Here we are again folks. It’s too many green tomatoes time!
Friends, I was smart and totally on top of my shit this year. I picked away at the harvest in manageable chunks rather than frantically hauling them all inside at once. But today, with the high winds and heavy rains of hurricane Sandy looming, I decided it was time to bring in as many as possible or risk loosing what remains. And so I trudged out there, dressed in boots and wind-resitant gear, basket and shears in hand, mere minutes before the weather turned nasty. I pulled in a boatload of the largest under-ripe fruit from what remained on the vines. Only the currants and a few small cherry varieties were left behind.
So far this season I’ve made:
- zucchini and green tomato relish
- green cherry tomatoes pickled in tarragon and lemon peel
- sweet peppery pickled tomatoes
- dill pickled green cherry tomatoes
- fried green tomatoes
- roasted green tomatoes
- 2 lbs of green tomatoes are sweating in bowls of salt as I write this. They will be made into 2 more types of pickle.
They arrive early in the spring along with the hellebore, and the crocus, and the few other earliest of the early flowers. They are a gift. They greet us silently and yet there is an audible gasp when their bobbing heads are spotted above the debris.
Oh thank god we’re gonna make it after all saint Mary Tyler Moore the worst is over.
The world is coming alive again. You can stop holding your breath now.
The quest to preserve what remains of the fall garden bounty continues at a fevered pitch. I used to complain that I didn’t have enough green tomatoes at the end of the season, and now… let’s just say, Be careful what you wish for.
One nice way to use up the last of the herbs is to make herb-infused salts. I’ve written glowingly about them in my books — they’re use in the kitchen is endless. We use them as rubs, to flavour roasted veggies and potatoes, to season eggs, as an aromatic baked salmon crust, and as a finish on just about everything.
Sage and rosemary are common culinary companions, but I didn’t think to make a salt of it until I came across jars in a local Italian greengrocer. I initially thought that the strong, resinous herbs would limit the salt’s potential, but we keep a jar of it next to the other salts and I have found myself turning to it far more often than I imagined.
I taught a group how to prepare this particular mix in my Banking the Bounty workshop last month and recently made up a huge batch at home to give to friends as holiday gifts. I’ve provided instructions for a small batch, but it is easily multiplied.
p.s. You’ll love the way your kitchen smells as you make this.
From Left to Right:
Top Row: 1. Morning Glory These morning glories are one of the few plants that came with the yard when we moved in. I must have pulled up thousands of seedlings by now but they just keep coming. It does not help that I always give in and allow a few to flower. I’m sure that a few seeds have escaped in the process. 2. Calendula officinalis ‘Zeolights’ At least I’m pretty sure that’s what it is. I didn’t make tags when I planted the seeds in the spring.3. Gurensey Lily (Nerine bowdenii) The story behind this is that I bought the bulb for half price late in the season last year, planted it in the ground at the back of the garden and forgot about it until a flower stalk appeared late this summer. It is not meant to be hardy here but must have overwintered due to my garden’s sandy (well draining) and an exceptionally mild winter last year.
I spent the day harvesting some of the last vegetables from the garden and photographing them. As this was happening I prepared jars for preserving, had pots of salsa verde and apple sauce on the stove, and packed several jars full of herbed salt. It was a busy day of multi-tasking, but I don’t mind. This is some of my favourite work.
Speaking of photography: This coming Saturday I will be giving a short presentation on photographing food at the Blissdom Canada conference. Will you be attending? Please don’t hesitate to say hi if you are. Few people realize that while I love to talk and give presentations, I am crippled by shyness at conference parties and “mixers.” I can not mingle or work a room to save my life!
These aren’t the last of the tomato harvest, but it is getting very close.