Green Tomatoes AFTER frost?

dgkritch(Z8 OR)October 9, 2006

I know it's highly discouraged to use tomatoes from dying vines due to the acidity issues.....

BUT, could you use green toms after a light frost if you were going to freeze them? Such as breaded for Fried Green Tomatoes?

It seems like acidity wouldn't be an issue, but are there any other problems?

I am reluctant to let the season go, but I still have lots of green toms and I'm pushing it to not have a frost soon.

I will be picking any that have started to turn tonight.

I'll toss a tarp over the plants and take my chances maybe on the green ones. Forcast is for 38 degrees in town and we are traditionally 4-8 degrees cooler. Sigh.


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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

You can freeze them, but not can them. The acidity is not important when you freeze tomatoes.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 6:49PM
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prairie_love(z3/4 ND)

What about tomatillos? Can they still be canned as salsa if they had a frost last night that killed the vines?

I suspect I know what your answer will be, but am crossing my fingers anyway.

Deanna, my garden has been barely hanging in there for a couple of weeks, but last night finished it off. Good luck keeping yours going.


    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 7:42PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

You can harvest green tomatoes from frost-damaged vines and can them as relish or salsa. The prohibition is against picking green tomatoes from late-season plants, ripening, and then canning with those lower-acid fruits.

Here's a good document from Wisconsin Extension that specifically addresses the issue.


Here is a link that might be useful: Late-Season Tomatoes

    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 8:16PM
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prairie_love(z3/4 ND)

Ahh. Ok. Good, the tomatillos are good then. But then why couldn't you use ripe tomatoes from frost damaged vines? Are the green ones higher in acidity than ripe?

OK, as I was making pickled eggplant tonight (I'll put that in another post), I added fresh ginger. I hadn't grown ginger, so it was store bought. As I cut it, it looked like it was not the freshest ever. Not bad, but not super fresh. That got me thinking about all our concerns regarding quality of produce.

For example, I have some paste tomatoes, some tomatillos, and some poblano peppers, all of which I picked about two weeks ago but have not yet been able to get preserved. Would anyone hesitate to use these (assuming there is no obvious decay)? If you are hesitant, then what about the produce we buy? How do we know how old the ginger, red pepper, onion, etc is? In other words, I am wondering if my own "iffy" produce is still much better than store bought - and don't people sometimes can store bought?

I am not trying to be difficult, just trying to figure out where I draw the line for my comfort level.


    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 11:45PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

Greens are much higher in acidity than ripe. As the fruit ripens, the natural sugars develop and the acidity goes down. Think, for instance, how sweet ripe tomatoes are compared to biting into a green one (assuming you ever wanted to do that).

That's why when you can ripe red tomatoes they should be firm-ripe, not soft-ripe or overripe. Overripe tomatoes are lower in acidity and the tested canning recipes are calibrated for a firm-ripe tomato. There's some leeway, and a single overripe one in a batch isn't going to kill you, but I wouldn't make a point of canning with the soft, wrinkly ones.

I wouldn't personally be concerned about something like the ginger, as it's a condiment and is generally used in quite limited amounts. The same can often be said for onion, etc. when used in recipes where they aren't the principal element. We already know they're low-acid and amounts of those in something like Habanero Gold jelly are calibrated to allow for the low-acidity; hence the presence of the vinegar.

That being said, I think sometimes thrift is our enemy. In our desire to salvage every scrap we can compromise safety, or, if not, at the very least compromise quality. We invest all that time, effort, energy (our own and utilities) to bottle up something that at best will never be more than mediocre.

Believe me, I've fallen prey to that as much as anybody. It's kind of like belonging to the "clean plate" club. Sometimes that philosophy can be a disservice.


    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 12:31AM
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dgkritch(Z8 OR)

I know Annie mentioned breading and freezing green toms to fry later.
What do you bread them with that doesn't get soggy in the freezer?


(who saved a bunch of tomato plants from the frost last night, but much of the rest of the garden is history!
Will be harvesting acorn squash and praying the spinach and snow peas survive!

    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 12:29PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

Here's an old thread with Annie's comments.

Not green tomatoes, but something similar, I have an Italian friend who makes fried zucchini flats. (Long lenthwise cuts.) She breads with a cracker meal mixture, sautes until half done to fix the coating, cools and freezes that way then finishes by frying from the frozen state. She has really good luck; it would be worth trying with green tomatoes.


Here is a link that might be useful: Fried Green Tomatoes

    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 12:44PM
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sos_acres(Z5 SE IA)

Picked two heaping bushels of ripe tomatoes before frost expected tomorrow night. I plan to make tomato sauce and ketchup and freeze it. They still taste good, not quite as good as in August but still good enough that we've been gobbling them down at every meal knowing this is the last of them!
As for green tomatoes here is a neat recipe from an old Kerr book for making preserves out of them - in case anyone is interested :)


Green Tomato Preserves
5 pounds (11cups, chopped) green tomatoes
4 pounds (8 cups) sugar
2 lemons sliced thin
Cut tomatoes into small cubes or chunks, cover with hot water and boil 5 minutes. Drain, add sugar to tomatoes and let stand about 3 hours or longer. Drain off syrup and boil rapidly until it spins thread when dropped from a spoon. Add tomatoes and lemons. boil until thick and clear (about 10 minutes) Pour into sterilized jars, seal and water bath for 5 minutes (or pour into hot jars, seal and water bath for 10 minutes.)

    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 1:47PM
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aberwacky_ar7b(Southern Ozarks, AR z7a)

I slice and freeze the green tomatoes without breading, then just quickly bread them and fry them frozen. Works pretty well.


    Bookmark   October 11, 2006 at 12:50PM
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led_zep_rules(5 WI)

My good friend Tina made a green tomato soup a few weeks ago. It was reportedly very good and eaten up very fast, so tonight I had hubby make some. We didn't have their recipe so he cruised the internet a little and made up his own, basically green tomatoes, lots of chives (before they freeze tonight), garlic, salt, pepper, in water, with yogurt added at the end. I also put some cut up green tomatoes into a jar recently vacated by Claussen pickles. So there are other options besides fried green tomatos or canning something . . .


    Bookmark   October 12, 2006 at 2:29AM
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dgkritch(Z8 OR)

I now have 5 gallon ziplocs and one quart of plain sliced green tomatoes in the freezer.

We shall feast in winter!
Thanks for all the advice.


    Bookmark   October 13, 2006 at 2:56PM
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