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Wednesday 16 September 2009

What to do with green tomatoes

There's no doubt about it: tomatoes are trendy. Almost everyone I know with a windowsill has been indulding in a little grow-your-own-lite this summer, and pub conversation has turned to a torrent of competitive comments on the size and redness of our respective crops.

But now September's here it's crunch time: do you leave them growing - vulnerable to all kinds of predators hoping they'll turn a lovely shade of red, or pluck them off now to ripen on the vine? Unfortunately, my own Moneymakers are failing in the redness stakes at the moment, but what they lose in rosiness, they more than make up for in size. Just check them out!

If your tomatoes are still looking a bit green, fear not: putting them in close contact with a ripe banana after harvesting should soon get them blushing, but if all else fails, green tomatoes are perfectly edible and taste delicious in certain recipes. Here's what you can do:

Green tomato chutney

Now is the perfect time to start making chutney to bottle up in time for Christmas and the new year. Chutney is dead easy to make (you really just have to boil the tomatoes with sugar, vinegar, spices and your dried fruit of choice) but incredibly rewarding. One of the best recipes I've seen online for green tomato chutney can be found here.

Fried Green Tomatoes

The classic American side dish turns out to be so much more exciting than what most of us brits imagine - think crunchy croquettes rather than fry-up tomatoes. You'll need these things to make them:
  • 4 medium tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper or lemon pepper
  • 125g cornmeal
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 100 ml vegetable oil for frying

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...And here's what you'll need to do with them:

  • Sprinke the chopped-up tomatoes with salt and pepper and leave them for 10 mins
  • mix the cornmeal and the flour together
  • coat the tomato slices with the cornmeal and flour mixture
  • Heat the oil to a medium temperature, then add the coated tomatoes
  • fry for around 4 minutes
  • Enjoy!


  1. Abi is that your hand in the photo?! You have quite possibly the longest thumb* I have ever seen; either that or small tomatoes! :-) (Bear in mind I do have inordinately small hands so this isn't exactly difficult!)

  2. Haha, I think I do have long thumbs, but I was trying not to let them bend back (as they naturally do) so as not to frighten anyone. I exect it means I'm a witch or something. Most things seem to...

  3. Can you buy green tomatoes? Those fried green tomatoes look amazing!

  4. Yes, I have seen green tomatoes in the market when in season. Try a market or roadside stand frequented by African Americans. Fried Green Tomatoes are culinary favorites.

  5. These recipes sound great! I have a huge, huge basket of green tomatoes to use up. I made some dill pickles ( but was looking for other ideas too. Thanks!

  6. Good to look at this post again. My tomato plants didn't do as well this year, but I will have a few tomatoes to deal with.

    Rita blogging at The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide


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