The days dwindle down and tomatoes ripen grudgingly. Soon, they won't at all. They'll just sit on the vines waiting for the first frost to turn them to mush.

Some we can pick and, if they have even just a hint of beginning blush, push to redness on the windowsill, or in a paper bag or plastic wrap. But many, depending on the variety, just won't ripen or will ripen like the supermarket pale imitations. Consign them to relish or pickles. Or cook them.

Green tomatoes are great broiled, simply with salt, pepper and half a pat of butter on each thick slice. Or parmesan cheese. Or buttered crumbs. Or a dab of peanut butter. Or combination thereof.

Or make them into a nippy cousin of apple sauce. Simply put them in boiling water for about five minutes, drain and pop them into the freezer for an hour. The cut them into pieces, add a little sugar (or syrup), salt and pepper to taste, and run them through the blender.

An exotic use of green tomatoes is drunken aspic:

Chop the tomatoes into pieces about half an inch square and put them into a crockery pot ( but don't pack tight) so the pot is about two-thirds full. Prepare enough consomme to brim the pot, but simmering the consomme enough to reduce it by about a cup. Take the consomme off the heat and let it cool about five minutes and add a cup of full-flavored sherry. Add this mixture to the crock and stir, gently but thoroughly. The crock should be brimming so that when it is covered there will be no air space. Refrigerate for at least two days.

If you have a quantity of green tomatoes of any of the cherry-size varieties, turn them into dills. Serve them like olives, even in martinis.

Wash a peck of small green tomatoes and pack them whole into hot, sterilized quart jars. Add in each jar a clove of garlic, uncrushed, a quarter of a green pepper sliced into thin strips, and one dill flower with seeds. Add a quart of vinegar and a cup of salt to two quarts of boiling water. Stir until the salt is thoroughly dissolved and pour it over the tomatoes. Seal at once. They'll be ready to eat in about a month.