Practical Self Reliance: 50+ Green Tomato Recipes

Green Tomato Cake

Ashley Adamant at Practical Self Reliance has compiled a list of 50+ Green Tomato Recipes with links. A few years ago we had few of our tomatoes ripen. I don’t remember if we planted late or had an early frost, but we were left with plants full of green tomatoes. We ended up canning many different green tomato products like the mentioned green tomato mincemeat, green tomato salsa, green tomato chutney, and more. We also met green tomato spice cake for the first time, which was a delicious surprise. We use a nearly identical recipe to the Paula Deen recipe below, but with a cream cheese frosting (like for carrot cake) instead of the brown butter icing. So don’t despair if you find yourself with a surfeit of green tomatoes.

Green tomato recipes are an old fashioned tradition meant to ensure every last bit of the harvest is put to good use.  Don’t let those underripe tomatoes go to waste, there are so many creative ways to use green tomatoes (besides the ever-popular fried green tomatoes).

Green Tomato Recipes<img class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-14082″ src=”https://i0.wp.com/practicalselfreliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Green-Tomato-Recipes-12.jpg?resize=600%2C400&ssl=1″ alt=”Green Tomato Recipes” width=”600″ height=”400″ data-recalc-dims=”1″>

 

Every year my tomato plants set fruit well into the fall months…only to be killed by early frosts in our short 100 day Vermont growing season.  We’ll top the plants with spare bedsheets to protect them from light frosts, but when temps well below freezing those tomato plants are done for.

With a killing frost on the way, it’s time to strip the plants bare before nightfall.  That often means buckets, baskets, and totes filled to the brim with green tomatoes.

With patience and good airflow, many of those underripe beauties will still ripen on the counter over the next few weeks.  Many though, will spoil in buckets long before they ripen.

This isn’t exactly a new problem, and resourceful gardeners have been cooking up green tomato recipes for generations.

Green Tomato Canning Recipes

Since green tomato harvests usually come by the bucketful in the fall, it’s no surprise that there are literally dozens of ways to preserve green tomatoes.  You can’t fry them all, but it’s easy enough to preserve green tomatoes with enough creative green tomato canning recipes.

Green tomatoes are actually more acidic than fully ripe tomatoes, and their texture holds up better to prolonged cooking.  Add in a flavor that works equally well in savory and sweet recipes, and you’ve got the perfect vegetable for everything from pickles to pie filling.  (Yes, really…home canned green tomato pie filling…)

There are so many green tomato canning recipes, I’ve separated them into savory and sweet.

Pickled Green Tomatoes<img class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-14093″ src=”https://i0.wp.com/practicalselfreliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Pickled-Green-Tomatoes-2.jpg?resize=600%2C400&ssl=1″ alt=”Pickled Green Tomatoes” width=”600″ height=”400″ data-recalc-dims=”1″>

Savory Green Tomato Canning Recipes

Green tomatoes maintain their crunch better than cucumbers for pickling, but they also make excellent salsa, ketchup, and chutney.

All of these recipes are perfect for water bath canning, but they also make great refrigerator or freezer preserves as well (no canner required).

Canning green tomato slices means you can make fried green tomatoes mid winter! (Image Courtesy of A Farm Girl in the Making)<img aria-describedby=”caption-attachment-14094″ class=”size-full wp-image-14094″ src=”https://i2.wp.com/practicalselfreliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Canning-Green-Tomato-Slices.jpg?resize=1536%2C1152&ssl=1″ alt=”Canning green tomato slices means you can make fried green tomatoes mid winter! (Image Courtesy of A Farm Girl in the Making)” width=”1536″ height=”1152″ data-recalc-dims=”1″>

Canning green tomato slices means you can make fried green tomatoes mid-winter! (Image Courtesy of A Farm Girl in the Making)

Green Tomato Chutney from Lovely Greens<img aria-describedby=”caption-attachment-14080″ class=”size-full wp-image-14080″ src=”https://i0.wp.com/practicalselfreliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Green-Tomato-Chutney-from-Lovely-Greens.jpg?resize=750%2C440&ssl=1″ alt=”Green Tomato Chutney from Lovely Greens” width=”750″ height=”440″ data-recalc-dims=”1″>

Green Tomato Chutney (Image Courtesy of Lovely Greens)

Sweet Green Tomato Canning Recipes

I know, it sounds strange, but green tomatoes are actually amazing in sweet preserves.  I was really skeptical, but I absolutely loved old fashioned green tomato jam.

Don’t knock it until you try it…(continues)

 

Here’s the Green Tomato Cake recipe that my family uses:

Green Tomato Cake

4 cups chopped green tomato

1 T salt

————-

1/2 cup soft butter

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 cups flour

1 t cinnamon

1/2 t ginger

1/4 t ground clove

1 t baking soda

1/4 t salt

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup walnuts

Mix the chopped tomato in a bowl with the 1 T salt and let  stand for 10 minutes. Rinse and drain the tomatoes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease and flour a 9×13 cake pan.

Cream the butter and sugar together. Add eggs and beat until creamy. Stir together flour, cinnamon, ginger, clove, baking soda, and 1/4 t salt. Add raisins and nuts, mix and then added the creamed mixture. Mix all together then add tomatoes and mix well. Pour mixture into greased baking pan.

Bake 40-45 minutes.  Frost with cream cheese icing.

Food Preservation

Our tomato plants are starting to produce an abundance of paste tomatoes. We’ve just finished canning our first excess of tomatoes for the summer. We dehydrate our goji berries in batches as we harvest the ripe berries. We’ve previously canned up elderflower cordial earlier this summer and enjoy refreshing and healthy spritzers in the heat. Blackberry and blackberry/apricot jams have been stored up in jars. The first ripe watermelon was devoured this afternoon; will we preserve some rind?

Food preservation has become something of a lost art in this day and age, but a lot of people still express an interest in the practice. Where can you learn more about it if you don’t already have a friend who has been preserving food? One way is through books. The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving or The Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving are stand-bys that have been updated over the years. They mostly just cover canning, but have very reliable recipes and instructions that are easy to understand for beginners. If you can learn through reading, but don’t want a whole book on the topic, Instructables has a free online course on Canning and Preserving which lets you work through six topics at your own pace.

For a more visual approach and covering more topics, the University of Alaska Fairbanks Extension has a video series on Youtube called Preserving Alaska’s Bounty which gives you an overview of several preservation topics, including water bath canning, pressure canning, sausage-making, fruit leathers, sauerkraut, dehydrating, and more. The videos are a bit dated, but still have good basic info. Youtube user Homestead Heart also has a playlist for food preservation. English Country Life’s Youtube channel has a food preservation playlist which includes things like curing bacon, smoking food, lard, and more. A more technical or science explanation of food preservation can be found with FoodSci with ProfVigeant.

The WSU Extension normally has an online, food preservation program called Preserve the Taste of Summer, but it appears to be closed for the year. Click here to download a PDF flyer with details about the course cost and syllabus. Similarly, the University of Idaho Extension has a Preserve @ Home online program, which next airs in January 2021. Click here for a past Preserve @ Home flyer.

Other web resources include:

National Center for Home Food Preservation (Univ of Georgia) and its related website Preserving Food at Home.

Healthy Canning

The Home Preserving Bible

FoodPreserving.org This one is Australian. Weights are giving in both grams and pounds, while other volume measurements are in the familiar cups and teaspoons.

Now, go forth to a new life, rising through food preservation methods to self-sufficiency, peace and plenty.

Organic Prepper: No, You Can’t Use Electric Pressure Cookers for Canning

An important food safety article from Daisy Luther at The Organic Prepper.

Instant Pots and other countertop pressure cookers are great for getting a meal on the table fast. But for all the people asking if you can use them for pressure canning low acid foods, the answer is a decisive NO.

First, let’s backtrack to some pressure canning 101. If you plan to preserve meat or vegetables, they must be pressure canned because of their low acid content. Low-acid foods have to be preserved at a higher temperature than high-acid foods. The low-acid environment welcomes the growth of bacteria like botulism, a form of food poisoning that can cause permanent nerve damage or even death.

Pressure canning exceeds the temperature of water bath canning, getting your product into the safety zone.  The temperature must reach 240 degrees Fahrenheit, which can only be achieved through steam under pressure. All vegetables (except for tomatoes which are botanically a fruit), meats, seafood, and poultry, must be preserved in a pressure canner.

Pressure canners and pressure cookers aren’t the same things.

A lot of folks think that using a pressure cooker for canning foods will work and part of this is because of the incorrect information included in the package of the cookers. According to Food Safety News:

Some manufacturers of electric multi-cooker appliances have been including directions for home canning with their products since they began marketing them, according to the National Center for Home Food Preservation. The companies have not done process development work to document temperatures throughout the units remain at a given pressure and throughout the whole process time, according to the Center. (source)

But pressure cookers haven’t been proven by the National Center for Food Preservation to reach and maintain the correct temperatures to keep your food safe…

Click here to read the entire article at The Organic Prepper.