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Green tomatoes, a sign that summer is almost over

Don't fret if your tomatoes don't ripen to red. Green tomatoes can be used in these low-sodium dishes.

Even though we’ve had a good summer for growing tomatoes in the garden, there always comes a time before fall when the last fruit on the vine fails to ripen. When that time arrives, we get to dig out the recipes for green tomatoes and tomatillos. Tomatillos are cousins of the green tomato, often used in Mexican cooking. They have a papery husk that you peel off before using. Put your green tomatoes to use and try the recipes below.

Salsa Cruda

Finely chop green tomatoes or tomatillos and toss with chopped jalapeño, minced garlic and chopped cilantro. You can also add this mixture, plus fresh lime juice, to mashed avocado for an extra green salsa.

Green Tomatoes with Goat Cheese

4 medium green tomatoes

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano leaves

1 cup crumbled goat cheese (feta or Chevre)

4 teaspoons olive oil

Ground pepper to taste

Cut tomatoes in 1/2-inch thick slices. Coat a shallow baking dish with oil. Place tomato slices, in a single, overlapping layer, in the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle tomatoes with vinegar and scatter minced oregano over tomatoes. Top with crumbled goat cheese and drizzle with olive oil. Boil 5-8 inches below a preheated broiler, until tomatoes are hot and cheese is just starting to brown, or about 7-8 minutes. Season with pepper and serve.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 132

Carbohydrates: 9g

Protein: 7g

Fat: 8g

Sodium: 435mg

Green Tomato Salsa

5 cups chopped green tomatoes

1½ cups seeded, chopped long green chilies (Anaheims)

1/2 cup seeded, finely chopped jalapeno peppers

4 cups chopped onions

1 cup bottled lemon or lime juice

6 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tablespoon ground cumin

3 tablespoons oregano leaves

1 teaspoon black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and stir frequently over high heat, until mixture begins to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Ladle hot salsa into pint jars, leaving ½-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process in a boiling water canner about 15-20 minutes, or freeze in plastic containers for up to 6 months. Makes 5 pints.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 10

Carbohydrates: 2g

Protein: 0g

Fat: 0g

Sodium: 3mg

[Katy G. Wilkens is a registered dietitian and department head at Northwest Kidney Centers. The National Kidney Foundation Council on Renal Nutrition has honored her with its highest awards: the Susan Knapp Excellence in Education Award and the Joel D. Kopple Award for significant contributions in renal nutrition. See more recipes at www.nwkidney.org.]