When Life Gives You Green Tomatoes…

Salsa Verde

For close to a month now, I’ve been patiently waiting for Indian summer to set in.

I’ve optimistically/delusionally put off closing up the garden in the hopes that some unseasonably warm weather would drop by and bring the masses of tomatoes on my vines to fruition.

But, with the Everyman and I leaving for a week’s vacation at the cottage, it appeared I would have no such luck, so rather than hoping for the best while we were away and potentially losing all of the tomatoes to frost, I sucked it up and stripped the plants bare over the weekend.

The damage?

Cherry Tomato Disappointment

2 pounds 12 ounces green cherry tomatoes;

Full Size Failures

1 pound 12 ounces unripened heirloom tomatoes;

What's Left Of The Ripe Ones

And a measly 4 ounces ripened cherry tomatoes.

Now I hear that wrapping tomatoes in newsprint can help them ripen some, but there was no way I was going to try that with a 3 pound bowl of (mostly currant-sized) cherry tomatoes.

Last year I was lucky if I had even a handful of unripened fruit at the end of the season, so this wasted potential hurt, big time.  I had no intention of throwing this much produce out, but I knew if I’d left it on the vines any longer and a real frost had set in, all we’d have was a whole lot of rot on our hands.

So, I started searching for ideas to use the nearly 5 pounds of unripened tomatoes, from green catsup, to salsa, to chutney, etc, but in the end I settled on salsa verde.

Rooftop Haul

As an added bonus it also managed to use up a few of my other rooftop harvests (earlier in the week I’d plucked all of the carrots, beets, celery, jalapeno and poblano peppers).  Plus, it was a recipe that I could tailor to my tastes but would produce a relatively small yield.

Green Slurry

After washing and stemming and chopping (and chopping and chopping), I had a pot brimming with numerous shades of green slop that I admittedly didn’t find all that visually appetizing.  But, I had faith.  And the worst case scenario; even if I didn’t like it, I could always give it away or throw it out.

Once I cooked it down a little, I found it didn’t taste half bad, so I bottled it up for a chilly winter day.  It certainly wasn’t what I would call my ideal use for 5 pounds of tomatoes, but it averted the potential waste of a lot of organic, homegrown food, so that’s got to count for something.

One, Tiny Shallot

Now if only I could figure out what I did wrong to only grow one of these…

Foodie’s Rooftop Salsa Verde

7 c. green tomatoes

2 c. red onions, chopped

5 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped and seeded

3 poblano peppers, finely chopped and seeded

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 c. parsley, finely chopped

0.5 c. lime juice

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp epazote

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

Sterilize 7-1 cup canning jars.  Wash tomatoes and chop roughly with a stick blender.  Combine all ingredients in a heavy bottomed pot and simmer over low heat until onions are nearly translucent, 10-15 minutes.  Once cooked, ladle hot salsa into jars, knocking out any air bubbles.  Seal with canning lids and screw closed until fingertip tight.  Process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.

Makes 7 cups.

The Everyman and I will be back some time next weekend.  Later, all you working suckers!

Until next time…

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