I understand if you are feeling a little skeptical about eating green tomatoes. Yes - green as in the unripe tomato. I promise it will only take a taste of a pickled tomato for you to change your mind.
My green tomato adventure didn't start with me being brave though - it started with a desperate attempt to salvage some tomatoes from the vegetable patch that was being decimated by possums and rats. I was picking them earlier and earlier, until I decided the only solution was to pick and eat the tomatoes green. Lucky for me my first experiment was with Cornersmith's recipe for Pickled Green Tomatoes (page 20 Salads & Pickles). I snack on them, pop them on a cheese platter and add them to a fresh Mexican inspired wrap with coriander, beans and jalapenos.
I admit - I don't have any intention of trying to ripen my next load of tomatoes. I will be picking them all green!
Are you wondering what to do with green tomatoes?
Green Tomato Chutney
A great use of any "spare" green tomatoes that escape pickling is this recipe for green tomato chutney. An excellent end of summer combination of green tomatoes, green capsicum and cucumber.
Chutney's are the easiest type of preserve to make. They involve combining all the ingredients in a pan and cooking down to the right consistency. No setting required like a jam or marmalade. The main skill is ensuring you have the right vinegar/sugar/salt/flavour balance, remembering that most chutneys should be left to mature for at least a few weeks.
1.5kg green tomatoes, diced
1kg cucumbers, seeds removed, diced
2 green capsicum, seeds removed, diced
2 brown onions, diced
2 tbs sea salt
3 cups white wine vinegar
1 tbs mustard seeds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp cracked black pepper
220g brown sugar
Dice vegetables, toss with salt and leave over a sieve to drain for an hour to remove excess liquid. Place the vegetables in a large preserving pan with the vinegar and spices. Gently simmer until the vegetables become tender and lose their form. Add the sugar and dissolve over low heat. Continue cooking until desired consistency reached.
Jar into sterilised jars. Leave for a couple of weeks for flavour to develop.
Makes 5 x 220g jars.