A juicy, red, vine-ripened tomato is one of the many delicious by-products of a hot, Southern summer. However, with the excessive rain and unusually heavy humidity many parts of our region have been experiencing, you may find that your tomato plants are full of green tomatoes that just refuse to turn red. As Steve Bender, a.k.a. Grumpy Gardener, explained to me, the constant dampness causes the energy of the plant to be spent in making more vegetation, like new shoots, and not in ripening the fruit.
Grumpy suggests picking a few green tomatoes to lighten the load and help better distribute the nutrients. The rest of the fruit will ripen, eventually. If you fear losing your plant to moisture-related fungus, pick any green tomatoes now, as well. Moreover, in just a few weeks the overbearing heat will subside and the temperatures will not be warm enough to ripen the tomatoes, leaving you with, you guessed it, more green tomatoes. Beyond letting them ripen indoors (line them up in a windowsill and let the sun do its work), what can you do with them?
There has always been a strong correlation between an overabundance of produce in the garden and the creation of great recipes in the kitchen; home gardeners and cooks are just not in the habit of wasting food! We all know the classic Fried Green Tomatoes, but have you ever tried a Green Tomato Bloody Mary, or Sweet Green Tomato Muffins?
Here are some more of our favorite recipes using green tomatoes, and please share your own!
If you are into canning, send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). I will send you a recipe for Green Tomato Pie Filling – it makes 6 quarts!