tomatine and fried green tomatoes

Beverly Erlebacher bae at
Sat Jul 20 09:09:12 EST 2002

In article <4e4c42fd.0207190812.e14b635 at>,
don bright <aeoespam at> wrote:
>Fried green tomatoes are somewhat of a tradition in some parts of the
>It is basically dipping unripe tomatoes in
>and putting them in a skillet full of hot oil. But now I am reading
>about the glycoalkaloid tomatine that is in tomato leaves but also the
>green unripe tomato fruit. I have read that glycoalkaloids are not
>destroyed by cooking. Does this mean that consumers of fried green
>tomatoes are ingesting poison?

Yes, you are ingesting poison, but not enough to do you any real harm.

Animals have been eating plants for a billion years, and the plants have
been fighting back.  As a result of this arms race, your body can cope
with a lot.  You've also got an instinctive aversion to bitter tastes
which is how you detect alkaloids in food.

IIRC, the tomatoes are best at the 'breaker' stage, when they are full size
and just about to start showing color.  At this point they have nothing like
the bitter taste (or tomatine content) of small immature fruit.

Don't make fried green tomatoes a significant part of your diet.  All that
fried food isn't good for you!

Btw, you can pickle green tomatoes by the same fermentation process as is
used for real dill pickles.  They're really good! ;-)

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