Every year the generous tomato plants bless us with an overabundance of fruit that doesn’t have the chance to ripen before the first frost. Tomatoes take their sweet time to figure out how to bear more and more fruit and their best and most abundant yield goes so far into the fall they don’t have time to finish it.
For any of the tomatoes that started ripening even slightly, just keeping them on a counter in your kitchen for a few days will turn them into salad fare. They may not be as tasty as the ones that ripen on the vine, but will still be juicy and delicious.
The green tomatoes that are hard and deep green and show no tinge of changing color are probably not going to ripen, no matter how long you keep them on a shelf.
If you are not a big fan of pickled green tomatoes, which are actually very refreshing (here is a recipe) and you ate all the fried green tomatoes you can palate, I discovered a wonderful use for unripe tomatoes last year and actually regretted not making more: green tomato sauce. If you are wondering what that is, it’s like red tomato sauce, but made from unripe tomatoes.
What on earth would one do with something like that? If you like sour vegetable soups, gazpachos, relishes or chutneys, it gives these dishes a very subtle spicy zing.
So, when you finally have to pick all your green tomatoes, chop them, run them through the food processor until they are pureed (you can add salt and pepper, or any other spices you enjoy to the paste, I prefer to keep it simple and add condiments to the finished product), fill clean dry mason jars with the paste so that there is no space left at the top, screw the lids on the jars and boil them on low heat for about forty minutes to pasteurize the content.
Of course this fate will not befall the beautiful specimens in the picture, which will have plenty of time to ripen on the vine, as intended.