Welcome to the Let's Preserve blog! Brought to you by Penn State Cooperative Extension, you will find the latest on preserving safe, high quality food at home. The information included is based on up-to-date research from the U.S. Dept of Agriculture and Cooperative Extension.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Don't Can Tomatoes from Frost-Killed Vines and What to do with Green Tomatoes

The calendar and the cool air, at least where I am writing from, tell me that the first frost isn't far away. If you have tomato plants and can your tomatoes, keep in mind that tomatoes picked from frost killed vines should not be canned.

When the vine dies, the acid level of the tomato changes. The tomato is less acid than it was before the vine died. Recipes for canning tomatoes are based on the tomato having a specific acid level. So canning tomatoes from dead vines will result in an unsafe product.

If you know a frost is coming you can harvest your mature green tomatoes. They should be solid, firm, free of defects, full size, and have greenish white skin color. What can you do with them?

Cooperative Extension at Clemson University offers advice on ripening green tomatoes to eat fresh or for cooking. For directions go to http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/food/pdf/hgic4257.pdf.

The National Center for Home Food Preservation has several tested recipes for canning green tomatoes.

Pickled Sweet Green Tomatoes

Spiced Green Tomatoes

Kosher Style Dill Green Tomato Pickles


Green Tomato Pie Filling

If you try one of these recipes please share how you liked it.


  1. So I need to add lemon juice to my juiced tomatoes...sorry, I'll rarely ever throw something away. Thanks for the "why" on frost vines.

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