The other day I asked the internet what I could do with green tomatoes since I have a good fifty pounds to harvest. The internet says you can ripen green tomatoes if they have a hint of yellow or rose. That’s sweet, but I’m not interested in working for a red tomato.
It’s super weird to me to even be thinking about tomatoes at the end of October. We came from Colorado where I wouldn’t dare expect a fresh tomato, not even at the grocery store–especially in October. By this time I’d already have my studded snow tires on the car. I understandably feel it is presumptuous to think I could encourage a green tomato to ripen when we are a mere sixty-some days from Christmas.
Plus I am lazy and refuse to wrap and unwrap individual tomatoes every day, checking on their ripeness. I love tomatoes, but I’m no greedy psycho. I’ll be satisfied with the juicy, lovely vine-ripened fruit I got and I’ll not want for more.
In my search for what-to-do-with-green-tomatoes-besides-fry-them, one website mentioned the idea of using them in place of tomatillos to make a green salsa (better known as salsa verdy to the more attuned midwesterner). Now we are talking!
When I lived in southwest Colorado, I had a wonderful friend who grew tomatillos every year. She was from Arizona and probably well-acquainted with nightshades. I honestly didn’t have a clue what she was showing me in her garden the first time I went to her house.
“They’re poisonous raw,” she warned, so I slapped one out of the two year old’s hands before he got it to his mouth.
She canned her own salsa and it was tangy and citrusy and wonderful, a nice change from regular tomato salsa.
I texted her my idea to use green tomatoes. She told me to go for it. Turns out it is the most delicious use of green tomatoes I’ve ever experienced, and even Joe sang praises (in his usual backhanded compliment way) while he ate his pork taco.
“So…I won’t curl up into a fetal position with stomach cramps if I eat this green tomato salsa?” he asked.
“Joe, do you even know tomatillos are nightshades? Has that ever stopped you from eating salsa verde before?”
No. The answer is no. And he is fine up to this moment, many hours later, because green tomato salsa verde is a perfect fresh condiment and a super viable way to get rid of sad green tomatoes.
Ask not what you can do for green tomatoes, but what green tomatoes can do for you!
Green Tomato Salsa Verde
- 8-10 large green tomatoes (no red visible)
- 3-4 serrano peppers, sliced in half and seeds removed (jalapenos also work)
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- 1 large white onion, diced
- 1 bunch cilantro, washed and stems removed
- salt, pepper
- juice of lime to taste
Heat oven to 425 degrees. On two sheet pans, drizzle oil. Cut tomatoes into quarters and arrange them on sheet pans. Add peppers and unpeeled garlic to the pan. Make sure there is plenty of room for the veggies to roast–don’t crowd the pan! Season generously with salt and pepper. Roast in over for 20-25 minutes or until veggies are nicely browned and tomatoes are cooked. It’s okay if some parts are blackened, this makes it taste amazing. Let cool completely.
Squeeze the soft garlic out of its skin; discard skin. Using either a food processor or immersion blender, pulse tomatoes, peppers, and soft garlic with onion and cilantro to desired consistency. Taste, add lime juice and salt/pepper as desired.