A few days ago, son Kelly brought over a bagful of green tomatoes. I put some on the windowsill next to my computer – it gets the morning sun – to see how long it would take them to ripen. Two-three days and they were ripe! I blanched these and peeled off the skins, and then chopped up the tomatoes to go into a pot of Cincinnati chili. Then yesterday, my sister brought me a little bucketful of green tomatoes from her garden. (I think everyone is worrying about a frost since we had a couple of chilly nights). Just so you know, (and I
have done this when I had a huge glut of green tomatoes and it was getting late in the season) – you can wrap each green tomato in newspaper and then store them in a box or basket, somewhere that stays cool but won’t freeze. When we lived in Arleta, that storage spot was our tool shed, built onto the back of the garage. The tomatoes ripened beautifully on their own, inside the newspaper. Just check on them every so often.
But if you have a lot of green tomatoes and are feeling ambitious – I’d like to share some of my green tomato recipes with you. One is a very old fashioned recipe for something you seldom hear about anymore – Piccalilli! To make Piccalilli you will need:
2 quarts green tomatoes
3 small onions
¼ cup salt (not iodized)
2 cups chopped celery
1 each sweet and green red bell peppers, finely diced
1 ½ cups brown sugar
1 ½ cups vinegar
4 TBSP mixed pickling spices
Chop the tomatoes and onions and cover them with salt. Let them stand over night. Drain carefully and add the chopped celery and peppers. Pour the sugar, vinegar and spices (tied into a cheesecloth bag – or do as I do, use a tea caddy) into a large pot. Bring the pickling mixture to a boil and add the vegetables. Reduce the heat to a simmer and continue cooking for about 2 hours or until the piccalilli is thickened and rich. REMOVE THE SPICE BAG. Pour into sterilized jars making sure that an equal amount of liquid goes into each, and seal. The original recipe doesn’t provide directions for a boiling water bath, but I would give the piccalilli a 15-20 minute boiling water bath if you don’t plan to eat it right away. It should be stored in a cool dark place.
GREEN TOMATO MINCEMEAT
When I first began canning, I couldn’t imagine a pie (such as mincemeat) actually being made with real meat. So, when I delved into pie making, I began making mincemeat without the meat. Works well for vegetarians, too.
To make about 10 pints or 5 quarts of green tomato mincemeat you will need:
8 cups chopped green tomatoes
4 cups boiling water
10 cups chopped green apples (such as Granny Smith)
4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 cups raisins
2 cups currants
½ cup white vinegar
3 TBSP chopped orange zest
3 TBSP chopped lemon zest
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground allspice
2 TBSP unsalted butter
Place the tomatoes in a large bowl. Sprinkle salt over the tomatoes and let stand 1 hour to draw excess moisture out of the tomatoes. Rinse tomatoes and drain well. Pour boiling water over the tomatoes and let stand 5 minutes. Drain well. In a large pot, combine the drained tomatoes and all of the remaining ingredients in the order given except the butter, stirring gently after each addition. Then bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer until the apples are tender when pierced with a fork. Stir frequently to prevent sticking. Stir in the butter. Remove pot from heat.
Spoon the mincemeat into hot sterilized jars (pints or quarts), leaving ½” headspace. Wipe jar rims with a clean, damp cloth and cover with hot lids. Screw on tightly and process either pints or quarts in a boiling water bath for 30 minutes. This recipe will make either 10 pints or 5 quarts. **
For those who like chutney here is a fairly simple recipe for Green Tomato and Onion Chutney. To make chutney you will need:
2 lbs green tomatoes, chopped
4 large onions, chopped
4 large green apples, peeled, cored and chopped-about one pound
2 ¼ cups white wine vinegar
1½ cups golden raisins
1 TBSP chopped fresh ginger
½ tsp EACH: salt and ground red pepper
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Put tomatoes, onions and apples in a large non-aluminum pot; add half of the vinegar. Heat to a boil and cook, stirring, over medium-low heat 45 minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally until chutney thickens, about 20-30 minutes. Pour into clean jars. Cover tightly and refrigerate up to several months. Makes 2-3 cups chutney.
One of the most unusual recipes I have ever come across, for using green tomatoes is a Green Tomato Raspberry Jam. No one will guess that there are green tomatoes in the recipe. It’s easy to make and also freezes well. And there’s not much to making it! To make Green Tomato Raspberry Jam you will need
4 cups shredded green tomatoes
4 cups white granulated sugar
1 6-oz package raspberry
flavored gelatin mix
Combine tomatoes and sugar in a large pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir and cook about 10 minutes. Add the gelatin, reduce heat to low and simmer 20 minutes. Spoon into hot sterilized jars and seal, or pour into freezer containers and freeze.
PS After posting this, a niece mentioned fried green tomatoes in an email–how could I have overlooked this beloved southern recipe? Following are two recipes; one simple and one with a few more ingredients:
FRIED GREEN TOMATOES
• 4 to 6 green tomatoes
• salt and pepper
• bacon grease or vegetable oil
Slice the tomatoes into 1/4 – 1/2-inch slices. Salt and pepper them to taste. Dip in meal and fry in hot grease or oil about 3 minutes or until golden on bottom. Gently turn and fry the other side.
ANOTHER RECIPE FOR FRIED GREEN TOMATOES
Yield: Makes 4 to 6 servings
• 1 large egg, lightly beaten
• 1/2 cup buttermilk
• 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, divided
• 1/2 cup cornmeal
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon pepper
• 3 medium-size green tomatoes, cut into 1/3-inch slices
• Vegetable oil
• Salt to taste
Combine egg and buttermilk; set aside. Combine 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, cornmeal, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper in a shallow bowl or pan. Dredge tomato slices in remaining 1/4 cup flour; dip in egg mixture, and dredge in cornmeal mixture. Pour oil to a depth of 1/4 to 1/2 inch in a large cast-iron skillet; heat to 375°. Drop tomatoes, in batches, into hot oil, and cook 2 minutes on each side or until golden. Drain on paper towels or a rack. Sprinkle hot tomatoes with salt.