Can you eat green tomatoes?

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

Can you eat green tomatoes? 

Yes, you can eat green tomatoes. Green tomatoes provide many health benefits to people who choose to incorporate them into their diet. The nutrients in green tomatoes help get rid of the damage caused by free radicals, increase immunity, promote healing, improve skin health, and decrease heart risks. 

What are green tomatoes?

Tomatoes, scientifically known as Solanum Lycopersicum, belong to the Solanaceae family. There are two kinds of green tomatoes:

Real green tomatoes

Tomatoes that are green when fully ripened, generally heirloom varieties, are the real green tomatoes that often have upright stripes or other modifications in the colouring. They feel soft when touched, and have a taste much like a red tomato, perhaps somewhat sweet or spicy based on the variety. 

Real green tomatoes provide a good amount of vitamins A, vitamin C and potassium. They also provide magnesium, iron, calcium, dietary fibre, among other minerals. 

Unripened green tomatoes 

The other kind of green tomatoes is the unripened form of red tomatoes. Red tomatoes that have not fully ripened will be pale green throughout, feel almost hard to touch and will have a more acidic or sour flavour. 

Unripened, traditionally red tomatoes are not a good source of nutrients since they are not completely ripened. 

People who are sensitive to acidic foods should avoid eating unripened green tomatoes as they can be more acidic than ripened tomatoes.

Both these forms of tomatoes can be used in a variety of different recipes and both are delicious.

The nutritional composition of green tomatoes 

A hundred gram serving of raw green tomatoes provides:

  • Calories: 18 
  • Water: 95 per cent
  • Carbohydrates: less than 5 grams
  • Vitamin C:  28 per cent of the RDI

Green tomatoes have low amounts of carbs. The carbohydrate content consists mostly of simple sugars including glucose and fructose. 

Tomatoes are also rich in fibre, mainly insoluble fibres such as cellulose, lignin, and hemicellulose.  

Vitamin C and potassium present in green tomatoes are beneficial for the prevention of heart diseases. While vitamin K is crucial for blood clotting functions. Green tomatoes also consist of folate required for healthy tissue growth and cell function, particularly in pregnant women.

Green tomatoes also have beneficial plant compounds including:

  • chlorogenic acid
  • Naringenin
  • beta carotene

The health benefits of green tomatoes 

Green tomatoes are rich in vitamin A and flavonoids, which work 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 help maintain and reduce the presence of free radicals in the body. 

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. 

Green tomatoes contain bioflavonoids, which have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that promote the healing process. 

They also contain potassium, which works in combination with vitamin A and C to maintain the skin’s elasticity. These nutrients are famous for promoting skin freshness and tone. 

The presence of dietary fibre in green tomatoes aids in lowering the risk of heart problems. Some of the fibre in tomatoes is soluble, which reduces cholesterol levels and the risk of heart diseases.

The risks of eating green tomatoes

The family to which tomatoes belong is known for their poisonous plants including henbane, mandrake, deadly nightshade, datura etc. 

All of these plants contain numerous toxic alkaloids, among which solanine, atropine and nicotine are well recognised. 

Tomatoes, which also consist of a significant amount of solanine and some atropine, contain the richest amount of less toxic alkaloids known as tomatine. 

However, the concentration of toxic alkaloids is considerably low in mature tomatoes. Above all, the plant needs to guard its naive green fruits from predation so they can grow safely and produce intact seeds. Therefore, it makes sense green fruits should be poisonous. 

Ripened products were meant to be eaten by animals. This is how fruiting plants reproduce. As the fruit is eaten by a bird, reptile or mammal, its seeds are either fallen on the ground in a new place or move through the digestive system intact, so the animal partner distributes the seeds far and wide through its faeces. 

The toxicity of many fruits in the Solanaceae family that includes tomatoes fall to almost zero as they mature. And that is why most people can eat fully ripened tomatoes with an exception.


In this short article, we have answered the question, “Can you eat green tomatoes?” with an in-depth analysis of green tomatoes, types of green tomatoes, the health benefits and risks of eating green tomatoes. 


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.