There are a lot of information about the benefits of eating fresh tomatoes and including them in your food, sauces, salads and sandwiches. Tomato juice is good in relieving hangovers. Ripe and red tomatoes are very rich in lycopene, which is essential in keeping the heart healthy as well as give other health benefits. Tomatoes make your skin glow. There are so many benefits that you can get from consuming this little fruit from the nightshade family. For clarification, the tomato is labeled as a fruit but the US Supreme Court has declared it a vegetable for culinary purposes. It is very easy to grow tomatoes and you can have one or two plants growing on your kitchen window sill or in pots in your patio. Tomatoes are abundant in summer but for those left with and abundant end of season harvest of red and green tomatoes, there are some ways for you to preserve these still-green tomatoes to let you enjoy their goodness later.
- Remove the stems from the green tomatoes and inspect them. Make sure they are firm and do not have blemishes. They should be free from insect too. Wrap each green tomato with newspaper. Place the wrapped green tomatoes in a shallow wooden crate or a wicker basket and place in dark and cool corner of your kitchen or panty where the tomatoes will be undisturbed. In a few days unwrap them to see if some have turned red. A heavy-duty cardboard box will also be a good receptacle to hold the green tomatoes.
- You can also freeze the green tomatoes if you do not want to ripen them as in the above instruction. Wash and dry the green tomatoes and slice them crosswise in one-inch thickness. Place the slices in a flat tray and pop the tray into the freezer. Check back after three hours to see if the green tomato slices are completely frozen.
- Label some freezer bags with the date and quickly transfer the frozen green tomato slices into the freezer bags. Seal the bags and arrange them in the freezer. Thaw the tomatoes when you want to make fried green tomatoes or you want to make some salsa for your nachos or to make green tomato pasta sauce and green tomato casserole.
- If you have more green tomatoes than you can use immediately, you can try making green tomato dill pickles to preserve them. Sterilize several quart canning jars to hold all the green tomatoes that you have. Mix one quart of white vinegar with two quarts of water, one cup of pickling salt in a saucepan. Add dill and allow the mixture to boil for five minutes. Pack the washed green tomatoes into the quart jars tightly and pour the hot brine over the tomatoes. Fill the jar with brine until one about half of an inch is left on top. Place the lids on the jars and screw the bands on and process the jars for fifteen minutes. Carefully remove the jars from the pot and place them on a cooling rack or over folded newspapers or towel and allow them to cool to room temperature. The green tomato dill pickles will be ready in about six weeks.
These are some ideas on how you can preserve the tomatoes that are not yet red. They still have the same goodness like the red ones although the sugar content may be higher. With these preserving techniques you can extend your time to enjoy the goodness of your tomatoes.