This week, there was a real nip in the early morning air (and my trusted thermometer confirmed that night temps had dropped below 13C), and I decided that my green tomatoes would never ripen on the vines, nor would the last blooms ever fruit. So I declared the official start of my fall garden, by harvesting all tomatoes, red and green, pulling out the plants, and planting cabbage instead.
What I normally do with my green tomatoes is to put them in a paper bag with a couple of apples, and let them ripen (an old farmers trick from around here, with a scientific explanation: apples produce ethylene gas which promotes ripening of the tomatoes as well). Yet although green tomatoes ripened this way do eventually turn red, they never acquire that full tomatoey taste of fruit vine-ripened in the summer sunshine. So this year, I decided to use them as they were - green - in a mexican green tomato salsa verde recipe I found on the Internet.
I don't know whether it was the fact that I substituted tunisian harrissa for mexican jalapeños, or my omission of cilantro, which isn't available in this country, or because I didn't add as much sugar as the recipe called for (sugar with tomatoes? I wasn't trying to make tomato jam...). But this salsa verde didn't do much for me: it tasted of unripe, sourish, green tomatoes. Or maybe you have to be born and raised in Mexico, instead of Italy, to appreciate green tomato salsa verde. Or was it all of the above?
At any rate, it was a culinary experiment that I'm glad I tried. Now I'm moving full speed ahead with fall gardening, and plan to grow heaps of ripe, green cabbages.