Friday, October 17, 2008

Autumn Gardening and Cooking

The Fall leaves are pretty well at their peak here in Saratoga County. A lot of the maple trees already flamed and fell early and the foliage is not as fiery as it has been in past years, but it is still a visual treat to see all the burgundy, orange and yellow leaves. The vegetable garden got its killing frost a couple of weeks back, but we still have some stalwarts hanging out like the sage, chives and oregano in the herb patch and the prehistoric looking brussels sprouts plants. The apple trees keep producing, and so I've made several batches of rosy pink apple sauce for the freezer.

That's an easy project to do with my crockpot, as I just core, peel and chunk our apples and toss them into my slow cooker overnight with maybe a cup of water. By morning, they are soft and I just throw in a little sweetener and some cinnamon.

When the meteorologists all predicted a hard frost I got busy harvesting the last beans, peppers and green tomatoes. We had a banner year for tomatoes. It was a veritable green tomato army that invaded every sunny window ledge and several 5-gallon plastic buckets. Unfortunately, they brought in their own brigade of fruit flies, so I got busy wrapping up one bucket of green tomatoes in newspaper to ripen more slowly over the next month or so.

There was still an impressive bounty of green overrunning the drainboard and our window sills so I thought I would try out a batch of Green Tomato Chutney. I found this recipe to use up 24 of my green love apples and only modified it by subbing whole mustard and coriander seeds for the mixed pickling spices and it came out very tasty. Actually, it's almost identical in taste to the Apple Chutney I made earlier this season, except that there are more crunchy spices to chew on with this batch.

I still have a batch more green tomatoes on hand, so any ideas OTHER THAN Southern fried green tomatoes, would be cheerfully accepted. I just don't like them, although the book "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle-Stop Cafe"by Fannie Flagg is certainly a tasty read.


Anonymous said...

I'll have to check back for ideas! I don't do much with the green ones, just put them in a bag and let 'em ripen

Alicia Foodycat said...

We got hardly any tomatoes this year - I am jealous of yours!

Deb in Hawaii said...

I miss fall leaves and all the colors. You have quite the garden and both the apple sauce and chutney sound delicious!

kat smith said...

I am from the south and we have always used our overabundance of green tomatoes to make green tomatoe ketchup. It is a wonderful relish to put on northern beans and serve with cornbread. The recipe is simple because everything is in equal measure. Peel and chop your green tomatoes into a fine dice. Chop white onions into a fine dice. Mince several cloves of garlic. Chop red pepper and green pepper into same size dice as tomatoes and onion.Place these ingredients in a pan and now we get cooking. We are going to make a pickling sauce to place on them that is gluten free. I use Heinz distilled white vinegar 1 cup and 1 half cup sugar. For my spices I use in quantity 1 half teaspoon each dill seed, ground tumeric, ground ginger, celery seed, and red pepper flakes. Make enough of this mixture to completely cover the amount of chopped vegetables you have. Bring your vegetable to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook for an hour and then proceed with normal canning procedures and place in jars. Tonya

Rachel said...

Tonya, thank you so much for that great sounding recipe for Green Tomato Ketchup. Southern cooks always have such tasty ideas! I may just carve out some time to try this.

Gluten free Kay said...

Hi Rachel,

I have a similar pile of green tomatoes at my house. Our first frost is due tonight. We had a frost warning a week ago, but there was no frost at my house. The tomatoes I picked then are ripening up nicely. Thought I'd be done with my late night canning by now. Happily, I am not. I made a second batch of ketchup a couple of nights ago. That green tomato ketchup sounds good!

I love every single Fannie Flagg book. Of all the authors I've read, I would most like to write like her. I miss all her characters when the story is done. Reading her books makes me feel like I'm visiting relatives in Elmwood Springs.

I only read outdoors. Sadly, my reading season has come to an end. Time to start my pile of next summer's books. Carl Hiaasen's about due for a new offering. If I'm lucky, maybe Christopher Moore will have a new one, too.