Tomatoes are such a versatile fruit and are relatively easy to grow which can lead to you having an abundance of tomatoes to harvest. Luckily, they are delicious in salads, as a snack, in meals and are the base for a lot of sauces and delicious meals.
Ripened tomatoes actually come in a variety of colours ranging from green to yellow to that bright red you know the best. All varieties are delicious but what about unripe green tomatoes? Can you eat green tomatoes or not?
You can green tomatoes and they are perfectly safe to consume for more people. They are much more acidic than a ripe tomato and don’t contain as many nutrients so if you struggle with acidic foods you may want to avoid them and wait for the tomatoes to ripen instead.
What Do Green Tomatoes Taste Like?
Green tomatoes have a sharp taste. They still have that tomato flavoured undertone but it is heightened and will be a lot tangier to the palette.
If you love tart foods that could almost be described as sour then you will love green tomatoes! They also have much more of a crunch when you bite into them than a ripe tomato which can add some interesting texture to your meals.
How to Eat Green Tomatoes
Green tomatoes can be used in some surprising recipes. Here are a few ideas for you to think about:
Grab yourself some green tomatoes, onions and cooking apples and turn these ingredients into a delicious chutney. The tart sweetness of the cooking apples pairs well with the acidic green tomato.
Chop up your tomatoes and pop them into a bowl with some salt. Leave them in the fridge overnight. The next day, simmer your apples with some sugar and vinegar for about ten minutes. Add the tomatoes and simmer the mixture for about an hour until you get the consistency you want for your chutney.
Need a Recipe?
If you need quantities and timings then this recipe on the BBC is great.
With a few green tomatoes, onions and your favourite spices and herbs, you can make yourself a delicious green salsa.
Chop up your ingredients and boil them with your seasoning and water in a large pot. Add some lemon juice and sugar and then blend into a delicious salsa for your salads or Mexican inspired meals.
You can make a green tomato salsa without actually cooking them down first, but you will find the flavour particularly punchy so it’s always worth cooking out some of that bitterness beforehand. It will also soften up the tough skins.
You can pep up your salad by adding a few chopped green tomatoes. This adds a delicious tartness to liven up even the most boring salad, and the texture gives it a satisfying crunch!
Just make sure you chop up the tomatoes into bitesize pieces because biting into a whole green tomato can be a little overwhelming. It’s also a good idea to combine with red and yellow tomatoes which are far sweeter and will balance out the tartness of green tomatoes.
Fried green tomatoes make a fantastic snack! Slice or chop them and pop them into a frying pan with some oil and seasoning and fry them till they are charred.
This is a great alternative to crisps and they are delicious to eat as a quick snack to keep you going through that mid-afternoon slump. You could add some chilli or garlic to add even more flavour.
Benefits of Eating Green Tomatoes
Besides not allowing your food to go to waste, there are not many benefits to eating green tomatoes.
Whilst they will have some of their nutrients, the tomatoes’ ripening adds the real benefit of vitamins and minerals. These include vitamin C and A and potassium. In addition to this tomatoes are packed full of fibre, iron, calcium and magnesium.
Your green tomatoes will contain some of these but they won’t be quite as nutrient-dense as a fully ripe tomato.
However, if you’re lucky enough to have grown your own tomatoes and you’re coming to the end of the season then you’ll have some green tomatoes on your vines that are never going to ripen. Instead of chucking them out with the plants, it can be a good idea to harvest them.
Should You Eat Green Tomatoes?
If you don’t suffer from digestive problems that are triggered by very acidic foods then there is no real reason not to eat green tomatoes, especially if they are only going to go to waste.
If you don’t like the taste then it might be worth waiting for the tomatoes to ripen a little before picking them off the vine. You can try and ripen any that have fallen by popping them onto a window sill that catches a lot of the sun’s rays.
If you have a greenhouse, then you can also place the tomatoes onto a cooling rack where the heat and sun will ripen them pretty quickly for you.
Green Tomato FAQs
If you’ve got other specific questions about eating green tomatoes then these might help:
The best way to ripen green tomatoes that have fallen from your plants is to place them on a cooling rack in a window with a sunny aspect. Ultimately, they will need air and sun.
Not all tomatoes are green because they’re unripe. Some tomato varieties have been cultivated to be green. These varieties include green grape, green zebra and Cherokee green.
You don’t need to cook green tomatoes but, by doing so, you’ll be able to remove some of the tartness. Combine green tomatoes with something sweet such as apple to balance the sourness.
No, it’s a good idea to avoid eating tomatoes with blight. They may or may not cause you harm but they will taste bitter and not be enjoyable to consume.