Thursday, September 18, 2014

GREEN TOMATOES!

Green tomatoes - oh what shall I do with you? Since the death of my garden a week or so ago, I have been overwhelmed with the green tomatoes, and wondering WHAT to do with them.  My hopes of canning bright red juicy sweet homegrown tomatoes were dashed when the Canadian cold front moved in last week and froze my garden.


So I spent some time researching, and trying to find out what one can do with frozen green tomatoes on the vine.  I called our local AG extension office to see if they could offer some hope. They advised that I CANNOT can them since they had been frozen on the vine, because the acidity levels would have changed, and therefore making them unsafe for canning.  However, they said I could try to see if some of them would ripen, and I could also use them in recipes that involved freezing, or dehydrating.

So, I finally got busy yesterday with the green tomatoes.  My daughter and I originally put them in boxes covered with newspaper and put in a dark spot to see if any of them would begin to ripen. What I found was that many of them began to rot, after just a day or two.  Below is a picture of the tomatoes that had already begun to rot, and got mushy on me.  :(



So, I knew I had to get busy quick before the rest of the tomatoes followed suit.  So after carefully washing, and stemming the tomatoes that were still hard, and not soft or squishy (meaning rotten), I chose a few tomatoes to make fried green tomatoes with.



I sliced the green tomatoes and placed them on wax paper, and put them in the freezer to freeze.  Once frozen, they can be put into freezer bags, and be taken out and used as needed.



Have you ever fried green tomatoes?  I saved some tomatoes last night out for our dinner.  I found some great recipes online, but as usual, I modified mine just slightly, according to what I had on hand. The recipe called for a mixture of flour and cornmeal, and spices.  I took the easy way out and used Louisiana fish fry - it is so awesome! Perfect blend of ingredients for frying just about anything!  So, here is the recipe I used:

Fried Green Tomatoes:
4-6 medium sized green tomatoes, washed, with stems removed, sliced
1 egg
2 tsp water
1/2 cup Louisiana fish fry
1-2 Tbsp fat (I used olive oil, but you could use whatever you have on hand)

Heat oil in frying pain.  Beat egg and water together and place in a shallow bowl.  Pour Louisiana fish fry into a quart-sized Zip lock bag.  Place tomatoes one at a time in the egg wash, and then dip into fish fry and then place into frying pan.  Fry 1-2 minutes on each side until crispy. Enjoy!

I served some homemade ranch dressing which we dipped them in, which was the perfect accompaniment for these yummy babies!

Homemade Ranch Dressing:
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp sea salt
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp dill (either fresh or dried)
1-2 tsp chives (fresh or dried)
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp paprika
1 dash hot pepper sauce (or more to taste)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Add crushed garlic cloves to bowl, and sprinkle salt over garlic.  Using fork, mince garlic into a nice pulp with the salt.  Add in mayo, sour cream, and buttermilk, mix well.  Stir in remaining spices. Cover and place in refrigerator for about an hour before serving.



While I was slicing up the green tomatoes to freeze and fry, I had started the remainder of the green tomatoes to cook outside.  The extension office said to cook them for about 45 minutes until soft.  So that is what I did.


I didn't have to cook them as long because I was using the propane stove outside, and it was a very hot fire, and the tomatoes were soft and mushy in about 20 minutes or so.


I removed the tomatoes from the pot and here they are, all soft and well cooked. I took them inside and placed them in the blender to puree them.  The extension office said that when you puree them, you don't need to remove the skins, as you keep the extra vitamins.  So that saved a huge step there, in not having to remove the skins.

I poured the tomato puree into sterilized jars, and sealed the lids tightly. I let the jars cool down for several hours, and then placed them into the freezer.



So now, I will be curious as to how I will actually USE this green tomato puree.  I want to try to make spaghetti sauce with the tomatoes, and add a can of tomato paste, and see how that turns out.  (I can't imagine my family enjoying green spaghetti, so hence the can of tomato paste to make it red, lol!) This is all new, and a big experiment for me!  I was hoping that these jars would be full of lovely red tomatoes, but it didn't work out that way this year.  So... when lemons come, you make lemonade, and that is what I intend to do.  I will keep you posted on my efforts to use the green tomatoes.  :)


1 comment:

  1. Very clever. I wish I had your energy. Looks yummy. I'm sure it will be great. g

    ReplyDelete

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