3 things to do with all those green tomatoes

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By Deb Quantock McCarey

Contributing reporter/Nature blogger

It has been a good year for tomatoes here, until this weekend when the first flakes of snow fell.  The first average frost for the Chicago area is October 1-10, after all. Ugh. 

Even so, it didn't take my crop of tomatoes out, but now I'm being a little cautious.

With that event, my season of warm weather veggies came to a near crushing close, with lots of green tomatoes still on the vine.

And so for this urban gardener, it always goes.

Still, this weekend I picked as many tomatoes before the near frost as possible, because if tomatoes are hit by temps colder than 40 degrees, I have been told that they have less flavor. 

But, I have left a few smaller tomatoes on the vine as an experiment, and brought the bigger ones inside to ripen off the vine. 

Meanwhile, I'm giving these three things that any home gardener with tomatoes can do, as well.

1.  Ripening them inside, by wrapping them in newspaper, or as I do, putting them on a cool dry shelf lined with newspapers. 

2.  Making to-die-for fried green tomatoes:  slice 'em, dip in whisked raw egg mixture, dredge the slices in seasoned flour and fry the prepared green tomatoes in olive oil until soft and brown.

3.  Cooking more creatively:  green tomato sauces, pickles, relishes, breads, salsas and so on. 

And, of course, I am planning next year's home grown crop, 'cause it's never too early to start dreaming about picking and eating a juicy red, yellow -- and yes, even green--tomato from the vine.

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David Hammond from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 8th, 2014 10:43 AM

Surprised you fry the green tomatoes in olive oil. We can never get the oil hot enough, and if we do, we get loads of smoke.

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