What to Do with Green Tomatoes

Tomatoes were not one of my garden’s successes this year, for the second year running.  I did manage to plant them away from the walnut trees this time around, and neither of my two remaining chimneys fell on them, which is a definite improvement over last year, but I started growing them from seed too late, and I had the seedlings in a place with too little light, so I had to plant them out before they were ready, and then everything was compounded by a summer of too little sun and and too little heat.  So, though I have a reasonable tomato harvest, almost a bushel, it is entirely green.

Now, I know that green tomatoes can be fried, and I have attempted this dish in the past, but it is only possible, for me at least, to eat so many fried green tomatoes.  I have also made green tomato chutney in past years, but not everyone seems to like this as much as I do.  So I have been doing some experimenting, and I thought I might share the results.

Green Tomato and Sour Cream Pasta Sauce
Slice a fair number of green tomatoes into slightly larger than bite sized chunks and dice two yellow onions.  Saute the tomatoes and the onions in olive oil.  Add a little sugar and keep cooking until the mixture begins to caramelize.  Add just enough white wine to deglaze the pan.  Add a handful of chopped fresh tarragon.  Add a healthy doze of freshly ground black pepper.

Reduce the pan to low and add enough sour cream to produce the consistency that you want.  I just used a tub of sour cream from the supermarket, but I would wager any money that homemade stuff would be far superior if you have the time to make it.  Add salt to taste.  Put over pasta.

The green tomatoes work really well in a recipe like this because they have the tomato flavour but do not melt like ripe tomatoes,  so they can be caramelized and still keep some structure to them.

Green Tomato Salsa
There are many recipes for green tomato salsa drifting about the internet, but none of them were what I wanted, so I combined and manipulated some of them to my own purposes.

Mince four cloves of garlic, two or three seeded jalapeno peppers, 2 yellow onions, six or eight green tomatoes, and a cup or so of fresh cilantro.  When I say mince, I mean mince.  It should not be chunky.  It should be just this side of puree.

Add a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, a dash of sugar, a dash of salt, and freshly ground pepper to taste.  Let it sit, at least for an hour or two, preferably overnight or even longer, so that the tomatoes can pickle.  If it seems a little dry as you are about to serve it, add a little more cider vinegar.

Between these two recipes I have used up a fair number of my green tomatoes, but if anyone wants to share a favourite recipe, I am sure that I will have the chance to try it eventually, if not this year, then the next time my garden cannot list tomatoes among its successes.

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4 comments
  1. Curtis said:

    So, on the point of the salsa, you mentioned chutney, so my question is, what is the differentiation among these ‘cool’ condiments- salsa, chutney, relish, and even the chilli sauce? Maybe not the chilli sauce, perhaps that is one of the first three, but they seem to be the same thing, a whole, or hashed collection of vegetables. sauced and thickened, partially candied in an aromatic and savoury, rather than sweetened sugary flavour, which accompany a bland or large assortment of snacks or meals, are they simply interchangeable?

  2. Curtis,

    A salsa is a spicy sauce of chopped, usually uncooked vegetables, most often tomatoes, onions, and chili peppers.

    A chutney is a sauce of East Indian origin that uses both sweet and sour ingredients.

    A relish, in its general sense, is a vegetable side dish that adds flavour to a blander main dish, and could include both salsas and chutneys, but it now most often refers to the rather plain cucumber relishes that are most often available commercially.

  3. Kari,

    Thanks for the link. I will try those pickles when I get a chance.

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