Green tomatoes for winter use
Green tomatoes that are ripe exist, but unripe green tomatoes can also be eaten
Sometimes the tomato season in the greenhouse takes a long time to start, but now there is an overflow of both green and red tomatoes. The red ones might start to split, which usually is a sign of the season ending. When they split at this time of year it is due to condensed water on the fruits. You can avoid condensation by airing out the greenhouse, but it is not easy.
Soon frost is coming and then you need to harvest everything that can be anyways. You have to eat the small cherry tomatoes, but the bigger tomatoes you can boil and use later for a sauce.
Tomatoes can be dried, but a tomato consists of 94% water, so there won’t be much left after the desiccation. For drying it is the tomato sort that determines which tomatoes are best suitable. The best ones are the oblong Perino tomatoes but feel your way. Sometimes you get pleasantly surprised. You cut them in four pieces, put them on a grate and dry them in the oven at 30 – 40 degrees for 8 – 12 hours. Take them out while they are still soft, otherwise they will be tough and difficult to chew. There are probably other ways to do it, you can find recipes online.
The green tomatoes can be preserved, the red ones can too, but green tomatoes that are supposed to be red are a bit poisonous. They contain tomatine, but in such small amounts that the Veterinary and Food Administration don’t find it a risk to eat them with moderation. If you eat too many you might get a stomachache.
There are green tomatoes that will never turn red. Those are sorts like the small Cherry Green Grape and the tasteful Lime-Green Tomato which is a medium-size tomato with a sweet and fresh taste. The skin turns a bit yellow when it ripens, but the tomato pulp stays green. Another example is the Green Zebra which has a nice balance of a sweet and sour taste.
Preserved tomatoes recipe
Rinse, dry and perforate the tomatoes with a fork. Boil half a litre of vinegar and mix in 17.6 ounces of sugar and some spices (cinnamon, clove and ginger). Add the tomatoes and boil it all for 5 minutes. Take the pot off the heat and let the tomatoes sit in the brine until the next day.
Next day: boil the mixture again for 5 minutes at a low temperature. Take out the tomatoes and put them in clean glasses. Let the brine boil for another 5 minutes, skim it and add a preservative before pouring the brine on the tomatoes. Close the glasses properly.
Om Lars Lund
Danish horticulturist and journalist
Lars Lund has for many years engaged in the garden and greenhouse. Lars has published many books about greenhouses, and he has participated in many Danish horticultural TV shows. He is a walking garden encyclopaedia, and he has answers for most basic cultivation questions – also the more ambitious ones.
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