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Do you have a handful or a bushel of green tomatoes that never ripened? Don’t despair. There are many ways to use unripened tomatoes in cooking and canning. Don’t let your underripe tomatoes go to waste with these ten tips for using green tomatoes.

Note—when we say “green tomato” in this article, we’re talking about regular tomatoes that did not ripen in your garden. This is different from tomatillos, a variety that is actually green when fully ripened, and from varieties like green zebra, which are green when ripe.

green tomatoes
Image Credit: Homestead How-To

We’re talking about tomatoes that should be red when fully grown and ripe but either fell off the vine or grew too late into the season and needed to be used before a frost.

Green tomatoes are still rather firm, so they can hold their own in many recipes where regular tomatoes would break down, which is a fun bonus to work with.

While you can use a few methods to help green tomatoes ripen even after they come off the plant, you can also cook amazing things with them!

Fried Green Tomatoes

Image Credit: Homestead How-To

One of the most popular (and yummy) ways to use unripened tomatoes is the ever-classic – fried green tomatoes. These amazing appetizers or side dishes have just a little tart kick beneath the mouthwatering fried surface, and because the tomatoes are unripe, they hold their shape well.

You slice them into about 1/4 inch thick rounds, dip them in batter (eggs and milk), then drop them into hot oil to lightly crisp them on both sides. As this dish is a Southern tradition, we recommend this recipe from Melissa’s Southern Style Kitchen.

Green Tomato Jam

Green tomato jam is slightly tart but sweetened with sugar for a delicious combo. This yummy jam can be spread on toast, used as a sandwich condiment, or eaten with burgers and dogs. This recipe for green tomato jam from Food 52 adds a little kick of spice for a mouthwatering final result.

Green Tomato Relish

Green tomato relish is a nice twist on the typical relish recipe. It offers some nice bulk and “spreadability” compared to traditional cucumber relish. This spicy green tomato relish recipe from Life’s Ambrosia gets rave reviews from those who have tried it.

Pickled Green Tomatoes

If you want something a little more savory, why not pickle your unripe tomatoes? Pickled tomatoes are not quite as crisp as pickled cucumbers but they make for a great topping on burgers, dogs, or sandwiches. You can use a quick pickling recipe like this one from A Couple Cooks, or make dill pickled green tomatoes that can be canned.

Green Tomato Salsa

Salsa is always a hit and easy to make with green tomatoes. While true “salsa verde” is made with tomatillos, you can also make a green tomato salsa that hits the spot with its acidity and tang.

Your final salsa will be a bit more tart and acidic than salsa made with ripe tomatoes, but that makes for a nice change-up if you’ve been eating a lot of red salsa. This recipe for green tomato salsa from the NY Times is simple, and makes a great on a chip or as a side to any Mexican meal.

Green Tomato Pie

Believe it or not, green tomato pie has a similar flavor to apple pie! With the addition of warming spices like cinnamon and nutmeg and thrown into a delicious crust, unripened tomatoes can be served as a sweet! Try this simple old family recipe shared on Taste of Home or this slighly more complex one from Spruce Eats.

Green Tomato Chutney

Image Credit: Homestead How-To

Chutney is a delicious, thick sauce that goes quite well with Indian foods. The tang of the tomato is balanced by the sweetness of the brown sugar and the warm flavors of cinnamon and cloves.

This is a go-to recipe for our unripe tomatoes and makes for a nice meal when canned any time of the year. This green tomato chutney recipe from Food in Jars is a great classic rendition with just a little bit of a spicy kick.

Stewed Green Tomatoes

Another great way to use green tomatoes is to stew them. Stewed green tomatoes (or green tomato stew) can be made in a slow cooker or on your stovetop. The result is a thick, heartwarming dinner that is perfect for fall. This recipe for slow cooker green tomato stew is the perfect way to do it.

Green Tomato Bread

Unripe tomatoes can also make a delicious loaf of quick bread (much like banana bread or zucchini bread). The end result will be a moist, dense, and slightly sweetened bread that is perfect for breakfast, as a snack, or even for dessert! This recipe for green tomato bread from Spruce Eats is easy and definitely worth trying out.

Roasted Green Tomatoes

Finally, you can roast your unripe tomatoes. This is a great way to bring out the sweetness of green tomatoes. Roasted green tomatoes can be used as a sauce or base to add to something else or eaten as a side dish.

They are also great on their own as a topping in place of salsa. Try this recipe for roasted green tomatoes with garlic and thyme from The Daily Dish.

Do you have any other ideas for using unripe tomatoes? Share them in the comments below!

Check out these articles for more helpful info on growing and cooking with tomatoes!

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Carrie Williams Howe is an educational leader by day and an aspiring homesteader by night and weekend. She lives on a small homestead in Vermont with her husband, two children, and a rambunctious border collie. She blogs about her family's homestead life at The Happy Hive.

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