There are two types of green tomatoes to consider. One is simply an ordinary tomato that was harvested before it was fully rip and the other is the one that’s actually green when it’s fully matured. The second one is rarer and it’s an heirloom variety.
The best way to tell them apart is because the real green tomato often has vertical stripes or other variations in the coloring, will feel soft when pressed, and will taste much like a red tomato, possibly slightly sweet or spicy depending on the variety. The ordinary one will be firm and more bitter.
Green Tomato Trivia
- They originate from Peru
- When they were introduced to Europe they were called “the apple of love”
- An American uses 22 pounds of tomatoes a year
Green Tomato Buying Guide
Choosing a green tomato for cooking can be a bit difficult because for a matured one the choice depends on the color. With green tomatoes you can’t rally on the color and instead you should pick them whenever. The tomatoes are sometimes used when they are close to becoming ripe and when they show first color.
Others however, choose the pick the tomatoes when they are still young and firm as a rock. This means they will be more sour and better used when picked or fried.
Green Tomato Production & Farming in Texas
Tomatoes are the most popular garden vegetable in Texas but not all of them are made to be sold green. In fact, most of them aren’t. The process for growing green tomatoes is the same as it is for the red ones but with a shorter time to harvest.
Texas gardeners can grow a variety of small- and large-fruited tomatoes:
Small fruit: Baxter’s Early Bush Cherry Grande Juliet Red Cherry Small Fry
Large fruit: Better Boy Big Beef Big Box Bush Beefsteak Carnival Celebrity Homestead
The key is to plant the tomatoes in the soil that dries well and outside of that it will pretty much grow in any part of the state with equal success. The soil should be dry enough not to stick to any of your tools in order to be useable.
It’s best to buy plants and not grow them from seeds because that will take longer and tomatoes tend to spread pretty easily when you start them from a plant. It’s best to transplant them to your garden about 100 days before the first frost.
If you want to get higher yields you should make sure to have enough mulch around each of the plants. The tomatoes should be propped up by using stakes or by placing cages around them from which they will grow.
Synthetic insecticidal sprays for tomatoes may contain one of the following ingredients: permethrin, bifenthrin, cyhalothrin, malathion, carbaryl or cyfluthrin. As far as fungicides are concerned, copper sprays are a good organic option to prevent fungal infection in tomato plants.
Tomatoes were first grown in North America by the Aztecs. The Europeans were introduced to the fruit in the 16th century and it was quickly accepted in the southern Europe where it become a staple of the local cuisine. The same soon happened across Europe.
Green tomatoes are a much newer invention and it seemed they were used in the 19th century but gained more popularity in the 20th. They are especially popular in the southern US where they are pickled and fried.
There are a few ways to pack tomatoes and they all apply to green tomatoes as well. They are mostly moved in opened or closed cardboard crates. Sometimes trays and jointed boxes are also used with the same effect.
Broken and damaged packaged are often rejected because the tomatoes are bruised even though they are perfectly fine otherwise which is a source of waste. When they are moved across great distances tomatoes are being cooled during the transport.
Enjoying Green Tomatoes
Green tomatoes are firm and acidic because they are harvested before they are mature, but all of these qualities are softened when they are cooked. The most common way to do so is in the South is to fry them. They are also a staple of a few Indian recipes as well.
Remove the stem with a sharp knife and beyond that all the preparations depend on the dish that you make. The same knife could be used to the cut the tomatoes in smaller and more manageable pieces and a good sharp knife will be enough to make sure you’re not making too much of a mess and smooshing the tomatoes.
It’s sometimes best to store green tomatoes together on a stem because they will last longer, but that’s not always necessary. Just make sure to remove all the dirt when you move them inside. Other than that, the tomatoes could be kept on the fridge shelves or in shallow containers.
The storage area should be away from direct light and not to humid when they are stored outside the fridge. These include: garages, panties, and porches.
The most common way to cook green tomatoes is to fry them. Here’s a simple recipe on how to do it.
-Slice tomatoes 1/2 inch thick. Discard the ends.
-Whisk eggs and milk together in a medium-size bowl. Scoop flour onto a plate. Mix cornmeal, bread crumbs and salt and pepper on another plate. Dip tomatoes into flour to coat. Then dip the tomatoes into milk and egg mixture. Dredge in breadcrumbs to completely coat.
-In a large skillet, pour vegetable oil (enough so that there is 1/2 inch of oil in the pan) and heat over a medium heat. Place tomatoes into the frying pan in batches of 4 or 5, depending on the size of your skillet. Do not crowd the tomatoes, they should not touch each other. When the tomatoes are browned, flip and fry them on the other side. Drain them on paper towels.
One medium green tomato provides 790 international units of vitamin A in the form of the antioxidant beta carotene. One full cup of green tomato supplies over 1,000 IU of beta carotene, which is equal to just over 10 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A per day. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, A vitamins, such as beta carotene, may play an important role in preventing forms of cancer and age-related macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of blindness.
Green tomatoes also supply vitamin C. One medium green tomato provides about 29 milligrams of the antioxidant, or about 48 percent of the daily value. This is more than the amount found in cooked spinach. Vitamin C plays an important role in immune function and may provide some protection against cardiovascular disease, reports the Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin C also helps the body better absorb iron from plant-based foods, such as beans and lentils, so tomatoes and legumes make particularly healthy pairings.
Tomatoes consist of 94 percent water, which is an especially good thing during warm months and on days when you perspire more due to exercise. Water-rich foods also aid in digestive function by guarding against or minimizing constipation and help keep your appetite and weight in a healthy place. To get even more hydration benefits from green tomatoes, make a batch of gazpacho to enjoy over several days.
When Are Green Tomatoes in Season in Texas?
To find out when Green Tomatoes are in season in Texas, please check the seasonal chart below. Why is this important? We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas now.