Beware of green tomatoes


There are extra tomato varieties that look green – and there are unripe tomatoes that are still green. Both should not be confused. If you eat too much of it, you are at risk of poisoning.

Pickled and soured or processed into jam, green, unripe tomatoes are considered a delicacy in some regions. However, caution is required. Like potatoes, tomatoes belong to the nightshade family. When immature, they contain large amounts of toxic solanine to protect themselves from predators, warns the Bavarian Consumer Center.

If too much solanine is ingested, this can lead to headache and stomach pain, nausea and vomiting. Children are particularly at risk and should not eat unripe tomatoes at all. On the other hand, if they are ripe, even the smallest can safely access them. Because the solanine is broken down during fruit ripening.

The bitter taste of solanine can sometimes be masked by spices, sweetness or acidity in the preparation. But cooking or roasting in no way reduces the solanine content. That is why the consumer advice center for jams, chutneys or the like advises to only use fruits of special green varieties that only contain small amounts of solanine when ripe.

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