If tomatoes were lemons, I would be making lemonade

I would never have imagined, when I stood sweating in the garden last week, that there would be frost warnings this week. Seriously – it is the beginning of September. So, what to do?

HARVEST ALL THE TOMATOES.  THEN, PANIC.

Will they ripen on the counter? Maybe.  But I’m not a gambler, so I have done some canning (pickles), some freezing (green tomato salsa), and some discovering (read on).

Pickled Green Tomatoes
(these quantities make 1 quart, so double as needed.)

For every quart jar, you will need approximately 1 1/2 pounds of green cherry tomatoes.

Brine
1 cup white distilled vinegar (5% acidity)
1 cup water
1 tablespoon kosher salt

A few Options for flavouring your pickles:

No Garlic Pickling Spice:
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole allspice
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns

Garlicky Dill Pickling Spice:
2 teaspoons dill seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
4 garlic cloves, peeled

optional: a few crushed chilis

Wash and halve tomatoes.

Bring all the brine ingredients to a gentle boil.

Fill hot, clean quart jars with the pickling spice mix. Add tomato halves and pack the jar tightly.

Pour the hot brine over the tomatoes, covering them completely and leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Use a chopstick, moving it around to release any trapped air bubbles.
Wipe the rim clean, seal with a lid and ring, and process in a boiling water bath. Time depends on altitude, so please check yours.  15 minutes is the minimum.

Remove from heat – your lids should suction as the jars cool.

Store jars in a cool, dark place. The tomatoes will be perfectly pickled in about three weeks.

Roasted Green Tomato Salsa (or Faux Salsa Verde)

3 lbs. green tomatoes (about 12)
2 onions, peeled and halved
3 hot peppers, seeded and halved
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup packed cilantro, chopped
1/3 cup lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Fresh ground pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 475°F.  Use convection if you can.

Wash the tomatoes and remove stems. Cut tomatoes in half. Place tomatoes cut side down on a parchment lined baking sheet brushed with olive oil. Brush outsides of tomatoes with a small amount of olive oil.

Place onions, garlic and hot peppers on a second roasting pan. Brush with olive oil.

Roast at 475°F until tomatoes, onions and hot peppers just begin to blacken, about 10-15 minutes. If you are not using a convection oven, switch oven to Broil for the last 5 minutes, or until slightly blackened.

Place tomatoes, onions, garlic and hot peppers in a food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped.

If you like a thicker salsa do not use the liquid from the bottom of the roasting pan. If you like a thinner salsa, add it.

Pour salsa into a bowl and add chopped cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper.

This salsa can be easily frozen, but since it does not have a high acid content, do not preserve using a boiling bath canner.

Unscientific Oven Dried Green Cherry Tomatoes

Preheat oven to 300°F, or 275°F with convection.

Wash, dry then slice tomatoes in half. Toss in olive oil. Spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet cut side up. Sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 3 to 4 hours until most of the liquid has evaporated and tomatoes have begun to shrivel up.

If the tomatoes seem bitter, sprinkle a bit of sugar on top when you take them out of the oven.  That made my batch irresistible.

Keep in the fridge.

IMG_0752

And now, the BEST one so far, and it takes NO TIME…

Grilled Green Tomatoes

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

4 medium-size green tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 2 lb.)

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

fresh basil or oregano

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large zip-loc  bag; add tomatoes, seal, and slosh around to coat. Let sit for up to 1 hour.

Preheat grill to medium-high.

Remove tomatoes from marinade, reserving it to use as a dressing.

Grill tomatoes (covered with grill lid) 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until tender and grill marks appear.

Drizzle with reserved marinade; season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with basil or oregano.

I tossed in some red tomatoes, but wouldn't next time. The green ones are great on their own.

I tossed in some red tomatoes, but wouldn’t next time. The green ones are great on their own.

By the way, there was frost, so I’m glad I picked everything, and of course, it is now back up to a million degrees outside.

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