Green tomatoes. Almost the middle of October and they definitely weren’t going to ripen now. We’d already tried ripening a few indoors but it wasn’t very successful and anyway, they just don’t taste the same as when they’ve ripened on the vine.
“I’ve picked the lot”, said husband. It was now my job to think of something to do with them. I’d already made green tomato and apple chutney but it made the kitchen smell weird for at least two or three days after it’s been cooking, and in our case, as it’s directly above, the airing cupboard too! I’d had enough of that. (I must say – it tastes good though).
At some point in the past I must have been told that unripe green tomatoes mustn’t be eaten raw as they are poisonous. I hit Google to establish whether this was actually true and came up with the following: unripe, green tomatoes contain the toxic alkaloid solanine. Apparently it’s not all that dangerous but the general advice seems to be that it’s best to cook them. I wasn’t, in any case, planning to serve them up as they were so I searched for recipes where I could use them. Lots of sites offered ideas but they were all much of a muchness. In general, fried green tomatoes were recommended (I’d no idea that they are cooked in a sort of crumb mix) or tomato tarts. I opted for the second, sauteed onions and yellow pepper with the tomatoes and filled individual pastry cases, topping them with Greek cheese.
Pastry is not my forte and I buy it ready made (as do James Martin, Gordon Ramsey and Jamie Oliver who have all said words to the effect that commercially produced pastry is excellent so I’m in good company). I’m not even very good at rolling pastry out, and almost a disaster at pressing it into tins – it’s the long nails, they keep piercing it! Anyhow, here are two of the tarts, the rest are frozen. We had them for dinner the other evening. Husband wasn’t enamoured. I thought they tasted ok but they’re not something I’d bother to make again. I sliced up the remaining tomatoes and froze them; they can be added to casseroles or mixed-bean chilli.
The moral of this tale is, ‘get the plants earlier so they’ve longer to ripen’.