Thursday, January 17, 2013

Using Green Tomatoes

I'm still not sure if growing fall tomatoes is worth it. My tomatoes froze before they had a chance to ripen, but I did like using the green tomatoes I picked right before our first freeze. I got several pounds of green tomatoes of all sizes.

First I made Green Tomato Hot Dog Relish, from page 222 of Ball's Complete Book of Home Preserving. Not only was it a way to use up the little green tomatoes I ended up with, but I also got to use some of the bell peppers I picked right before it froze. The red and yellow peppers looked nice with the green tomatoes.

The chopped vegetables needed to be salted overnight and then drained. I guess that was to remove excess liquid. They were then cooked with spices, sugar, and vinegar for one hour. Soon my whole house smelled like hot dog relish!

I ended up with five half-pints of relish. Looking forward to trying it out, once I use up the store-bought hot dog relish I already have.

Of course the big green tomatoes were saved for making Fried Green Tomatoes. I had enough for a couple of batches. Some were eaten as a side dish with some Cajun shrimp, and the rest went into making fried green tomato sandwiches. Yum!

Fried green tomatoes are easy to make. Slice the tomatoes into somewhat thick slices. Then dust them in flour, dip them in beaten egg, and then dust them in cornmeal. I pan-fry them in a cast iron skillet on medium or medium-high. You want the outside to be golden brown, and the inside to be cooked through. That way you end up with a nice crunchy coating on the outside, and a hot, tangy, soft cooked green tomato inside. Their good as a side dish with any kind of Southern Soul Food. Like I said, I had mine with shrimp this time, but they're also good with chicken or catfish. You can also make a BLT with friend green tomatoes instead of or in addition to fresh ripe tomatoes.

I know, I know, they're not exactly health food, but this is a once-a-year treat to look forward to when the first freeze kills the tomatoes.

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