A few green tomatoes are a normal thing towards the end of the gardening season. If you just have a few, it’s no big deal. You leave them on the countertop to ripen and when they do, you use them as you would tomatoes that ripened on the vine.
But what about if you have bushels of unripe, green tomatoes?
An Abundance of Green Tomatoes
We were recently gifted with several really large boxes of green tomatoes from a neighbour’s garden. Now, we have a very small kitchen and no pantry. So space for food storage is at a premium, and I couldn’t even begin to think what to do with all that unripe fruit.
I made a bit of an internet search to see what I could make with unripe, green tomatoes. Of course, I found a ton of recipes for green tomato pickles and relishes. I also saw suggestions for adding green tomatoes to soups, spaghetti sauces, and chili. I already knew that green tomatoes make a suitable substitute for zucchini, carrots or bananas in a spice cake or muffin recipe. And of course, there’s the classic fried green tomato! I even found recipes for green tomato jams, jellies, and marmalade.
Green Tomatoes in Pie
The one recipe I had never thought of making was a green tomato pie. No, this is not a savoury pie. It’s a sweet one. Apparently, you can use green tomatoes with or instead of apples in pies and tarts. There are literally dozens of recipes on the internet for green tomato pie or another variation, green tomato and apple pie. The green tomato pie recipe I read says you can’t tell the difference. It’s hard to believe! Would you make one of these pies for your family?
Green Tomato Nutrition
Nutritionally speaking, green tomatoes are similar to their ripe, red counterparts. They have a lot of the same nutrients as ripe red tomatoes, though in slightly different proportions. Green tomatoes have a few more calories than red tomatoes; they’re also a bit higher in sodium and sugars.
One medium green tomato provides 15% of your daily requirement of vitamins A and K, along with 5% of vitamin B6, folate and dietary fibre. As for its mineral content, a medium green tomato has 3% of your daily iron and magnesium, as well as 1% of iron.
Green tomatoes are especially rich in vitamin C, with just one medium tomato providing a whopping 48% of your daily requirement. Green, unripe tomatoes offer many of the same nutrients as dark green vegetables, and in similar quantities. So do consider them if you’re looking for a change from leafy green vegetables like kale or Swiss chard.
Green Tomato vs. Apple
What’s interesting is that cup for cup, green tomatoes have fewer than half the calories of apples – 22 calories for one cup of sliced green tomatoes, compared with 57 calories for the same amount of apple slices. Apples also contain lower levels of vitamins and minerals than green tomatoes. The tomatoes, for their part, offer higher amounts of protein and less than half the carbs compared to apples.
My Adventures with Green Tomato Recipes
Our little valley is bear country, so this time of year it’s really important for people to pick their fruit and glean their gardens. That often means that even small home gardeners have too much fresh produce when summer comes to a close.
A few days ago, a neighbour sent my husband home with three big boxes of tomatoes. Most of them were green. So far we’ve made stuffed tomatoes, sandwiches, and school snacks from the ripe ones. And we’ve made a beautiful green and red tomato soup that I will most definitely make again. I have more tomatoes cut up for a different tomato soup recipe that uses just the green tomatoes.
This weekend, I am hoping to attempt a zucchini brownie recipe with green tomatoes substituted for the shredded zucchini. I also found several different green tomato cake recipes I want to try. One reminded me a little of a war cake, but with the green tomatoes providing the moisture instead of the raisins.
Another recipe that caught my eye was an interesting savoury green tomato cobbler that uses cheddar biscuits for the topping. So, you can see I have a lot of stuff I want to make with our lovely green tomatoes! And luckily we have more than enough tomatoes for our household and several others!
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Original content © 2015-2017 Kyla Matton Osborne, aka #RubyWriter
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