Garden and Orchard

Harvesting & Using Green Tomatoes

Green tomatoes
Green paste tomatoes
Green paste tomatoes

Harvesting & Using Green Tomatoes

Just before our first frost I harvested all of the green tomatoes from my garden and brought them in the house. If they have a slight blush of orange, they will often ripen in a sunny windowsill for fresh use or cooking. They may not have the fullest flavor and may resemble storebought tomatoes, but it’s nice to use your own salad ingredients as long as you can each year.

An earlier harvest of tomatoes. The ones that have started to color up should ripen in a sunny window.
Tomato harvest…the ones that have started to color up should ripen in a sunny window.

Harvest your green tomatoes and check each one for damage. Use them up quickly if there are any bruises or imperfections. Ripen some in a sunny spot for later and use the rest up in dishes such as fried green tomatoes, green tomoto relish, green tomato pie, and green tomato mincemeat! Check out these recipes from my search on for more ideas.

Fried Green Tomatoes

Although fried green tomatoes are traditionally a southern dish, and I’m from up north, my Gram used to make them in the fall to use up her green tomatoes. I loved the smell of green tomatoes frying in bacon grease! I don’t have many green tomatoes this fall and the ones I do have are cherry tomatoes and Romas. So I guess I probably won’t be making these this year. But if you want to use a bunch of green tomatoes, here is a link to a great post for How to Make Fried Green Tomatoes.

Do you harvest your green tomatoes before first frost? What’s your favorite way to use these green jems?



6 Comments on “Harvesting & Using Green Tomatoes

  1. We pick our tomatoes for our last of canning speghetti sauce… we lay ours out in our garage and cover them with newspapers…. tomatoes ripen in the dark not the sun… the sun gives the sweetness…

    1. Thanks for sharing, Dorothy! I have ripened mine in the basement or on a table in the sun. It all depends on where I have space.

  2. A couple years ago I made a green tomato marmalade that is just tremendous! I used lemons with the green tomatoes and it is sweet tart…just right!

  3. I have several recipes I made this year! Green tomato relish is a great way to use up the little and odd shaped ones as they get chopped just like cucumbers would to make a relish. Also you can use green tomato wedges instead of cucumbers in cold-pack dill pickle recipes. These are nice with sandwiches!

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