Typically, when you see green tomatoes on the vines, you’ll assume they’re unripe. All tomato varieties are green when they are not ripe. Most of them will turn a bright red color when fully ripe. Others will turn pink, orange, purple, or yellow as they ripen, depending on the variety.
Are there tomatoes that stay green even after they are ripe? Yes, absolutely! There are some varieties that stay green even after maturing, and they are supposed to stay that way! They are called green tomatoes and will stay green throughout their lifespan. And no, they don’t taste like unripe tomatoes! You may have heard of Southern fried green tomatoes, which is among the most popular uses of green tomatoes.
Continue reading and you’ll learn all about green tomatoes.
Green Tomato Varieties
While there are not many green tomato varieties, the ones that are present stand out from the usual red tomatoes, thanks to their strong, tangy, spicy flavor. Here are some of the most popular green tomatoes you’ll find.
Aunt Ruby’s German Green
These are among the largest green beefsteaks you can grow in your garden. Growing to about 1 pound when fully mature, these green tomatoes have a beautiful neon-green flesh with a sweet fruity flavor. They grow in clusters of 2 to 3 tomatoes on the vines, taking about 80 to 95 days to grow to maturity from the time you plant transplants. It shows good disease resistance, and will adapt to most climates, delivering a reliable yield in a variety of gardens.
Green zebra is one of the favorites of gardeners and for good reason. Other than the attractive striped skin in shades of light and dark green, the variety has a bright green flesh, rich in both flavor and texture. It offers a sweet bite, with a hint of tanginess that chefs often look for in their recipes. Green zebra matures in 75 days from transplanting, yielding clusters of 2-inch round fruits.
Green giant is an heirloom variety, producing large oblate fruits, typically weighing 12 to 32 ounces. The skin is smooth and bright green, that gives a hint of yellow, amber color upon maturing. The flesh is meaty and juicy at the same time, offering a rich, complex, spicy, yet sweet flavor in every bite. It takes about 85 days to mature, with a robust growth and impressive yield.
Cherokee Green Tomato
Maturing in 86 days, cherokee green is an indeterminate variety that has a bright green flesh, but the skin has a yellowish color when fully ripe. The 1lb tomatoes are full of flavor, sweet and acidic at the same time. They’re excellent varieties for salads and sandwiches. You can even turn them into a unique, tasty green pasta sauce.
How To Tell If A Green Tomato Is Ripe?
So if the green tomatoes stay green upon ripening, how do you tell if a green tomato variety is ripe or not? With red tomatoes, a full bright red color will easily qualify as a ripe tomato. It’s generally tricker to tell just by looking at green tomatoes if they have ripened completely. Here are some tips to identify a green ripe tomato:
- Check the days of maturity in the specifications for the variety you are growing. Keep an eye on the tomatoes once the days to harvest approach.
- Like all other tomato varieties, ripe fruits are firm, yet they will feel just a little soft when pressed.
- Color is also a good indicator, even for green tomatoes. The immature green tomatoes are dark green. As they develop to maturity, they’ll assume a lighter color with a hint of yellow.
Just like other tomato varieties, you can pick green tomatoes before they are fully ripe and allow them to ripen on the counter. You can leave it in a basket on the countertop, out of direct sunlight or place them in a bag with a banana. Banana gives off ethylene gas which helps the tomatoes ripen. Alternatively, you can also wait until green tomatoes are fully ripe on the vine before picking them to enjoy right away.
How To Use Green Tomatoes
You can create lots of amazing treats with green tomatoes. They are a bright, fresh addition to salads and sandwiches. They’re also great for eating out of hand, if you’re in the mood for some sweet, tangy flavor.
Fried Green Tomatoes
Possibly the most popular use of green tomatoes is fried green tomatoes. Here’s the recipe:
- 3 medium-sized green tomatoes
- 1 cup flour
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp Cajun seasoning
- ⅓ cup cornmeal
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- Wash and slice green tomatoes with ½ inch thickness.
- Sprinkle the slices with salt and let them sit for 5 minutes.
- In a bowl, mix egg and buttermilk.
- Mix together cornmeal and breadcrumbs in a second bowl.
- Mix together flour and Cajun seasoning in another bowl.
- Heat oil in a skillet.
- Dip the slices in flour mixture, then the egg mixture and lastly the bread mix before adding it to hot oil.
- Fry the slices in oil until they are golden brown on both sides.
- Remove the slices and place them on a plate lined with paper towels to catch the extra oil.
So are there tomatoes that stay green? Now you know that green tomatoes are in themself an excellent variety of tomatoes and absolutely delicious. They are easy to grow and offer a range of different uses in the kitchen. Turn them into crispy fried snacks, toss them into salads or take a bite straight off the vine – they’re incredibly tasty no matter how you try them.