EAT or RIPE Green tomatoes?

By Cristina Ramos

“Many urban farmers face the autumn with fear, knowing that the first frosts can suddenly appear and destroy your last tomato harvest of the season. DO NOT PANIC! We will give you some tips on why and how to make the most of these late season tomatoes.”

Why should we harvest tomatoes even if they are not Ready yet

  1.  A frost as we said can spoil your tomatoes. The temperatures can go below zero, especially in Scandinavian countries in September-October.
  2.  When the temperatures go below 10 degree Celsius the tomatoes won´t grow or don´t become ripe.
  3.  Many growers may want to start preparing the soil for planting the fall-winter season vegetables, being enough good reason to start harvesting even if they are still green!
  4. Tomatoes easily get diseases like Tomatoe blight, especially when weather gets more wet during autumn and late summer this fungal disease spreads, and harvesting them well before the disease spread to the fruits is key otherwise fruits will no longer be edible.
  5.  You can also eat the green tomatoes. A whole new taste experience for you to explore!

So grab your basket and get picking!

 Options 1: Eat them!

Are green tomatoes as nutritious as ripe red tomatoes?
Green tomatoes as red ripe tomatoes are rich, among other nutrients, in Vitamin C, which helps your body to absorb iron. That is why it´s recommended to eat green tomatoes with food rich in iron as spinach or lentils.

Shall we eat green tomatoes raw or cooked?
Green tomatoes preferably shall be cooked before eating them. They have a higher content in “Solanina”. This substance is a natural fungicide or pesticide that the tomato plants contain in order to avoid other organism or animals to consume it. There is a higher presence of this Solanina toxin in green tomatoes than in ripe red tomatoes, making it harder to digest for humans. Therefore it is recommended to cook them in order to sweeten the taste, de-neutralizing the Solanina that causes the bitterness in raw green tomatoes.

How can you cook green tomatoes?
Love and enjoy your yummy green tomatoes with these recipees!

  1. Green tomato jam.
  2. Green tomato & apple chutney.
  3. Green tomato & lentil curry stew.
  4. Fried green tomato chips.

Option 2: Let them ripe!

Put them in your window to ripe in the sun!🍅
If you still want enjoy the taste ripe red tomatoes, place your tomatoes in a sunny window and they will magically turn red, especially with the presence of some apples who emits ethylene gas which make many fruits and vegetables ripe more quickly. This way you can enjoy a red winter tomatoes salad long after the first autumn frost. They might not taste as sweet as the ones ripened on the plant but sweet enough and with some oven baking we can make them even more tasty!

So with all these tips we wish you a happy tomatoe harvesting! And for those who have greenhouses or grow indoors we know there are still potentials to grow tomatoes longer or even overwinter with some plants in these warmer indoor zones. More about this in this tutorial “How to grow overwinter and multiply your tomatoe plants through cuttings!”

Please share your favourite recipees or tips on how to use green tomatoes ! If you have any other questions or tips on other gardening or farming topics you would like to know more about, let us know and we might do the next Grow-Tutorials on that theme.

Happy gardening wishes from Cristina and the GrowGothenburg team!

Cristina Ramos Cáceres

Architect at The Foodprint Lab

[email protected]