Green tomatoes extend your tomato season as well as become tasty dishes in their own right. Before you expect the first frost, either cover your tomatoes with plastic, old sheets, shower curtains or rugs--anything to protect them--or give up and pick all the nice big green ones as well as the ripe red ones and bring them in the house for storage.
Checking on Them. Check the tomatoes every couple of days, especially at first. Spread them out so they don't touch each other, that way you can quickly remove bad ones, and the rest will be unaffected.
GREEN TOMATO RECIPE IDEAS
FRIED GREEN TOMATOES
I like these and this is the easiest way to fix green tomatoes. Slice your green tomatoes into about half-inch slices. Combine flour, salt, and pepper in a pie tin. Dip the tomato slices in the mix to get both sides well coated. Fry them in hot shortening on one side and then the other. Serve hot and right away. Or you can use an egg-and-flour coating. A little basil in the flour is also good.
BAKED GREEN TOMATOES
Cut your tomatoes in about half-inch slices and arrange half of them in the bottom of a greased baking dish. Over that make a layer of small toasted bread cubes (use homemade bread), salt, pepper, and butter dots. Add a second layer of green tomatoes and then a second layer of everything else. Finally, sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese on top. Bake at 350° F until tender.
GREEN TOMATO PIE
This is a classic green-tomato dish. Cover 2 c. chopped green tomatoes with water, and bring to a boil. Drain. Add 1/2 c. brown sugar, 2 T. vinegar, 1/2 t. cinnamon, 1/2 c. chopped raisins, 3 T melted butter, 1/2 t. salt, 3 cloves, and 1/4 t. nutmeg. This makes a mock mince filling. Use a pie plate lined with a bottom crust. Add your mock mince. Put on a top crust, and slash to let steam escape. Crimp crust edge. Bake at 375° F about 40 minutes.
For more green-tomato recipes, check out The Green Tomato Cookbook by Paula Simmons. Storey Communications offers a booklet, "52 Great Green Tomato Recipes!" Green tomatoes can be sliced and dried the same way as ripe ones.
[Adapted from the "Tomato" section of Chapter 4: Garden Vegetables. Illustration copyright 1994 by Cindy Davis.]