Think outside the frying pan.

Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Torie Cox

If your tomato plants are producing on overdrive these days, you may be worried about what to do with all the excess fruit. You don’t need to wait for the tomatoes to ripen before enjoying them. Sure, you will want some to turn ruby-red and juicy so you can slice them up for a BLT or your childhood favorite, a tomato-mayo-and-white-bread sandwich. But there are some surprising ways to enjoy an unripe tomato, better known as a green tomato. You may be familiar with the classic and crunchy Fried Green Tomatoes, but how about trying them as a garnish on a juicy, four-napkin burger? If you think frying is the only way to use up green tomatoes, read on.

Bake Them

Your guests may think your dessert is a fresh-out-of-the-oven spice-filled apple pie but, in fact, it is a Green Tomato Pie. Often called the apple pie of summer, green tomatoes, when baked with warm spices such as cinnamon and cloves, take on fruity notes similar to Granny Smith apples or rhubarb. As flavorful as the filling is, the bacon dripping-flavored crust is also an integral part in making this a fantastic recipe for your summer family reunions and church potlucks.

Change up your usual cornbread routine by stirring in some diced green tomatoes and (gasp!) a touch of sugar. These Sweet Green Tomato Cornmeal Muffins pair well with a bowl of tomato soup, or bake them in mini muffin tins and serve as appetizers along with a pimiento cheese spread.

Pickle Them

If it can be grown in a garden, Southerners will find a way to turn it into a pickle. If you have an interest in canning and preserving, this recipe for Green Tomato-Hot Pepper Picklesis sure to please your pioneering spirit. Eat these spicy-tart pickles straight out of the jar or pulse them in a food processor to make a quick salsa or garnish for hot dogs and pulled pork sandwiches. If you like pickles on the milder side, gently scoop the seeds (that is where the heat is) from the cut peppers before adding the peppers to the jars.

WATCH: You Need To Make This Tomato, Cheddar, and Bacon Pie

Soup Them

When Mama told you to eat your greens, she probably didn’t mean green tomatoes, but we know she would approve of this vibrant hued Green Tomato Soup with Lump Crabmeat loaded with other green goodness, such as basil, cilantro, and arugula. This vibrant tasting, peppery soup and crab salad can be made up to a day ahead stored in the refrigerator. Since it is served chilled, this recipe is a great choice for summertime brunches and luncheons.

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