Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Solution For The Green Tomato Conundrum

Have you been looking longingly at all the green tomatoes remaining on your plants, knowing they will never ripen, but wishing they didn't have to be sacrificed to an upcoming frost?

Go pick them now, and make MrMartha's Green Tomato Salsa!

It's easy to prepare, incredibly tasty, uses just a few simple ingredients, -- and if you don't want to process and preserve your salsa for long term keeping, it also stores beautifully in the refrigerator for several weeks....if it lasts that long!
This salsa is wonderful just as it is. Enjoy it with chips--over burritos--stirred into a Mexican Chicken and Rice Casserole, or added to just about any Mexican recipe.
For an extra treat with chips or as a condiment, dice a couple of ripe red tomatoes and finely chop some fresh cilantro. Stir both into the green salsa for a fresh and complex taste that everyone will rave about.

MrMartha actually makes this salsa twice during tomato season. Once during midseason with green tomatoes culled from the plants to encourage the remaining fruits to ripen more quickly, and again at the end of the growing season, to utilize all the remaining green fruit which will not end up ripening on the plants.

Read More for the simple recipe, and additional 'How To' photos.....then enjoy buen tomate verde!

MrMartha's Green Tomato Salsa

Note -- This recipe makes a salsa that is somewhere on the milder side of medium hot. MrMartha figures it's easier to add additional heat later on, than to be stuck with a huge vat of salsa that makes smoke come out of your ears....Taste the cooked salsa and add additional heat to your preference.

The recipe can easily be cut in half if you have a lesser quantity of green tomatoes available. You could also use Tomatillos instead of green tomatoes.

10 Cups cored, coarsely chopped, green tomatoes (approx 5 lbs)
4 Cups chopped onions
2-3 Cups chopped peppers

(Mr Martha uses a combination of Jalapeno with some Red Bell Pepper for color. If you are using milder chili peppers like Anaheims, or including chopped bell peppers, use the larger quantity. MrMartha prefers to remove the seeds and inner ribs from the Jalapeno's to decrease heat a bit, but that is up to you).
1 Cup white vinegar
1/2 Cup bottled lemon juice
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp salt

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan or dutch oven, and slowly bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer slowly for about 20 minutes -- or until all components are soft, but still retaining texture.

Remove a bit of the salsa, cool slightly, and taste for desired level of heat....
If needed, add your choice (or combination of ) cayenne pepper, cumin, chipotle chili power, or additional bottled hot sauce -- to taste.

Ladle the hot salsa into clean hot prepared canning jars, wipe the rims and set the lids.
Process in boiling water canning bath for 20 minutes (pints) or 35 minutes (quarts)
Remove from the water bath and allow to cool, check the seals.

If you prefer not to process for long term keeping, store jars in the refrigerator and use within a few weeks.

MrMartha likes to use both pint and quart jars....The pints make wonderful gifts -- and the quarts are best for home, because it disappears so quickly!