A Glut of Green Tomatoes

When it comes to dealing with an end of season garden glut I have one rule: everything roasted. I am yet to find a vegetable or fruit that doesn’t benefit from this treatment. I thought I’d tried it all and there were no more surprises left. I was wrong.

Last weekend I pulled out almost all of our tomato plants in all three gardens. I left in a few that had fruit that had some hope of developing a bit further before it gets too cold. There’s green tomatoes and there’s green tomatoes that are too green. I prefer to try and get them as developed as they can be before packing it in for the year. And before anyone mentions the hanging the plant upside down indoors trick; I simply don’t have the space. My neighbor tolerates a lot of my little gardening eccentricities in our shared hallway space: overwintering plants, bags of soil, stacks of terracotta pots, jars of tomato seeds…. For the record, he keeps a life-sized cutout of John Wayne in that same shared space. It was there a good month before I stopped suffering a miniature heart attack every time I walked into the hallway. For that reason alone I think we’re fairly even, but full-sized tomato plants hanging from the ceiling might be pushing things too far. I know where the boundaries of social decorum lie and I try to respect them. Most of the time.

But I digress. As I always do. Back to the tomatoes. In short, I have a lot of them and am in the process of making my famous green tomato chutney as I type this [ed. I wrote that a few days ago. The chutney is done and I have already given half of the jars away as gifts!). I did not intend to can them this year; I just don’t have the time. It’s funny how you can forget what 2 pounds of chopped tomatoes plus miscellaneous ingredients looks like until it is there in front of you. I had it in my head that I could just make it and stick it in jars in the fridge rather than canning. I do not have a fridge that big or the appetite to eat it all quickly enough. So canning it is.

Unfortunately, (or fortunately depending on how you look at it), one batch does not take care of all of the green tomatoes I’ve harvested. What to do with the rest? I love fried green tomatoes, but that’s a lot of fried stuff. I’m spending an inordinate amount of time sitting on my ass these days. The only part of my body getting exercised are my typing fingers. I do not need to introduce several pounds of fried tomatoes to my digestive tract right now.

And then I remembered my glut rule: everything roasted. I adore roasted tomatoes but had never tried roasting green tomatoes. If green beans are delicious roasted with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt then surely green tomatoes would benefit from the same treatment?

In conclusion: they do and then some. It’s a revelation!

Instructions are simple:

Cut 2 lbs of green tomatoes into wedges. Cut cherry tomatoes in half or leave whole. Sprinkle with about 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt. Roast in an oven preheated to 300°F for about 40 minutes to an hour.

Store in the fridge.

Over the weekend I also slow roasted a few bulbs of hardneck garlic. We ate the test batch of green tomatoes on bread with the garlic and some goat cheese. REALLY, REALLY Good.

You should do this immediately.

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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11 thoughts on “A Glut of Green Tomatoes

  1. Excellent idea, Gayla! I was picky about the ones I decided to keep (and there are still around 15 plants to pull) since culling and checking for blush take more time than I have as well. Even with the pickiness, I still have a huge bowl and a half of unripe tomatoes to deal with so your idea sounds like a good solution. Thanks, girlfriend!

  2. Excellent! No time to pickle, and (like you) can only eat so many fried greens… Had not thought of roasting, but it appears that’s what the bounty that is spilling off the counter and onto the kitchen floor is for. Thanks!

  3. Yum is right, and I can not wait to try this! I don’t have any green tomatoes at the moment so it will have to be next year on that, but I’m going to take your roasting technique on for any other foods I think would benefit. Thanks!

  4. This sounds great! But does is work for Tomatoes that might still be a little too green? I have a ton and my tomato plants are confused have started flowering again.

  5. So excited to see this post. This is my first veg garden and i only got a handful of tomatoes from my two plants this summer, but picked over 30 green ones the other day! I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with them. Can’t wait to try these recipes

  6. i pickled most of my green tomatos… some with a few carrots and red cabbage hearts thrown in… bread n’ butter style, spicy, and dill style.

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