomatoes for Cooking

Not all green tomatoes taste the same. Recipes calling for green tomatoes are referring to "unripe" (red) tomatoes, not varieties bred to stay green. Fully grown green tomatoes tend to taste less bitter than smaller ones. Save the smaller tomatoes for recipes featuring stronger-tasting ingredients like pickles and salsa. Before adding green tomatoes to any recipes, "core" them by removing the fibrous, woody stem and the pea-sized inner core.

Comment Pin it! Was this helpful? 6

I have a tomato vine that is full of large green tomatoes. It is so heavy with tomatoes, the wind blew the vine and the post over. On the good side, the vine is still living and we are enjoying fried green tomatoes.

breaded  Fried Green Tomatoes

Comment Pin it! Was this helpful? 1


Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

October 22, 2008

I had to pick my tomatoes because of the frost last night. I have a big bag of green cherry tomatoes. How should I go about letting them ripen? Or does someone have a recipe that calls for green tomatoes that maybe I can freeze to preserve them? I'm new at gardening and will appreciate any advice!


Haley from Centreville, Md


By jeepwoman (Guest Post)
October 22, 20080 found this helpful

Keep in cool place, I put mine in the basement. They were all green, then I went down and picked out the ones that ripened. It was great.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
October 22, 20080 found this helpful

I have had this problem in the past and found that if you put them in an open container (a plastic bowl will do) and leave them near a window they will gradually ripen. You will need to check them over frequently and remove any bad ones. I passed this tip on to my daughter who had to pick all of her green tomatos because her dog was using them to play ball!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
October 23, 20080 found this helpful

You do not need light to ripen tomatoes! do not put them by a window. My mom always took a flat box 4 or 5" high put in a layer of newspaper(to absorb moisture). then a single layer of cherry tomatoes, then another layer of newspaper. then into the garage or another cool place. check them daily and throw out any soft ones and take in any that have ripened that you wish to use. be sure to wash before using. this method really works wonderfully! after ripening you can toss into freezer bag and freeze, use for soups and chili direct from freezer. good luck!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By (Guest Post)
October 23, 20080 found this helpful

Check some recipe sites or do a google search for green tomato recipes. You can make jams/jellys, salsas, my mom even made a green tomato cake recipe of Paula Deen from Food Network. She took one bite and threw it away. Tastes vary so maybe give one a try.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
October 23, 20080 found this helpful

I put mine in a brown paper shopping bag and just roll the top closed. They ripen just fine in there.

There are also many green tomato recipes on the net.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
October 24, 20080 found this helpful

I wrap the tomatoes in newspaper and put then in a flat box and put under my bed. I check them everyday and get out the ripes one. I was still canning and frezzeing tomatoes in Nov.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By (Guest Post)
October 26, 20080 found this helpful

Pickle them! Makes great sides for sandwiches! Adding garlic/peppers/etc makes them great.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Answer this Question...

September 24, 2013

I tried cutting off the blighted areas of the tomatoes, then frying them. They were too hard for me to eat, but my hens liked them.
I am now keeping the unripe tomatoes in my garage in a laundry basket with a ripe banana, the hope is that when/if they ripen, I will cut off the bad bits and fry or stew the rest. So far the only plants affected were in grobags in the garden- others in grobags in a more sheltered spot are mainly OK. The greenhouse toms seem OK. My container grown potatoes did not get blight this year.
Are you supposed to fry green tomatoes and for how long?
ISO Blue heirloom tomatoes are successful from seed, but they are mainly black with one area remaining green or red. When will they ripen and what do they taste like?
The pic is some of the heirloom varieties I grew from seed sent from the USA.

From a Limey who waited for his German Green tomatoes to turn red.

By Alan B.


September 29, 20130 found this helpful

Update. All my outside tomatoes in grobags in backyard have succumbed to blight. The ones I hoped to save still got it.

The greenhouse tomatoes are OK so far - also the soil grown ones in front of house.
Blight usually strikes in UK in June - July, this happened in mid-September - I sprayed my spuds & toms in June with Dithane 945 but did not think to repeat in Aug/Sept.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Answer this Question...

February 18, 2016

At the end of the season don't waste those unripe tomatoes. Freeze them for future use. This is a page about freezing green tomatoes.

Green Tomatoes

Read More... Pin it! Was this helpful? 1

April 19, 2016

This is a page about ripening green tomatoes. The end of the growing season or an early frost may catch you with a lot of green tomatoes still on the vines. Don't leave them to rot in the garden, bring them in.

Close up of two green and two red tomatoes on basket

Read More... Pin it! Was this helpful? Yes

Home and Garden Gardening Growing Growing FoodMarch 4, 2013
Coronavirus Tips
Summer Ideas!
Back to School Ideas!
Pest Control
Ask a Question
Share a Post
Better LivingBudget & FinanceBusiness and LegalComputersConsumer AdviceCoronavirusCraftsEducationEntertainmentFood and RecipesHealth & BeautyHolidays and PartiesHome and GardenMake Your OwnOrganizingParentingPetsPhotosTravel and RecreationWeddings
Published by ThriftyFun.
Desktop Page | View Mobile
Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Contact Us
Generated 2020-07-23 22:20:25 in 3 secs. ⛅️️
© 1997-2020 by Cumuli, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Add to PageAsk a Question