Google+ Lilies and Laurel: When Life Gives You Green Tomatoes...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

When Life Gives You Green Tomatoes...

We had a cold, wet June this year, and it was late in the season before the ground dried out enough that I could put in the seedlings I'd started months before. Then, just when my tomatoes were doing well and some were almost ripe, the deer got into the vegetable garden and ate all of the tomatoes and the top 6 inches of most of the plants! I nursed them along, and the plants grew back faster as the weather heated up, but it was still the first week in September before I got my first ripe tomato. I threatened all the deer with death by garden trowel if they tried it again. (I'm sure they take me very seriously.)

The plants are all doing beautifully right now, and if we had three more months of warm weather on the way, I'd have row after row of home-canned tomatoes ready to get us through the winter, the way I'd planned.  As it is, every day I check the weather report to see whether the frost is likely to hit that night, or if it might hold off another week.

I made my first large harvest last week, before the rain hit, to pick all the ones that would end up bent onto the ground to rot when they got wet.  Any that were anywhere close to ripe, I put on the kitchen window sill, and we've been enjoying almost-vine-ripened tomatoes every day.  That still left me with a good 10 pounds of hard, green tomatoes, though. 

These were all from the smaller-fruiting plants (Principe Borghese, mostly) so they weren't great candidates for making fried green tomatoes (I'm planning to use the green Brandywines for that).  Luckily, I love pickles, relishes and chutneys, too, and they gave me great material for that.  I started out making some green tomato pickles; I forgot to take pictures of that, but I'm planning to make another batch soon.  Last weekend's project was a Green Tomato and Tart Apple Chutney, which gave me a chance to use some of the wild apples that I'd harvested, as well!

I'll be posting the recipe for my chutney tomorrow, so be sure to check back! Do you have any recipes you like to use for things that aren't quite ripe at the end of the growing season?