Between Greg’s and my gardens, we harvested about 35 pounds or more of green tomatoes before snow and freezing weather came to Denver almost two weeks ago. It seems gardeners, generally speaking, are never quite sure what to do with green tomatoes 🤔 Toss them out on trash day? Compost them? Leave them in a bowl on the kitchen counter or wrap them in newspaper until they ripen?
Personally, I think green tomatoes are misunderstood. Why not just accept them for the tart, crisp, delicious, green tomatoes they are?
For many years now, I have dreamed of making Green Tomato Chow Chow. Growing up, my mom made pinto beans with ham hock served with corn bread. For this meal, she brought out a homemade jar of Green Tomato Chow Chow we would have brought back from one of our many family trips to Nebraska. My older brothers and I would put a tablespoon or two of the Chow Chow on top of our beans before digging in. To this day, I think the three of us would all agree this meal was one of the more memorable culinary delights of our childhood.
So, I knew exactly what I would do this year with pounds and pounds of homegrown organic green tomatoes 😁
I did it! Using the same family recipe from our childhood I tracked down from my cousin LaVona about 15 years ago, I finally did it!
Soon, I plan to try my canned Chow Chow, perhaps on top of beans and cornbread? 😋 I will keep you posted about how it turned out and tell you more about the ingredients I used.
After making 16 pints of the Chow Chow (whew! canning is a big job!), I still had pounds and pounds of green tomatoes to work with.
So, I made a Thai Curry Green Tomato soup:
This soup was made with onions, garlic, potatoes, green tomatoes, Thai green curry paste, vegetable broth, coconut milk, hot sauce, cumin seed, salt and pepper, etc. I sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and paprika before serving. The housemates give this soup a big thumbs up! 👍 I froze the leftovers, so we’ll see if the thawed version holds up.
Another day, I made a green tomato salad:
This delicious salad is made with green tomatoes, peeled and seeded cucumber, white and red onion, pan-fried crunchy sweet corn, salt, pepper, cumin powder, dried mint leaves, olive oil and fresh squeezed lime juice. Oh, also, this salad includes a seeded hot pepper. Go easy with the hot pepper and remember to wear plastic gloves when seeding and chopping, or at least be VERY VERY careful about what you touch before the “hotness” wears off. 😳
The last recipe I experimented with is Green Tomato Caponata:
I recently learned about Caponata, which is a Sicilian-style “stew,” from my good friend Bonnie. Caponata is delicious served at room temperature and on top of bruschetta. The key ingredients in Caponata are eggplant, tomatoes (red or green), celery, onion, red wine vinegar and capers. I also added chopped green olives to this batch. Here’s the recipe online that inspired me. I shared this last night with Greg, Housemate #1 and a couple of his buddies, who were here at the house playing poker and drinking some beers. We all give this recipe a big thumbs up 👍 And, I suggested to Greg he include eggplant in his garden AGAIN next year and he said “okay!” 😊
All of the food prepared above did a good job putting a dent in Greg’s and my garden goodies. And, I have a new appreciation and passion for gardening and so much more respect for my grandparents, who relied on gardening and preserving for feeding their large families.
I’d love to hear about YOUR gardening and canning adventures and recipes! ☺️
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