The tomatoes coming out of my dad’s garden this year have been pretty superb. Beautiful richly flavorful, dark red fruit. Which is why it makes little sense to pick them green. But I did. Because I’m just like that.
And there was a recipe in Charcuterie I hadn’t done yet that required them.
Green tomatoes are actually mildly toxic. They are members of the nightshade family and, when unripe, contain the small amounts of the toxic alkaloids tomatine and solanine. Yet people eat them in the form of fried green tomatoes pretty commonly. Granted it takes a pretty large amount to make someone ill, but considering all the attention given to things that may be toxic or might increase the risk of this disease or that condition… it’s a bit surprising that no one seems to give things like green tomatoes any thought.
Doom and gloom, aside, I was only making a relish that would be used in pretty small quantities, so I considered the danger pretty non-existent. And, besides, these were some fine looking green tomatoes!
The recipe was pretty simple. Some juniper, peppercorn and clove in a sachet d’épice, cooked along with the green tomatoes, onion, granny smith apples, garlic, ginger, brown sugar, cider vinegar and chicken stock.
All-in-all, a pretty simple, straight forward relish, but along with it’s alkaloids, green tomatoes have a stronger, harsher flavor than ripe tomatoes, so they’re not really my thing, particularly considering it’s only been the last few years that I’ve enjoyed the flavor of whole pieces of tomato, anyway. It was interesting, but nothing I’ll go through the effort to bother making again. Seems like a waste of future ripe tomatoes to me…