If you are like me, right now in my once bountiful garden is an abundance of green tomatoes that don’t have time to ripen before the birds eat them or they spoil.
Perhaps it is starting to get cold in the coming fall and a risk of frost could threaten the ripening.
What can we do with all those green tomatoes that doesn’t involve adding fat by frying?
I am taking advantage of the supply of green (unripe not green when ripe) tomatoes to pull out of my family recipes some favorites that often go unmade — but it can be worth the time.
In addition to the recipes my grandmother would make, I have created a new family favorite that is versatile for a weekday dinner or when guests arrive.
Green Tomato Nutrition
When it becomes necessary to harvest tomatoes before they get their vibrant red color, green tomatoes can provide nutrition and are worth adding to our recipes.
Many in the past didn’t use the tomatoes and just left them on the vine, but we know that green tomatoes can still give us nutrition with the added bonus of being relatively low in calories.
Green tomatoes give us vitamins and antioxidants including vitamins C, A, E, K and B complex, along with minerals such as iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. They also contain flavanols, which provide a further antioxidant benefit.
Researchers are studying whether a compound in green tomatoes called tomatine may help fight cancer. This compound has fungicidal properties.
Eating them in moderate amounts can give us health benefits and nutrients, though some experts warn that overeating or consuming supplemental forms of tomatine can cause gastrointestinal upset.
Unripe green tomatoes can be higher in acid than they will be once ripened so can also cause some upset.
Tomatidine, a tomatine derivative, was found to build muscles and reduce muscle atrophy which could be especially beneficial for older adults who experience muscle wasting as they age.
Cooking With Green Tomatoes
People enjoy a special treat especially in the south using green tomatoes in Fried Green Tomato recipes.
In addition to making this traditional recipe, a lower calorie version is Grilled Green Tomatoes! The green tomato is firmer and holds up well on the grill.
Here are some pictures of my grilled green beauties. I added fresh cracked pepper at the end of the grilling process and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese!
You can do a lot with green tomatoes. They can be added to your vegetable stir-fry or chopped into a salad.
They are great as pickled green tomatoes, green tomato salsa verde, casserole (similar to squash casserole), green tomato jam, marmalade, or green salsa.
You can also add them to soups, stews, and other recipes where a burst of green will add to the rainbow.
One of my family favorites is my grandmother’s Green Tomato Relish recipe which requires some time and canning of the final product but it’s so delicious!
Here is my newest creation that uses some of my unripe green tomatoes to add some zing to healthy poached fish. This recipe is low in calories but high in nutrition and is a great way to add fish to your week’s menus. Adding pineapple to the green tomatoes gives it sweetness lacking in the unripe green tomatoes.
- Fish filets, 4
- 4 large or 6 small green tomatoes, chop into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 (8 oz) can diced pineapple, cut pineapple chunks into smaller pieces, reserve the juice for poaching
- 1/4 c. onion, diced
- 1 small green pepper, diced
- 2 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped
- Prepare chutney-style mix by cutting and chopping all ingredients. Mix thoroughly.
- Poach fish in non-stick pan over low heat by placing filets into pan; pour poaching liquid over fish. Cover pan and allow fish to steam until fully cooked, approximately 10-12 minutes until fish is opaque and flaky throughout.
- When fish is completely cooked, cover each with 1/2 cup of chutney-style mix; cover pan again and allow tomato/pineapple mixture to heat through approximately 3-5 minutes.
- Serve over brown rice or quinoa with a side of your favorite vegetable.
- This recipe uses unripe green tomatoes but ripe green tomatoes are great too!
- Use your favorite poaching liquid such as wine or unsalted vegetable broth in place of the pineapple juice if desired.
- I used a white fish but you can use salmon or any fish you have available. If frozen filet, thaw before poaching.
- Fresh parsley adds a great punch of flavor but you can substitute something your family likes such as cilantro or thyme or use a dried herb if fresh is unavailable.