Sunday, 8 December 2013

Dealing with a Glut of Green Tomatoes

What to do with these?

Well! I have hit the jackpot!

Throughout the year I eagerly await the first of this crop or that, only to be fed up to the back teeth with it within a couple of weeks, when it's flowing out of my ears.

I can't say the same for green tomatoes though, since I don't really like them at all. They are just packages of unfulfilled potential.

In the past I've tried fried green tomatoes and decided they can stay in the Whistle Stop Café. So instead I glibly hand them over to Sue for chutney. But I can take or leave chutney, and green tomato wouldn't be my favourite anyway.
The tomatoes in the polytunnel just kept on going this year and I only stopped harvesting them at the end of November. But then the nights turned cold and the unripened green tomatoes started dropping all over the floor. Those that hung on started to rapidly turn, as if touched by the cold finger of death. It was time to clear the polytunnel in readiness for winter.

Polytunnel clearance underway.
I hate waste and it seems such a shame to just throw fruits onto the compost heap or in to Daisy.
Last year Sue discovered a recipe for green tomato and lemon marmalade. I think it was one of Hugh F-W's, but there are plenty around on the internet. I have to say it really was very nice and actually gave me a reason to look forward to green tomatoes.

But this post is about something altogether a lot better. First I uncovered a recipe for green tomato soup. It was an unconvincing recipe, to say the least, but I went for it and I am so pleased that I did.
But better was still to come in the form of ...

I know. It sounds vile. I thought so too, but the reviews said otherwise. There wasn't much to lose so I started dicing piles of small green tomatoes.



The star of the show - green tomato cake.
The recipe for this wonderful cake can be found here.
And if you've still got any green tomatoes left, I'll return to that green tomato soup.
I made a couple of very minor alterations to the recipe - mainly that I left the borlotti beans whole, adding them and a little cooked rice after whizzing the soup. This gave the soup a great, hearty texture. The earthiness of the rice and beans soaked up a little of the tartness of the tomatoes too. The finished result was really rather tasty. Another one for the favourites folder.
And if you think that adding a couple of tins of borlotti beans to the soup adds too much to the cost, just do what I did. Grow your own! These ones were my first taste of those I grew and dried earlier this year. Another success story and another foodplant which has most definitely earned its space on the plot.
The recipe for the soup is here.

Green tomato soup with borlotti beans.

Finally I tried green tomato jam, using some crab apples from the garden to make my own pectin (see this post for details).
The jam came out OK. I'll eat it, but I think I prefer the marmalade.
Anyway, it looks like we'll have to be very disciplined not to pick all the tomatoes next year before any of them ripen! Who'd have thought it?


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