Some of us have planned purposes for green, unripe tomatoes early in the season – like my mother’s delish green tomato relish recipe! – while others are grabbing end of season unripe tomatoes off the vines before the frost hits. Now you have a lot of these green tomatoes, what to do with them?
Unripe tomatoes may be canned like ripe tomatoes, following the same directions including acidification. Even though unripe tomatoes should have a lower pH (higher acid content) than their ripe counterparts, we do not know if even in the unripe stage your variety and growing situation may mean they are still above pH 4.6. So follow the USDA directions for canning tomato and tomato products, including the acidification. See the acidification advice even for green tomatoes here: https://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_03/tomato_intro.html and the available canning procedures for tomatoes here: https://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can3_tomato.html
How about that prized relish in our family? That and other relishes calling for green tomatoes include
- Pickled Green Tomato Relish: https://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_06/green_tomato_relish.html
- Piccalilli: https://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_06/piccalilli.html
- Fall Garden Relish: https://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_06/fall_garden_relish.html
- And Rummage Relish: https://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_06/rummage_relish.html
And, even though it doesn’t call for green, unripe tomatoes, I might throw in the more unusual, very tasty Oscar Relish to help use up those red tomatoes being grabbed off vines before the frost, also: https://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_06/oscar_relish.html .
Another option for something a bit different (and not a relish), is the Green Tomato Pie Filling: https://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_02/can_pie/green_tomato_filling.html This will give you a great headstart for something to have handy during winter holidays (or really anytime).
Image courtesy of Randal Oulton
Some look forward to the summer treat of fried green tomato slices; you can freeze your raw slices and have them for frying later in the year, also:
Freezing green tomato slices: https://nchfp.uga.edu/how/freeze/tomato_green.html
For more information on canning and freezing methods, including packaging choices and headspace for freezer containers, see general sections on these topics available from the National Center for Home Food Preservation at the University of Georgia, https://nchfp.uga.edu.