Can you eat green tomatoes raw?

In this short article, we will answer the question, “Can you eat green tomatoes raw?” with an in-depth analysis of green tomatoes, the nutritional composition of green tomatoes, the health benefits and risks of eating green tomatoes, the benefits of cooking, and some dishes of green tomatoes. 

Can you eat green tomatoes raw?

Yes, you can eat green tomatoes raw but moderately. Green tomatoes are safe to consume, whether raw or cooked. While green tomatoes are not harmful, they do contain solanine, which can cause stomach pain in certain people if taken in high quantities.  

 As a precaution, you can eat green tomatoes in moderate amounts or cook them thoroughly before eating them. In addition, cooking improves texture and flavor, increases nutritional availability, and ensures safety. 

What is the nutritional composition of raw green tomatoes?

The following table shows the nutritional composition of 100 g of raw green tomatoes (5): 

Energy (Kcal) 22 
Moisture (g) 93.2
Protein (g) 1.1
Fat (g) 0.3 
Carbohydrate (g) 3.2 
Dietary Fiber (g) 1.6 
Vitamin B1 (mg) 0.08 
Vitamin B2 (mg) 0.05 
Vitamin B3 (mg) 0.46 
Vitamin C (mg) 16.41 
Calcium (mg) 8.49 
Iron (mg) 0.42  
Magnesium (mg) 13.57 
Manganese (mg) 0.12 
Phosphorus (mg) 22.50 
Potassium (mg) 225 
Sodium (mg) 13.11 
Zinc (mg) 0.16 

What are the health benefits of eating raw green tomatoes? 

Raw green tomatoes have various health advantages. For instance, it helps boost immunity, decrease free radicals, encourages healthy skin, promotes healing, and prevent heart diseases. 

Reduce the damage caused by free radicals 

Green tomatoes are rich in vitamin A and flavonoids, which act in combination to overcome the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are formed when we are exposed to radiation from automated devices or ultraviolet rays of the sun. 

Consuming limited quantities of green tomatoes helps control and reduce the number of free radicals in the body(1). 

Promote immunity 

Vitamin A, B6, and vitamin C in green tomatoes help to promote immunity and strengthen the antibodies that fight against harmful substances in the body(2). 

Promote healing

The flavonoids present in green tomatoes have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory characteristics that help to promote the healing process(3). 

Maintain skin health 

Green tomatoes also comprise potassium, which acts in combination with vitamins A and C to manage the skin’s flexibility(4). These nutrients are important for improving skin color. 

Lower the risk of heart disease

The dietary fiber present in green tomatoes helps in lowering the risk of heart disease. Some of it is soluble, which lowers cholesterol levels and thus the risk of heart problems(3).

 What are the risks of eating raw green tomatoes?

The risk of eating green tomatoes is related to the amount of consumption. In plants, thousands of active substances serve as defense mechanisms (6).

Tomatoes, which also consist of a significant amount of solanine and some atropine, contain the richest amount of less toxic alkaloids known as tomatine. Solanine is the more dangerous of the two compounds found in small concentrations in green tomatoes. 

Cooking has no effect on solanine in green potatoes, where it also occurs, and cooking makes it more bioavailable (causes more of it to be absorbed by your body). So, we shouldn’t assume that cooking a green tomato reduces its toxicity(7). 

In order to cause serious poisoning from the highest concentration of alkaloid, you would need to consume 22.05 ounces of unripe tomatoes raw. The bitter taste of solanine makes it highly unlikely that you could accidentally ingest such a large amount (6).

However, the concentration of toxic alkaloids is considerably low in mature tomatoes. So, they can be consumed without any worry, either cooked or raw, but the key is to consume them in moderate amounts.

Consumers who are pregnant or immunocompromised are at an increased risk of bacterial, viral, or protozoan illness. It is recommended to wash the green tomatoes in running water before consuming them to avoid the risk of contamination by different pathogenic microorganisms (11). 

What are the benefits of cooking green tomatoes?

The following are some potential benefits of cooking green tomatoes (3,8,9): 

Enhances flavor

Cooking green tomatoes can bring out their natural flavors, making them more enjoyable to eat. 

Softens texture

Green tomatoes can be tough and unpleasant to eat when raw, but cooking can soften their texture and make them easier to chew and digest. 

Increases nutrient availability

Cooking green tomatoes can increase the availability of certain nutrients, such as lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant that can help protect against certain types of cancer(8). 

Removes bitterness

Cooking can help remove some of the bitterness from green tomatoes, making them more palatable. 


It is important to wash them thoroughly before cooking and to ensure they are cooked to a safe temperature. To reduce the risk of foodborne illness, green tomatoes should be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 165°F (74°C) (9). 

How to keep green tomatoes longer?

Following are different ways to keep green tomatoes longer(10):

  • Harvest at the right time: Pick green tomatoes when they are fully grown but before the first frost to ensure they last longer. The ideal time is when the tomato has reached maturity and has begun to change color. 
  • Handle with care: Handle the green tomatoes with care to avoid bruising, cuts, or other damage that can hasten the ripening process and cause them to spoil sooner. 
  • Store in a cool and dry place: Green tomatoes should be stored in a cool, dry place, such as a pantry or root cellar, where the temperature ranges from 55 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (13 to 21 degrees Celsius), and humidity is low.  
  • Wrap individually: Wrap the green tomatoes individually in newspaper or paper towels to prevent them from touching each other, which can cause them to rot or spoil faster. 

What are the ways to enjoy green tomatoes?

The following are just a handful of the various ways to eat green tomatoes. They can be grilled, roasted, or baked, and they can be used in a variety of dishes (12). 

  1. Fried green tomatoes
  2. Pickled green tomatoes
  3. Green tomato relish
  4. Green tomato salsa
  5. Green tomato ketchup
  6. Green tomato curry
  7. Green tomato chili
  8. Green tomato parmesan bakes
  9. Green tomato chutney
  10. Green tomato sauce


In this short article, we have answered the question, “Can you eat green tomatoes raw?” with an in-depth analysis of green tomatoes, the nutritional composition of green tomatoes, the health benefits and risks of eating green tomatoes, benefits of cooking and  as well as some dishes of green tomatoes. 


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