Thursday, September 15, 2011

Green Tomatoes - 1 Dozen Recipes

In light of last night's threat of frost, the time has come to prepare ourselves for the inevitable Green Tomato Harvest.  Most years that means a bountiful crop.  Its a sad time.  No more sweet, juicy, red tomatoes.  Not until next July for us up here in zone 4.  Sigh.

Look familiar, zone 4?

End-of-Summer heartache
 Even the weatherman includes a garden advisory in his report.  "Potential for frost overnight, you may want to cover those tender plants."  For tomatoes we get a blessed two months.  After that we're relegated to the bland, tasteless grocery store variety.  So, so sad.

Ours did make it through the night, and we have warmer weather in store for a little longer.  However, it's time to prepare for the green tomato season.

I received these recipes in a Living on a Dime email a few days ago for Mock Raspberry Jam.  But get this, they use green tomatoes!  And what's nicer than having recipe?  Having it in two sizes, of course.

Mock Raspberry Jam 1
2 1/2 cups green tomatoes, grated or chopped well in a blender
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 (3 oz.) package of raspberry or strawberry Jello
Cook tomatoes and sugar on medium heat for 20 minutes uncovered. Turn down heat. Add Jello and cook until Jello is dissolved. Pour in sterilized jars or freezer containers. Stores in the fridge a couple of weeks and in the freezer about 6 months. Makes 2-3 pints.

Mock Raspberry Jam Recipe 2
4 cups green tomatoes, grated or chopped fine in the blender
4 cups sugar
1 (6 oz.) pkg. raspberry or strawberry Jello
Cook tomatoes and sugar 10 minutes over medium heat. Turn down heat. Add Jello and cook 20 more minutes. Pour in sterilized jars or freezer containers. Keeps two weeks in refrigerator and 6 months in freezer. Makes about 6 pints.

This recipe is one I found while researching green tomato recipes last year.  I still haven't tried lime pickling.  Maybe this year.  It's from, The Joy of Pickling cookbook.  An amazing book, if you get a chance check it out.

Southern Limed Green Tomato Pickle
6 pints

4 pounds green tomato
1/2 cup pickling lime
2 quarts water
1 quart cider vinegar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons pickling salt
2 teaspoons yellow mustard seed
1 teaspoon allspice berry
1 teaspoon whole clove
1 cinnamon stick
2 cup onion, sliced

Cut tomatoes crosswise into 1/4 inch slices.
In large bowl, stir in pickling lime and water.
Add tomato.
Let soak 12 - 24 hours.
Cover with cold water.
Let soak 1 hour.
Soak 1 hour again.
Repeat a third time.
In a large, nonreactive pot, combine vinegar, sugars, salt, and mustard seeds.
Tie remaining spices in cheesecloth and add to pot.
Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugars and salt.
Add tomatoes and onion. 
Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.
Ladle vegetables and liquid into sterilized jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
Adjust lids.
Process 10 minutes.

I found this recipe from the same book.  They're quite tasty.  Great with egg salad sandwiches.  But I wouldn't make more than the three pints, you may be stuck with them for longer than you thought.  If you omit the curry, turmeric, and ginger and, instead, add grated horseradish, and pepper you get Piccalilli, another green tomato recipe! 

French-Mennonite Curried Green Tomato Pickle
3 pints

2 1/2 pounds (2 quarts) green plum tomato, sliced 3/16 inch thick
(I wasn't this picky.  I just used my smallest tomatoes and sliced'em "pretty thin".)
1 medium onion, sliced thin
2 Tablespoons pickling salt
2 cups cider vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

Combine green tomato and onion in large bowl.
Add salt.
Mix gently.
Let stand 8 - 12 hours.
Drain again.
In large, nonreactive pot, boil vinegar, sugar, and spices.
Add vegetables.
Boil again.
Reduce heat.
Simmer 3 minutes until vegetables are just heated through.
Pack into sterilized jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
Adjust lids.
Process 10 minutes.

In 1973 Better Homes and Gardens Home Canning cook book gave us this recipe for green tomato dill pickles.  Better be sure you like them, this makes an awful lot.

Green Tomato Dill Pickles
5 quarts

5 pounds small, firm green tomatoes
Fresh dill heads or dill seed
Garlic cloves
Whole cloves
4 cups vinegar
1/3 cup salt

Wash tomatoes; slice 1/4 inch thick.
Pack tomatoes loosely into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
To each quart add 3 - 4 heads dill or 2 Tablespoons dill seed, 1 clove garlic, and 1 clove.
In saucepan combine vinegar, salt, and 4 cups water.
Bring to boiling.
Pour boiling pickling liquid over tomatoes, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
Adjust lids.
Process in boiling water bath (quarts) 20 minutes.

If you've been following my Pioneer Preserving Recipes series, you may have found some green tomato recipes.  There's Corn Relish from the Midwest.  There's Tomato Mincemeat, Ginger Tomato Preserves, and Mustard Pickles from the sweet and sour Pennsylvania Dutch.  And there's the Kennebunk Pickle from New England.  

I haven't gotten out west yet, but here's a little preview with something that sounds like a nice replacement for that tired taco sauce! One quart is a good size for a relish, I think we could put these into 4 half pint jars. 

Mexican Relish
1 quart

1 pint vinegar
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 Tablespoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 green tomatoes
2 green peppers
1 onion
1/2 teaspoon horseradish

Heat vinegar, add chili powder, boil 10 minutes.
Add mustard and salt.
Chop vegetables fine.
Add vegetables and horseradish to sterilized jar(s).
Add boiling vinegar to cover.
(This is the end of the recipe.)
Leave 1/2 inch headspace.
Adjust lids.

Last, and most deliciously not least, is the quintessential fried green tomato.  If you haven't tried them yet, make this your year!  It's a can't-miss culinary delight.  I started making mine from the Betty Crocker cookbook several years ago.  I've tweaked it since then; replacing some of the flour with cornmeal for crunch, and adding a tiny pinch of cayenne to compliment the tangy flavor of the green tomato.

I don't measure any longer, but I've found this recipe from Martha Stewart.  She also uses egg, which, I imagine, helps it hold together that much better and fry up real nice.  I'm trying this recipe this year.

Fried Green Tomato
serves 4

5 medium green tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick 
1/2 cup flour
pinch cayenne pepper
salt & pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup cornmeal
cooking oil

Heat oven to 200°F.
Prepare baking sheet with paper towels.
Whisk together flour, cayenne, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pinch pepper in pie plate.
Whisk eggs in separate dish.
Combine cornmeal and 1/2 teaspoon salt in third dish.
Dredge tomatoes in flour mixture.
Coat in egg mixture.
Coat in cornmeal mixture.
Heat 1/4 inch oil in cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
Fry breaded tomatoes until golden on both sides.
Transfer to baking sheet, sprinkle with salt.
Keep warm in oven while frying remaining tomatoes.
Serve hot.

Green tomatoes will be celebrated almost as much as the ripe ones, once we learn to use them.  Happy saving, friends!

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As long as I'm on this journey, rambling through life's exhilarating highs and trudging heavily amongst it's incapacitating lows, I might as well share whatever may be gleaned from my little bits of wisdom and my many missteps. No room for judgment from this broken mama. I'm writing from my heart: raw, open, messy, but saved. And I'm still thanking God!