Thank goodness...October 1 is here!
This is my official marker on the calendar for the point when I can -- guilt free -- harvest green tomatoes from my garden. I give myself permission to pluck these green orbs knowing that they will never have the chance to flash the world with their sanguine heart and robust tang before the first frost hits Boulder.
It is common knowledge that you can harvest and store these tomatoes in a cool dark location -- like a dark corner of a pantry or in the cellar. There they will slowly ripen all the way to Thanksgiving -- a handy trick if your garden is forced to close shop early.
I prefer to avoid the hassle of storing boxes of delicate and potentially fruit fly laden fruit in favor of a condensed and sweetened derivative: marmalade.
Yes, green tomato marmalade -- jam really, is a surprisingly easy and delicious way to "put up" the under-developed youth of a fall garden.
You'll be amazed how slow heat along with sugar, lemon and a vanilla bean can render the unripened firm tomato flesh into an awesome condiment. This sweet-savory spread can be served with crackers, toast or with Charcuterie .
Go! ...pull those green tomatoes and make some jam!
The recipe below is adapted from Outstanding in the Field : A Farm to Table Cookbook (Clarkson Potter 2008).
Green Tomato Marmalade
2 Lb green tomatoes
2 C sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 vanilla bean
Core/chop tomatoes into a small dice. Zest lemon with peeler and then cut the peel into thin strips. Add the juice of the lemon, sugar, salt to tomatoes. Slice the vanilla bean in half - scrape the seeds into the mix as well as adding the pod halves. Bring mixture to boil (stir freq). Lower heat to simmer and cook til the marmalade thickens (2 to 2.5 hours). Remove vanilla bean pod.