Monday, March 23, 2009

Creative Uses for Green Tomatoes

Like anyone who grows their own tomatoes, I had a significant harvest of green tomatoes left over from all our cherry-type tomato plants this past summer. What to do? Well, I love green tomato pie. I slice & freeze the larger green tomatoes to make this recipe during the rest of the year.

Green Tomato Pie

2 pastry shells
1 1/2 lbs green tomatoes, sliced
2/3 cups honey (or less, if too sweet)
1 1/2 cup water
1 lemon zest
1 scant tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup currants or cranberries or raisins

Cook tomatoes in honey & water in heavy-bottomed saucepan. Boil for 5 minutes then add zest and cinnamon. Cook until transparent.
Add dried fruit and cook another five minutes.
Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes between two pie shells, until brown.

I also decided to try making pickled green tomatoes using the cherry-type green tomatoes left over. I haven't yet tried green tomato mincemeat, but that'll be on next year's list!

Pickled Green Tomatoes

4 lbs small whole green tomatoes (peeled, if possible - make x cut in one end very shallowly and place in boiling water at least 30 seconds or until peel starts to curl back, transfer immediately to ice cold water bath and remove skins)
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 cups cider vinegar
2 sticks cinnamon
1 tbsp whole cloves
1 tbsp mustard seed
1 tbsp celery seed
2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp pickling salt

Heat sugar, vinegar, spices & salt in heavy saucepan, and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer, stirring, until syrup thickens slightly.
Add tomatoes and boil until become translucent. Remove cinnamon sticks.
Ladle hot into clean, hot pint jars, packing tomatoes into jars tightly, and pouring syrup over them, leaving ½-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened, clean paper towel; apply two-piece metal canning lids. Process in a boiling water canner according to the recommendations in Table 1.

Table 1. Recommended process time for Salsa in a boiling-water canner.

Process Time at Altitudes of
Style of PackJar Size0 - 1,000 ft1,001 - 6,000 ftAbove 6,000 ft
HotPints15 min2025

I'm not much of a pickle of any kind fanatic, unlike some, so I got Dave to swear he'd eat them, even if I didn't. Well, that hasn't happened yet. So I brought a pint with us to Cobble Hill to try, given that there were three of us to finish the jar, if needs be. I made one of my green tomato recipes using the pickled green tomatoes and I will forever more make this loaf with the pickled variety rather than just straight green tomatoes. Wow. I've included both recipe options so that if you have just green tomatoes you can still make this quick bread.

Green Tomato Bread

8 - 10 green tomatoes, peeled, cored & diced or 1 pint (500 mL) pickled green tomatoes
2/3 cup raisins or currants
2/3 cup boiling water
2/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup honey
4 eggs (or 3 duck eggs)
3 1/2 cups flour (or 3 1/8 cups rice flour)
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
If you're using the pickled tomatoes, that's it. If you're using just tomatoes, continue with:
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease two loaf tins, and line with parchment paper.
Place raisins or currants in boiled water and set aside (preferably up to 1 hour before).
Puree tomatoes in food processor.
Add oil and honey to food processor and blend well.
Add eggs and blend well.
Decant the water into the food processor and blend well.
Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
Add half the dry ingredients into food processor and blend well. Add rest of dry ingredients and final blend. Stir in raisins (and lemon zest if using).
Divide batter evenly between the greased loaf tins.
Bake at 350F for 70 minutes or until done (toothpick comes away clean when inserted into centre, and outside is golden brown).

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