Thursday, October 11, 2012

When Life Gives you Green Tomatoes....

Ripen them. 

Last year, a friend of mine gave me all her remaining green tomatoes as the warm Summer nights came to a close and the promise of vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes disappeared. Green tomatoes have the tartness of tomatillos, not to mention the colour, so I turned them into a verde sauce. Cutting them into huge chunks and stewing them with onions, garlic, and hot peppers. Then froze it. This makes for a wonderful cheese (or kale/greens) enchiladas verde later in the winter.

But this year, I decided to experiment with ripening. I took each of her tomatoes, wrapped it in newsprint and put them all in a cardboard box. In addition to her array of huge heirlooms, I had many green paste tomatoes of my own from my ever failing veggie garden. Those i just tossed in a brown paper bag and rolled closed. Over the next two weeks, her tomatoes all softened and turned a lovely shade of red. In turn, I tossed them into the freezer just as they were.

turning unwanted unripened fruit into red gold
This past few days, I grabbed all of the tomatoes from the freezer and tossed them into a pot with some oregano and basil from the garden. Let that stew for many hours so it would thicken (to about half of the original water content). Then run the whole thing through the foodmill real quick to weed out the seeds. Tada. Marina sauce that started with her unwanted green tomatoes. That got popped into jars and canned in the pressure canner. Now we have two quarts of sauce for the winter. Alas, only two quarts. It really takes a lot of tomatoes to make tomato sauce. :(

With a bit of sauce left over, I made my first bloody mary. quite excellent.  The tomatoes had gone from tart to purely tomato. Really pretty amazing.

Simply slice the paste tomatoes and add to the rack
With my remaining paste (plum shaped) tomatoes, I sliced them and threw them in the dryer. Six hours later, I have some very potent dried tomatoes.

several hours later... "sundried" tomatoes.
So, don't toss your green tomatoes or let them rot on the vine. You can just toss them in the freezer (green or ripened) and sort it out later.

Now as we move out of the easy gardening season, I am once again looking forward to the winter CSA with Everblossom Farms in Pa.

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