October in the kitchen – Green tomato relish

I finally had to pull out the last of the tomatoes. There is a certain sadness for me as it signifies the true end of summer. But, the peas need to be planted into the garden before they become root bound and I need a chance to amend the bed before they are transplanted.

Tearing out the plants was hard work as the roots were deep. I amended the bed with compost and bone meal. Then gave the bed a good watering. The soil will sit absorbing all that good stuff for a few days prior to planting.

I harvested all the green tomatoes remaining on the vines and went in a search for ways to use them.

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Of course you could always make fried green tomatoes but I wanted a way to preserve the season for longer than one meal. I found an easy recipe for Italian Farmhouse Green Tomato Pickle on The Splendid Table. The pickle is from the city of Lecce, in southern Italy’s Apulia region. There it is used as a method to preserve the first or last tomatoes of the season. You can set this out as part of an antipasto, as a seasoning for braises or stews, blend it into scrambled eggs, or as a relish with other dishes. Splendid Table says it is excellent on sandwiches, for me grilled cheese comes to mind.

Italian Farmhouse Green Tomato Relish (makes about 4 cups)

Ingredients:

1 lb. of green tomatoes, stem end removed and cut into 1/2 inch dice

2 tablespoons salt

2 pieces sun-dried tomatoes (not oil), soaked in hot water and minced

2 large cloves of garlic, minced

1 tablespoon minced hot pepper, I used Serrano

6 chopped mint leaves

12 minced basil leaves

about 4 cups white wine vinegar (7% acid) or pickling vinegar

In a china or glass bowl combine the tomatoes and salt, then cover them and let them sit in the refrigerator overnight.

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The next day rinse the tomatoes briefly with cold water. Drain and toss them with the rest of the ingredients.

Sterilize 4 heat proof 1-cup containers by putting them through the dishwasher, or put them (plus the lids) in a large pot of water and bring it to a boil. Do not put the jars directly into boiling water as they may crack and break. Lift out the hot jars with tongs, turn them upside down on a towel on the counter for a few minutes to cool. Fill the jars with the tomato mixture to about an inch from the top. Wipe the edge of the container with a clean paper towel or cloth, add enough vinegar to cover. Top off with a little olive oil. Screw on the lids and refrigerate.

Marinate for at least 4 days before serving. Make sure the tomatoes are covered with vinegar after each use.

Tomatoes will keep for about 6 months as long as the are completely covered with vinegar each time.

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