Do your tomatoes look more forest green than fire engine red? Fret not. Photo: John Boivin

Great recipes for your green tomato harvest

Hey Castlegar gardeners — green tomatoes left? Here’s how to use them.

Face it, Kootenay gardeners … all those tomatoes you left on the vine just aren’t going to ripen anymore.

While a great early summer brought a huge crop of tomatoes to most gardens, the lack of heat in August and September left us high and dry — with dozens of green tomatoes.

So what to do with this verdant harvest?

All is not lost. We’ve collected some of our favourite recipes to share with you as you convert your hard-earned harvest into food for the winter.

Try these out and let us know what you think…

SPICY DIPPED GREEN TOMATOES

Potatoes are so 2017. Try frying up battered green tomatoes and dipping them with ranch, spicy mayonaisse or other dips.

You’ll need:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup cornmeal

1 teaspoon salt

1 large egg

1/2 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

6 medium green tomatoes

vegetable oil, for frying

Cooking Instructions:

Put 1/3 cup of flour into a shallow bowl. In another bowl, beat the egg with the milk until smooth.

Put the remaining 2/3 cup of flour, 1/3 cup of cornmeal, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper into another shallow bowl. Mix to blend thoroughly.

Pour about 1/2 inch of oil in a large cast iron skillet. Place over medium heat. If possible, attach a deep-fry thermometer to the pan. Heat the oil.

Cut the tomatoes into 1/2-inch slices. Dip a slice in the plain flour, then the egg mixture. Coat with the flour-cornmeal mixture, then place on a rack. Do the rest of the slices.

When the oil is hot enough to fry the tomato, place several slices in. Do a few at a time

Cook until golden brown on both sides, about 4 to 5 minutes each. Remove them, put them on paper towel to absorb excess oil, and sprinkle with salt.

Keep them in a warm oven until the whole batch is cooked. Serve with a dip.

Spicy mayonnaise: In a bowl, combine the Sriracha sauce, mayonnaise, and chili garlic paste, if using. Blend well and serve with the fried green tomatoes.

GREEN TOMATO SALSA

Use this salsa for dips, or as a base for cooking sauces or marinades.

You’ll need:

24 large green tomatoes

3 red bell peppers, remove seeds and cut in half

3 green bell peppers, remove seeds and cut in half

10 large onions

3 tablespoons celery seed

3 tablespoons mustard seed

1 tablespoon salt

4 cups white sugar

2 cups cider vinegar

Cooking Instructions:

Grind the tomatoes, peppers, and onions in a food processor. The final consistency should be coarse, not smooth. Drain the mixture in a colander lined with cheesecloth for about an hour.

Combine the mixture and spices in a pot, and bring to boil and cook over low heat for five minutes. Stir frequently. Sterilize enough jars and lids to hold relish (12 one-pint jars, or 6 one-quart jars). Pack relish into the jars, filling to top.

Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot and fill halfway with boiling water. Carefully lower jars into pot using a holder. Leave a two-inch space between jars. Pour in more boiling water if necessary, until tops of jars are covered by 2 inches of water. Bring water to a full boil, then cover for 30 minutes.

Remove jars from pot and leave them to cool. The sterilized jars should be good for up to a year. An alternative is to sterilizing is to freeze the jars, but the salsa won’t stay good for quite as long.

BACON-GREEN TOMATO SOUP

Oh bacon, is there anything you can’t make great?

You’ll need:

8 slices bacon, cut into bite-size pieces

1 small red onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

5 cups chopped green tomatoes

3 cups vegetable broth

1/2 teaspoon celery salt

1 bay leaf

Black pepper

Cooking Instructions:

Cook the bacon in a pot on medium heat, until starting to crisp. Add garlic and onions, and cook for about 10 minutes. Add green tomatoes, vegetable broth, and seasoning. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until tomatoes are tender, about 40 minutes. This soup freezes great.

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