How to Use Green Tomatoes

Long ago when everyone raised their own food there were a multitude of recipes for using up the very last vegetables in the garden before frost. When frost was looming grandmother would pick the tomatoes regardless of color and create magical relishes, side dishes, and even dessert! It was important then, as it is now, not to waste one ounce of food.

Here are some of those recipes.You can find basic canning instructions on my article, Home Canning, How To Preserve the Harvest.

Green Tomato Mincemeat Recipe

In my family this filling has been used in half moon pies, so named because the dough is cut around a small saucer, filled, folded over and sealed before frying. This makes small pies in the shape of a half moon. In the South they are known as fried pies.

Green tomatoes make a tangy, but delicious filling..and the pies do freeze well. You can also can the mincemeat in jars for use in any mincemeat recipe.

Ingredients

  • 8 quarts green tomatoes
  • 8 quarts apple, cored, peeled and diced
  • 2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoons cloves
  • 1 Tablespoon ginger
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground nutmeg
  • 2 lbs golden raisins
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons salt
  • 5 Oranges, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 lb candied orange peel (homemade is best)
  • 3 lemons, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cups water
  • 6 lbs brown sugar
  • 1/2 lb unsalted butter (2 sticks)

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingedients and cook slowly in a slow cooker for 6-10 hours or a saucepan, stirring often, for 3-4.
  2. Seal in sterilized pint jars.
  3. Makes about 25- 30 pints depending on tomatoes.

Green Tomato Relish

A tangy relish -- perfect for hot dogs and hamburgers.

Ingredients

  • 20-25 large green tomatoes
  • 4 red bell peppers
  • 1green bell peppers
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 10 onions
  • 3 tbs celery seed
  • 3 tbs mustard seed
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 5 c sugar
  • 2 c cider vinegar

Instructions

  1. Coarsely grind vegetables with a hand grinder or food processor.
  2. Pour into cheesecloth lined colander and let drain for a couple of hours.
  3. Bring sugar, salt, spices and vinegar to boil in large enamel pot.
  4. Pack ground vegetables into sterilized pint jars, pour vinegar mixture over and run a spatula down sides to release air bubbles.
  5. Seal and process according to directions.
  6. Makes about 10 pints.

Green Tomato Cake

Make a cake with green tomatoes? Why not -- you'll be surprised at the flavor.

Ingredients

  • 4 c chopped green tomatoes
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter
  • 2 c sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 c flour
  • 1 tsp each of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 c chopped pecans

Instructions

  1. Place tomatoes in bowl and cover with salt for 15 minutes.
  2. Drain, rinse well. Cream butter and sugar, add eggs one at a time.
  3. Beat until creamy.
  4. Add dry ingedients and nuts.
  5. Fold in tomatoes.
  6. Pour into a greased 13 x 9 pan.
  7. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.
  8. Cool and frost with cream cheese frosting.
  9. 12 large servings.

End of the Garden Pickles

These will be a reminder of summer on your winter dinner table.

Ingredients

  • 1 c chopped cucumbers
  • 1 c chopped bell peppers
  • 1 c chopped cabbage
  • 1 c chopped onion
  • 1 c chopped green tomatoes
  • 1 c chopped carrots
  • 1 c string beans, cut in 1' pieces
  • 1 c chopped celery
  • 1 tbs celery seed
  • 2 tbs mustard seed
  • 2 c cider vinegar
  • 2 c sugar
  • 2 tbs turmeric

Instructions

  1. Soak vegetables, except green beans and carrots, in salt water overnight.
  2. Drain well and rinse.
  3. Cook beans and carrots just until tender.
  4. Drain and add to other vegetables.
  5. Bring vinegar, sugar, salt and spices to boil and add vegetables.
  6. Cook for 10 minutes at a slow boil.
  7. Ladle into sterilized pint jars and seal.

Basic method for making jam

Green Tomato Jam

An unusual jam that is delicious on hot toast.

Ingredients

  • 3 c finely chopped green tomatoes
  • 1/2 c lemon juice
  • 7 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 tsp unsalted butter
  • 2 pouches certo fruit pectin

Instructions

  1. Measure 3 cups of tomatoes into 6 qt saucepan. Make sure it is exactly 3 cups!
  2. Add lemon juice.
  3. Stir in sugar and butter. The small amount of butter in this recipe is necessary to prevent foaming.
  4. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil stirring constantly.
  5. Stir in pectin and bring mixture back to a full boil.
  6. Cook exactly one minute stirring constantly.
  7. Remove from heat, skim, and ladle into sterile half pint jars.
  8. Seal and process.

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Comments 17 comments

DonnaCosmato profile image

DonnaCosmato 4 years ago from USA

Thank goodness for another way to use up green tomatoes besides frying them!? I shared this on Digg :)


jnjrun 4 years ago

How do you process the tomato jam? Under pressure? How long for quarts/pints? How much head room? Does this freeze well?


sensiva profile image

sensiva 5 years ago

The best use we found for green tomatoes is an upside-down green tomato tart. The combination of the baked green tomatoes with phylo pastry, raw onions, wild rocket and balsamic vinegar is absolutely wonderful. I'll have to ask my wife for the recipe and post it sometime!


canning tomatoes 5 years ago

Very healthy recipes. Green tomato pickles are indeed delicious! Thank you!


Granny's House profile image

Granny's House 6 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

I have been canning tomatoes every way I can think of for about a month now.I am sick of tomatoes. Now I find 5 ways to use green tomatoes. Oh well, I will bookmark and try next year. Thank you.


Patsybell profile image

Patsybell 6 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

I am going to try your recipe for End of Garden pickles. Good idea.


MyMastiffPuppies profile image

MyMastiffPuppies 6 years ago

I love your ideas for green tomatoes. When I was growing up we always had a garden full of almost every vegetable you could think of. We complained as kids having to break beans and shuck corn. But you know what... I really miss those simple days. You really learned so much more and you were spending time together as a family.


Patsybell profile image

Patsybell 6 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

I always think of green tomato recipes as charming and old fashioned. Yours are great. This is good practical information for home gardeners.


lvideki profile image

lvideki 6 years ago from Traverse City

I just had to pick a green tomato from my garden because it was in danger of getting damaged. Thanks for the great ideas!


Trsmd profile image

Trsmd 7 years ago from India

fried green tomatoes are great, just dip in cornmeal, salt and pepper and fry.


Scottie JD profile image

Scottie JD 7 years ago

Great recipes


cvaughn570 8 years ago

I love tomatoes! There are some things here that I must try.

Thank you for sharing,

Carol


Maddie Ruud profile image

Maddie Ruud 8 years ago from Oakland, CA

Actually, green-tomato-and-apple pie is also simply delicious!


Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet 9 years ago from Lancaster, Texas Author

ah well..many people know about fried tomatoes...I wanted to add a little variety. :)


dafla 9 years ago

What? No fried green tomatoes?

I used to use my grandmother's recipe for Green Tomato pickles also. time consuming, but great.


The Good Cook profile image

The Good Cook 9 years ago

My grandmother used to make Green Tomato Pickles every year and they never lasted very long in our house!


cgull8m profile image

cgull8m 9 years ago from North Carolina

Healthy recipes with great set of ingredients. Thanks again for sharing some wonderful stuff. It seems America has gone past all this wonderful stuff of being self sufficient, now we are importing all our food products and complain when it is tainted.

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