Green Tomato Recipes

[16 Oct 2013 | By | 3 Comments]

green tomatoes on vine

We are gamblers. Risk-takers. We balance shoulder shrugs against sleepless nights. And year after year we ask ourselves: will they turn red? Anyone who plants tomatoes in the Pacific Northwest is rolling the dice. We hold our breath until the last late frost is gone – June if we are lucky – it was July just two years past. May planted tomatoes will never see their day.

green tomato recipes

If we remember ‘garden’ sometime in March or April – we will remember to get our tomato seeds into little cups of dirt in the best lit, warmest place in our homes. We will baby those cups, remember to water them and try not to knock them over.

By June they are all stems and straggling, climbing around our window seats like large green spiders too big to crawl into our garden boots. Shall I plant them? Excitedly we move dirt and slide the potted plants into neat rows – probably fixing them a trellis of some kind in anticipation of magic-bean-stalk growth and heavy, large, ripe fruit. And not two minutes after they are planted we begin to worry about fall… Will it be an Indian Summer again? Will the sun stretch across September and dangle its rays into October? Will I have more tomatoes than has ever graced this northwest garden? Will my pantry be filled with homegrown canned and juiced, crushed and sauced tomatoes?

The answer is usually no.

green tomatoes

We hang onto the dream of a bumper crop year. Or do we? At the end of each season I usually throw a bit of a fit, shake my fist at the ground, then open the gates so my chickens can have their way with the unimpressive, unyielding tomato patch. I then swear to myself that next year I won’t be romanced into lending THAT much space to the hope of red tomatoes.

And yet. How does the saying go? If you cannot beat them – join them? And so I grow green tomatoes. On purpose. I harvest baskets and bushels and swing buckets of green tomatoes with the glee and delight of a preschooler. I slice and dice them, can and preserve them and will one day soon make fried green tomatoes. I am not alone – many have green tomatoes spread across their counters. This year I made green tomato chutney (with candied ginger), green tomato salsa (below) and green tomato relish.

(On a side note: I have come to love two preserving books in particular: Canning for a New Generation by Krissoff and Food in Jars by Marisa McClellan).

More green tomatoes:

I am decidedly a green tomato grower. So much so that now I plan on sourcing boxes of red tomatoes from farmers just east of the mountains (Eastern WA) –  through online local marketplace FARMSTR where I find and by direct from my own farmers. It is a win win: the farmer sells her/his produce and I still line my pantry with jars upon jars of red (and green!) tomatoes.

Adapted from: Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving (page 210)

Salsa Verde
makes 3 pints or 6 8 oz jars

7 cups chopped cored green tomatoes
5-10 jalapenos
2 cups chopped red onions
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup lime juice
1/2 cup cilantro
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp bl pepper

First blitz garlic, jalapenos and onions in food processor. Remove then do the same with your green tomatoes. Add lime juice and bring to boil. Add all other ingredients and boil gently for 5 min. Ladle into hot jars, leave 1/2 inch headspace, wipe rims and affix lids/rings. Hot water process/bath for 20 min.

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  • Kirsten said (16 October 2013 at 11:16 am):

    How timely, I just canned 6 quarts of green tomatoes (in addition to too numerous to count iterations of red ones) the other day. I’m having such fun with green tomato recipes that I figured I’d put some up to play with over the winter. Normally I keep my plants out until the weather folks call for frost, but they’ve produce so much that I had the kids pull them this weekend and now there’s garlic in the bed. Finally, something that won’t be ripe and ready to put up for months.

    I’m looking for fig and green tomato ideas now (I like the idea of a chutney, and I . . . ahem . . . locally sourced . . . some figs while walking the dogs this morning).


  • Donna Vander Griend said (17 October 2013 at 11:32 am):

    Such creative writing!! Spiders too big to crawl into your garden boots? Love it!!! I can ‘picture’ everythiing, from the shoulder shrugging lack of faith to the prescooler’s swinging delight.
    I also replayed the video in my head of your long, lovely fingers peeling back the lanterns on your tomatillos last Sudnay. There is so much awe in the growing of things. Eager to tast your verde…save some.

  • Stacie Scattergood said (17 October 2013 at 12:31 pm):

    New tomato plant still trying to grow from last year’s seeds. Mature tomato plant still vainly producing–we even have some ripe strawberries too.