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Green Tomatoes Have Their Own Merits

Grilled Green Tomatoes Caprese on a plate
There are dozens of Fried Green Tomato recipes out there but for a healthier version, try this Grilled Green Tomatoes Caprese. Photo by Jennifer Davick; Styling by Lydia DeGaris Pursell - from Southern Living 2011


If you have visited the farmers market lately, you have seen trays of locally grown green tomatoes. Although you may have gone looking for red, do not despair. Even though they do not taste like red, ripe tomatoes, green tomatoes do have their own merits that deserve just as much attention as their red counterparts.

Ripe green tomatoes are a very good source of vitamins A, C and potassium. They also contain iron, calcium, dietary fiber, magnesium, and other minerals. Unripe (traditional red) tomatoes will not be as good a source for nutrients since they are not fully ripe. 1 cup of ripe green tomatoes is 41 calories; fat free, 9 grams of carbohydrates, including 2 fibers and 7 sugars, and 2 grams of protein.

Is there a difference in green tomatoes? Yes, there are two types of green tomatoes: unripe red tomatoes and those that are green when fully ripe. These are generally heirloom varieties, like Green Zebras and Green Moldavians, which are distinguishable from unripe red tomatoes. Real green tomatoes often have vertical stripes or other variations in the coloring. They will feel soft when pressed, and will taste much like a red tomato, possibly slightly sweet or spicy depending on the variety.  

Unripe red tomatoes that are green when ripe will be pale green all over, feel nearly solid and will have a more acidic or tart flavor. Nearly ripe green tomatoes (ones that feel soft) may be ripened in a paper bag on the counter top.

When you hear the word green tomatoes, your mind may immediately go to fried green tomatoes since they are a part of our Southern Food Culture. These were made famous by the movie of the same name, and are often served in southern restaurants as a side or a topping for sandwiches and burgers. Their tangy flavor and crisp texture is a fresh perspective on the tomatoes we all know and love.

Do you like eating green tomatoes? If so, what do you do with them? There are dozens of Fried Green Tomato Recipes out there, so instead try this recipe for Grilled Green Tomatoes Caprese, featured in the 2011 Southern Living Cookbook. If you already have brown balsamic vinegar use it instead of buying white. 

Grilled Green Tomatoes Caprese

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

4 medium-size green tomatoes, cut into one fourth inch-thick slices (about 2 lb.)

1 (16-oz.) package sliced fresh mozzarella cheese

salt and pepper to taste

1/3 cup thinly sliced fresh basil

In a large zip top bag, combine first 5 ingredients; add tomatoes, seal, and shake gently to coat. Chill 1 hour. Preheat grill to 350° to 400° (medium-high) heat. Remove tomatoes from marinade, reserving marinade. Grill tomatoes, covered with grill lid, 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until tender and grill marks appear. Arrange alternating slices of warm grilled tomatoes and mozzarella cheese on a large, shallow platter. Drizzle with reserved marinade; season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with basil.

For more information, contact the Miller County Extension Office, 870-779-3609 or visit us in room 215 at the Miller County Courthouse. We're online at, on Facebook at UAEXMillerCountyFCS/Car

By Carla Due
County Extension Agent - FCS
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Carla Due
County Extension Agent - FCS
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
400 Laurel Street, Suite 215 Texarkana AR 71854
(870) 779-3609


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