It is that time of year. Fall is in the air and I am rooting for the last of the tomatoes. We had a fabulous tomato year with many cans put away for winter cooking, but I always hate to know it will be many cold months before I’ll taste another vine ripe tomato.
The most important thing to do this time of year is to make sure you saved one of the best, ripest, biggest, sweetest tomatoes from this year’s crop to save the seeds for next year. Just scrape out the seeds into a zip lock bag and fill with water. You can still use the rest of the tomato to eat. Let the bag sit several days until it gets a bit funky (this bacteria helps the seed to germinate for next year). Then drain the liquid and place the seeds on a white piece of copy paper to dry. Store the dried seeds in an envelope in your fridge or another cool dry place.
Now, you can begin, like us, to worry about all your green tomatoes that could freeze any day. We have several huge Vincen Watts tomatoes that we have left in hopes that they will turn red. We picked many of the smaller ones and put them in a brown paper bag to turn.
If you like fried green tomatoes or green tomato pie, now is the time to take advantage of these beautiful green beauties before they freeze. Instead, I use all the small green tomatoes with no chance to turn for making green tomato relish. This recipe that I make yearly and use in soup beans, stuffed meatless peppers, chicken and other salads makes 6 quart and 7 half quart jars.
Green Tomato Relish
12 bell peppers
4 quarts green tomatoes
1/2 c. salt
6 ¾ c. sugar
2 T. celery seed
2 T. mustard seed
4 c. cider vinegar
Grind vegetables with salt (in blender or food processor). Let sit overnight and drain out liquid. Mix vegetables with remaining ingredients and boil over medium heat in heavy pan for 20 minutes. Pour into sterilized jars leaving ½ inch on top. Place lids on each jar and cover in boiling water for 10 minutes to seal.