Cooking with Green Tomatoes

green tomatoGreen is the New Red – I hate to say it, but you know all those green tomatoes you have growing? They’ll likely stay that way. We’ve had a few nice weeks of heat, but the days are short now and it won’t be enough to ripen all the fruits. Since you’ve already trimmed up your plant and removed the teeny tiny green tomatoes so they won’t suck all the energy away from the bigger fruits, here are some tips on how to deal with a green tomato glut.

– If green tomatoes are full sized, you can bring them in the house to ripen. Be sure to try and keep them in a cool spot (i.e. not your windowsill). This helps to prevent rot. If you have a gnat problem, cover the bucket/bowl loosely with cheesecloth.

– Cook with your green tomatoes! Green tomatoes make great chutneys and jams. I came across a great relish recipe for canning here last year, but I can’t attest to the flavor, as I’ve not made it myself. I typically stick to a not-too-sweet ‘jam’ so I’m able to use it with roasted meats during winter, and I’ll be posting recipes to the blog shortly.

– Quick pickles – I love to make a quick pickle for any meal. It’s something you find in chef kitchens often, as a little bit of tang on a dish, but I like a small bowl as a side dish. Quick pickles are basically fruit or vegetable mascerated in a vinegar solution for a short amount of time. For green tomatoes, try a quick pickle, or let them sit in the fridge overnight. They are wonderful served as accompaniments on sandwiches and especially on burgers. I like the soft flavor of rice wine vinegar, but you can easily substitue regular ol’ white vinegar or another, if you like. Stir all ingredients together and add sliced green tomatoes, letting sit one hour, or overnight.

AMY’S QUICK PICKLE BRINE

½ cup rice wine vinegar
2 T sugar
Pinch red pepper flakes
Pinch of salt

– Soups – green tomatoes will have similar characteristics of a tomatillo, and so may be used interchangeably (although they are not as tangy). Think stewed green tomatoes (a little stock in a pan, cook down diced tomatoes until soft) with a little smoked pepper, cilantro and a dollop of sour cream. Toss in some jalapenos for heat. Pull in some braised pork shoulder, grill up some tortillas, and you have a delish hearty soup. And in perfect time for the cold weather! (And if you’re the kind of person that just can’t cook comfortably without a formal recipe to envision this, email me here, and I can type one up.)