Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Fun with Green Tomatoes

In years past, we've covered our tomato plants with tarps through the first frosts of the fall, and eventually brought them inside to let them ripen up through Thanksgiving or so.  But some never ripen, eventually shriveling up into tomato raisins.  Others go bad.  And even the ones that do ripen seem to lack the pizzazz that fresh summer tomatoes have.  And this year, we planted a lot more tomatoes than in years past, so there would have been sacrifices of counter or garage space.  Most importantly, however, when we started experimenting with green tomato recipes last fall, we realized that we were only brushing the surface of our green tomatoes' potential

It was a perfect storm such that when frost threatened in mid-October this year, we gleefully picked all the tomatoes and got to work processing them right away, ripe or not.  Here's what we tried this year.

This bowl is just the Romas! It's about 15 lb. worth.  The green Black Krims, Mr. Stripeys, and volunteers made up about another 7 lb.

As we did last year, we didn't scrimp on the salsa making.  The batches all come out pretty good, but we haven't found a home-run recipe yet.  When we do, we'll for sure post it on here.  Our favorite uses for the salsas new this fall: nachos (of course), corn bread (both for part of the recipe and on top), and eating straight-up for sinus clearing.  Katie requires any homemade creations with more than about 2,000 Scoville units to be labeled as hot.  As a point of reference, all of the red color in the right-hand jar comes from cayenne peppers.  That kind of heat will keep you feeling warm and fuzzy inside all day!

We also made a green tomato jam (with vanilla and ginger), mainly following this recipe, but chopping everything with a stick blender in the pot, and ignoring the advice to remove the tomato seeds.  It's pretty good, but we feel like the long cooking time lets the ginger and vanilla flavors (especially the vanilla) start to dissipate.  Next year, we'll probably add some pectin and make it like regular jam.  The site we got the recipe from says it's good on plain yogurt, which it is, and it's also good on a sandwich with peanut butter (the way jam is meant to be enjoyed!).  Katie says the ginger flavor is a a little strong for her tastes, so you might want to cut back on that if you're somewhat ginger-averse.

The jam recipe also makes a pretty mean fruit leather.  It's got a molasses-type flavor, but the ginger still comes through strong enough to deter Katie.  (But she says she's not a bigot, and that some of her best friends are gingers.)

And last, but not least, mince filling!  We had never had a mincemeat pie before, but will definitely make it again.  We followed this recipe for the most part.  On its own, the filling kind of tastes like a spicy apple butter.  When mixed with an oat-and-almond crust, it tastes kind of like a Fig Newton. 

All told, those green tomatoes contributed to 14 pints worth of food, not including the test samples taken above.  Pretty good!

What do you do with your green tomatoes?


  1. Do you think they would work well for sun-dried tomatoes (though actually done in a dehydrator instead)? I've got a good minestrone soup recipe that calls for a sun-dried tomato pesto, and I was considering if using leftover green tomatoes for dried tomatoes to make the pesto would work.

    1. Maybe! I always thought it would be funny to have DRIED green tomatoes instead of FRIED green tomatoes, but I'm pretty sure that's my maternal humor gene expressing itself. :-) We'll have to try it next year and see how it turns out! If you give it a try in the meantime, let us know!