As the first frost rolls around, gardeners are left with hastily-harvested green tomatoes. So what now? After growing these tomatoes with love and care, what will be their fate?
Vine Ripened Green Tomatoes
Yes, you can vine ripen your green tomatoes by picking the entire plant. Stretch a string across the room where you want to ripen the tomatoes and hang the plants upside down on the string. This will give you a supply of vine ripened tomatoes well past your frost date.
Picked and Ripened Green Tomatoes
In case you already picked your green tomatoes, or don't have room to string them up, green tomatoes can be ripened in a brown paper bag ,a gunny sack, a bowl covered with a dish towel, or for large quantities, a bucket covered with a towel. At the outset, sort through your green tomatoes, setting aside any blemished ones for immediate use (see recipes below) and ripening the unblemished ones. Check the tomatoes several times a week to remove any that might be rotting.
Partially ripe tomatoes
Partially ripe tomatoes can be ripened by the above methods or by placing in a sunny windowsill.
Using Green Tomatoes as a Vegetable
Green tomatoes are a tasty addition to stir fries and soups and can be substituted for other tomatoes in many recipes. Just remember that they take longer to cook than ripe tomatoes.
Green Tomato Chutney
4 lb green tomatoes
2 sweet red, yellow or orange bell peppers
2 hot green chillies
2" piece of fresh ginger
1 cup raisins
1 Tbsp brown mustard seeds
2 cups soft brown sugar or Sucanat
Zest of one lemon, grated
2 sticks cinnamon
1 tsp ghee (Learn how to make ghee) or sunflower oil
1/2 cup water
Wash the tomatoes thoroughly and inspect them, cutting out any blemishes. Dice the tomatoes and bell peppers. Chop the green chillies and ginger finely.
Select a large pan with a heavy bottom. Heat the ghee or oil and add the mustard seeds. As soon as the mustard seeds turn grey and pop, add the cinnamon sticks, green chillies and ginger and stir until the ginger and chillies brown. Immediately add the other ingredients and bring to a boil while stirring.
Turn heat to medium high and simmer, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon to prevent sticking on the bottom. Continue until it has a thick, jam-like consistency.
The chutney can be served fresh and hot or canned in glass canning jars. Canned chutney should be served hot, since chutneys will be much more tasty that way.
Alakananda Ma M.B., B.S. (Lond.) is an Ayurvedic Doctor (NAMA) and graduate of a top London medical school. She is co-founder of Alandi Ayurveda Clinic and Alandi Ayurveda Gurukula in Boulder Colorado, as well as a spiritual mother, teacher, flower essence maker and storyteller. Alakananda is a well known and highly respected practitioner in the Ayurveda community both nationally and internationally.
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