Monday, September 19, 2011

Week 14 - Green Tomato Relish Pictorial

Now that we have had a freeze (see freeze prep photo post here), it is officially fall. Scott says that we shouldn't dare give out any more summer squash or zucchini (does everyone have a loaf of zucchini bread in the freezer yet?) but you're getting them at least one more time.

This week's share includes carrots, potatoes, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers/summer squash, 2 lbs green cherry tomatoes, onions, parsley, two apples, and one jalapeno.

In honor of fall, everyone is receiving the ingredients to make a small batch of green tomato relish, which explains the last five items in the share list. 

The ingredients in the shares makes slightly more than four half-pints
of relish.
I don't get a lot of time to can in the height of harvest, and most of our cucumbers and ripe tomatoes go to the members anyway, so I preserve the items that we have in abundance once the season slows. Thankfully, that allows me to make all the green tomato relish I want. It's sweet, sour, and pleasantly spicy. Perfect with cheese, lunch meat, or hot dogs. I want a lot of it.

I understand that not everyone is up for canning, so before I get to the relish how to I'm going to offer another option.

Fried Green (Cherry) Tomatoes

Fried stuff is good. Especially when it's garden fresh stuff coated with egg wash and a layer of corn meal crunch. Generally I fry sliced green tomatoes by first dredging in flour, then egg wash, then seasoned corn meal, then pan frying in canola or peanut oil. I wanted to include my recipe because fried green tomatoes need to be enjoyed in the Yoop, but the shares have green cherry tomatoes. This is my solution. 
  • 2 cups green cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/4 cup corn meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • canola or peanut oil for frying
  1. Halve the cherry tomatoes and place them in a medium mixing bowl.
  2. Toss tomatoes with the flour, coating as evenly as possible.
  3. Lightly beat the egg and milk together, then toss the tomatoes with the egg mixture.
  4. Combine corn meal, salt, black pepper, and paprika.
  5. Add the corn meal mixture to the tomatoes and toss, again coating as evenly as possible. It will be a bit slippery and lumpy. That is okay.
  6. Cover the bottom of a 12 inch frying pan with about an 1/8 of an inch of oil and heat it over medium high heat.
  7. When the oil is hot enough to make a drop of water sizzle (test with just a drop - otherwise you risk a burn) pour the tomato mixture in the pan like a giant pancake.
  8. When the bottom is set and turning golden, flip the "pancake". It will break apart, just try to flip all the pieces.
  9. Cook until the second side is set and golden. Remove from heat.
I snapped this photo just after the flip so you would know what you were going for.
Sorry my stove is a bit of a mess, note the recipe notebook in the background.
And onto the relish.

Green Tomato Relish

If you taste the relish right after cooking you may think it doesn't live up to my praise, don't worry. It needs a month on the shelf before it is perfect. If you want to eat it before then you will just have to settle for really good.
  • 2 pounds green tomatoes (cherry or otherwise)
  • 2 small or one medium onion
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper (or none if you despise heat)
  • 10 stems parsley, tough lower stem removed
  • 2 tart, firm fleshed apples
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cinnamon stick 
  • 10 whole allspice berries
  • 20 whole black peppercorns

Place the tomatoes, onion, parsley, and jalapeno into the bowl of a food processor. It chops much better if you put the parsley and jalapeno on the bottom, but I wanted you to see how the parsley is trimmed. Use all tender portions of the stem along with the leaves.

Chop until it looks like this. It only takes a few seconds. You want some texture left in it. Once chopped, transfer the mixture to a sauce pot that will hold all of the ingredients with room for simmering.

Chop the apples into small pieces.

Add them to the pan along with the sugar, vinegar, and spices. There's no need for a spice bag because the allspice and pepper are left in for canning and the cinnamon is easy to fish out.

Bring to a boil and simmer until the apples are soft, 30 - 45 minutes. Ladle the hot relish into clean half pint jars (you should need four with about a half a cup left over) leaving a half inch head space. Top with two piece canning lids and tighten the rings "fingertip tight".

Boil for ten minutes in a boiling water bath (AKA an old stockpot with enough water to cover the jars by at least one inch). There is less risk of breaking a jar if you use new jars, do not close your lids too tightly, and bring the water to a boil with the jars in it, rather than adding jars to already boiling water.

The relish will keep for at least a year on the shelf. Remember it is best after it has sat for at least one month.

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