Sunday, October 9, 2011

Relishing the end of tomato season

Ingredients for green tomato relish are gathered on the countertop.

It's officially the end of tomato season in Mama Bear's House. It's been a good week since the last ripe tomato from my garden.

A bit sad, really. No more fresh, sweet juicy tomatoes for roughly nine months. On the other hand, I'm a bit sick of tomatoes. And, I was most definitely sick of looking at the drooping, brown plants outside my kitchen window.

That's why I pulled them up. Oh, they were still full of green tomatoes. Even some orange ones. But, every time a fruit started blushing, a squirrel, chipmunk or slug starting munching. Or the rot set in. Plus, there really weren't any green leaves left. Clearly, it was time. Up they came.

Now, I had no trouble chucking those withered plants into the compost bin. Do you think I could throw away the fruit, though? Nope. I had a whole stock pot full of green tomatoes of all sizes. So, on a recipe hunt I went.

I settled on Sweet Green Tomato Relish from my Pickles and Relish book. The yield was far greater than expected, but it will be tasty with a burger. Maybe a taste of summer along with a winter meatloaf?

If you have a bunch of green tomatoes, and your not quite sure what to do with them, you might give this relish a try.

Relish cooking in the new blue pot that was my birthday present.

Green Tomato Relish with Honey
from "Pickles & Relishes: From apples to zucchini, 150 recipes for preserving the harvest" by Andrea Chesman
12 green tomatoes
4 large sweet onions
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
4 cups white vinegar
1 cup dark honey
1 tablespoon pickling salt
1 tablespoon mustard seed
1 tablespoon celery seed

Chop the tomatoes, onions and peppers. Add the remaining ingredients and cook for 20 minutes. Put into clean, hot pint (or smaller) jars leaving a 1/2-inch headspace. Seal. Process in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes. 
(Adjust processing time for altitude bove 1,000 feet: 20 minutes; above 6,000 feet: 25 minutes)

Anyone have any other suggestions for using up the season's end unripe tomatoes?