Looking for the perfect, tangy tomato component for your salsa? Need to spruce up your sandwich or craft an unforgettable relish? Looking for a sweet substitute in your classic apple pie? The Green Giant tomato is here to fill your culinary needs! This large, versatile variety is wonderful raw or cooked, pickled, fried, baked, and so much more.
Let’s explore this wonderful, all-season tomato!
History of the Green Giant Tomato
The Green Giant tomato came from difficult origins, having once been considered garden waste. The first published recipe for Green Giant tomatoes appeared in 1877, giving this wonderful variety a boost in popularity that lasted throughout the first half of the 20th century.
It then regained culinary notoriety some time later thanks in large part to two components: the early 1990s movie “Fried Green Tomatoes”, and the work of German tomato collector Reinhard Kraft, who in 2004 shared his carefully-cultivated Green Giant tomato seeds with a famous gardener from North Carolina.
Characteristics of the Green Giant Tomato
The Green Giant is an indeterminate heirloom variety characterized by its green flesh, firm, crisp texture, and juicy bite. Green Giants fall under the beefsteak classification with a range of sizes and can be either round or shouldered with a firm center and small seeds. Their flavor tends toward the classic tomato sharpness with a hint of a sweet and occasionally peppery finish.
The Green Giant matures about 90 days after planting, allowing these sturdy beauties more time to reach their peak.
The Green Giant is known for its firm tanginess, often compared to a Granny Smith Apple and even substituted for it in some recipes. The firm flesh, meatiness, and small seed cavity makes it ideal for slicing.
The Green Giant lives up to its name, ranging in size from generally 1 to 3 inches and weighing in at as much as 32 ounces, with an oblate shape and a small seed cavity providing plenty of tomato for all your culinary purposes!
Because it is an indeterminate plant, the Green Giant tomato can thrive in most zones and will continue to produce year-round where weather permits.
Size and Spacing
The Green Giant can average a height of 6-10 feet and a spread of up to 4 feet, so seeds or transplants should be spaced accordingly. Due to the weight of the tomatoes, a cage or some other form of support is recommended.
The Green Giant tomato is an open-pollination type, so pollination will occur naturally. However, you can assist in pollination by brushing a plucked tomato flower against another, or using your finger or a small brush to spread the pollen along.
The following sections will provide highlights about tomato care. For a complete guide on optimal tomato plant care, from planting to harvesting and storage, please check out our article on How To Grow Tomatoes: The Complete Guide For the Best Tomatoes. You may also be interested in our blog post on how to grow big tomatoes!
The Green Giant thrives best with full sun exposure—meaning no shade from outdoor furniture, buildings, trees, or other plants.
The Green Giant enjoys acidity in the soil and has been known to thrive in compact and well-fertilized soil.
The Green Giant thrives with regular watering, though some have reported success with dry farming as well. Typically, you will want to keep the soil moist but not saturated. When first planting, it’s recommended to water every day for five days before switching to once every few days, depending on your climate.
To help fertilize the soil, a mixture of three layers of compost is recommended, with a teaspoon of plant fertilizer added to the base of each planting hole.
Tomatoes require specific nutrients (such as calcium) to produce their best crops of fruit. To learn how to determine what your tomatoes need and when they need it, consult our ultimate tomato fertilizer guide.
Due to the weight of the individual tomatoes, it’s recommended to have typically one stem and a second branch per plant. Keep an eye out as well for several flowers combining into one—referred to as a “mega-bloom”—as these will often produce even larger tomatoes. If this is not a size you want to produce, you can pinch off these mega-blooms.
Pruning and pinching are a tomato care technique that can help your tomato put forth its best yield. But you need to know when to do this and what tomatoes need it. To help you with this, visit our pruning tomatoes guide.
One of the appeals to the Green Giant is its proven resistance to most tomato plant diseases. However, disease can crop up unexpectedly, and it’s important to be prepared and take quick action to preserve the plant. To learn how to detect, treat, and take steps to prevent diseases, read our tomato diseases guide.
While the Green Giant shows no propensity to attract particular pests, it’s common to find them in some form or another in your garden. For information to help you spot, eliminate, and deter 15 different pests, visit our guide on common tomato pests.
When to Harvest Green Giant Tomatoes
Green Giant tomatoes are at their optimum for harvesting about 90 days after planting, usually in the late summer or early fall.
Common Uses For Green Giant Tomatoes
Green Giant tomatoes are frequently used for salsas, relishes, sandwiches, and a variety of cooking uses. They can be diced for risottos and breads and even substituted for Granny Smith apples in traditional apple-based desserts. Perhaps their most well-known form is breaded and fried.
What Does This Tomato Taste Like?
The Green Giant tomato is known for an astringent, tart, tangy flavor with notes of sweetness. It has been compared to a melon or tart apple and may have a sweet or peppery aftertaste.
The Green Giant tomato holds up well with sautéing, roasting, smoking, breading and frying, pickling, and being prepared in a tangy and delicious sauce! It can also be used in crafting relishes and ketchup.
Due to its freshness and sturdiness, the Green Giant makes an excellent tomato for raw consumption such as in salads, and for slicing and using on sandwiches and burgers.
Canning / Freezing / Drying
The high acidity of the Green Giant tomato makes it ideal for canning. Tomatoes can be frozen whole or once pureed. They also hold up well to drying, with the option to leave the peel on or remove it and dry separately for use as a tomato powder, minimizing waste.
Health Benefits of Tomatoes
Green Giant tomatoes are a great source of antioxidants, vitamins A, B-complex, C, and K, and iron and phosphorous, as well as a host of minerals. Green Giants are uniquely high in tomatine—an alkaloid found only in the green parts of a tomato plant—which is being researched for cancer-fighting properties.
Where to Buy Green Giant Tomato Plants or Seeds
It’s always best to check nurseries, farmer’s markets, and farm stands in your local area for plants and seeds that are optimal for your location! However, seeds for Green Giant variety tomatoes can also be purchased at Victory Seeds (20 seeds per pack).
Where to Buy Green Giant Tomatoes
Green Giant tomatoes are often found at farmer’s markets, specialty locations, and on menus and at grocers in temperate areas around the world. They are typically available year-round.
Wrapping Up the Green Giant Tomato
It’s been a bit of an uphill climb for the Giant Green tomato to achieve the culinary reputation it holds today—from garden waste to signature dish! Nowadays, gardeners everywhere tout its praises, from its hardiness in a variety of climates to the myriad of its uses and the unique appeal of its one-of-a-kind flavor. This is a tomato that, with just a bit of effort pruning and tending, will produce a harvest to excite the palate and help expand your culinary repertoire to new heights. Let’s get growing!
Have you ever grown Green Giant tomatoes in your home garden? If so, tell us about your experience in the comments section below! To read about other interesting and tasty tomatoes, click here for our tomato blog posts.