As the longer days and warm weather winds down, the final baskets of heirloom red tomatoes and rainbow colored cherry tomatoes are available at farmer’s markets. Scoop them up while you can. However, you can rest assured that green tomatoes will appear over the next couple of weeks. I’ve got you covered for what to do with those green tomatoes - and it goes beyond frying ‘em.
Acknowledging their fate, I plucked quarts of green tomatoes from my tomato plants last weekend. They will never realize their potential colors promised on the seed packets. And that’s okay. I’m appreciative for the shorter days and cooler temps, especially when I dream up all of the good eats from these firm and punchy green ovals. I started with this tangy and spicy green tomato chutney. Over the weekend, we ate it with grilled pork chops, but it’s also delicious alongside this Bengali Red Lentil Dal or just slathered on bread.
Tangy and Spicy Green Tomato Chutney
Yield: 1 ½ - 2 cups
What you need:
4 cups green tomatoes, chopped into about ⅛ inch pieces
¼ cup sugar (I used turbinado or raw sugar)
2 teaspoons salt
3-6 serrano chilis, jalapenos or other small green chilis, halved, seeds removed & thinly sliced
2 teaspoons coconut oil (optional)
⅓ cup honey
1 whole star anise
8 cardamom pods
2 tablespoons to ¼ cup lime juice
What you do:
Combine the tomatoes, sugar and salt. Allow to sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Strain the liquid from the tomatoes. Discard the liquid and transfer the tomatoes to a medium saucepan.
Add the sliced chili peppers, coconut oil, honey, star anise, and cardamom. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
Add lime juice to taste. Simmer another 10 minutes or until lime juice is reduced.
If chutney is not your jam, you might try these other ideas for an abundance of tomatoes, equally delicious with green tomatoes as well as their peak season rainbow colored cousins:
Emory enjoys arranging the bounty baskets even more than he enjoys picking produce from the garden
Here’s one of his arrangements.
Slow Oven Dried Tomatoes:
What you need:
tomatoes (any and all colors)
extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt or sea salt
garlic, dried oregano, dried basil, red pepper flakes (optional)
What you do:
Slice cherry and grape tomatoes in half.
Arrange in a single layer cut side up on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Tip: If your olive oil comes out too fast or doesn’t drizzle nicely from the bottle, transfer some to a spoon or small liquid measuring cup and drizzle from that.
Sprinkle with kosher salt or sea salt.
Roast in oven at 200-225 degrees for at least 2 hours. Check at 2 hours. You want tomatoes to be shriveled and dried (see bottom photo on right). They should move easily around the pan when you shake it. Continue roasting, checking every 15-30 minutes until you reach this state. You can store in the fridge up to 3 weeks as is or in a jar of olive oil, with or without additional seasoning, like roasted garlic cloves, dried oregano, red pepper flakes or dried basil. You can also freeze the roasted tomatoes in oil for up to 6 months.
I made a version of this sweet and spicy tomato jam, but I used about 3 lbs of tomatoes because that’s what I had. I reduced the amounts of other ingredients accordingly. In addition to tomatoes, my jam has ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, ½ cup Mike’s hot honey, ¼ cup orange blossom honey, ¼ cup turbinado sugar, ¼ cup white sugar, and ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper. I basically followed the procedure and got 16 oz of jam (or four 4 oz ball jars). I want more! Increase the sugar if you use green tomatoes, unless you like a more tart jam.
Fresh Tomato Tart:
Fried Green Tomatoes:
There is no substitute for fried green tomatoes, so make some this weekend and share. I’m pretty sure I’m available. Call me. To make: Slice large green tomatoes into 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick rounds. Put them through a three step dredge: 1. Flour seasoned with salt and cayenne pepper, 2. Egg whisked with salt and black pepper, and 3. Coarse ground cornmeal (with more cayenne if you’re feeling spicy). Fry in canola oil until golden brown on each side, remove and set on paper towels to drain, and sprinkle with salt immediately.
Just a chef showing off her tomatoes, and getting some sun on her guns.