Kitchen Wit & Wisdom: Don’t toss green tomatoes into the compost

Cathi Litzenberger said there are so many things that can turn unripe tomatoes into a tasty treat

I don’t know how your garden has grown this year, but for me, the slowest crop to ripen is my tomatoes. They will probably have a tough time getting to size, never mind ever ripening before the frost gets them.

There are many recipes for green tomatoes, beside fried, which I have had several requests for, and I have included a good one today for that. If you like fried zucchini you will like this, it’s quick and easy to make. But there are so many other things we can make from green tomatoes. For instance, green tomato cakes, pies, relishes, salsa verde, mincemeat, soups, sauces and more.

Today I’m offering a great recipe for a tangy relish that’s perfect with sandwiches, potatoes, cheese, and other entrées. A jar of this makes a great gift, too!

Spicy Fried

Green Tomatoes

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 tsp. garlic powder

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 12-ounce can beer

1/2 cup oil for frying

5 green tomatoes, sliced 1/2-inch thick

In a bowl, mix the flour, black pepper, red pepper, garlic powder, eggs and beer. The mixture should resemble pancake batter.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Pat tomato slices dry; dip in batter to coat, then fry in skillet 5 minutes each side, until golden brown. Eat while hot.


Tomato relish

24 large green tomatoes

3 red bell peppers, halved and seeded

3 green bell peppers, halved and seeded

12 large onions

3 tbsp. celery seed

3 tbsp. mustard seed

1 tbsp. pickling salt

5 cups white sugar

2 cups cider vinegar

In a grinder or food processor, coarsely grind tomatoes, red bell peppers, green bell peppers and onions. (You may need to do this in batches.)

Line large colander with cheesecloth, place in sink or in large bowl, and pour in tomato mixture to drain for 1 hour.

In large, non-aluminum stockpot, combine tomato mixture, celery seed, mustard seed, salt, sugar and vinegar. Bring to boil and simmer over low heat 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Sterilize enough jars and lids to hold relish (12 one-pint jars, or 6 one-quart jars). Pack relish into sterilized jars, making sure there are no spaces or air pockets. Fill jars all the way to top. Screw on lids. Place a rack in the bottom of a large canner and fill halfway with boiling water. Carefully lower jars into pot using a holder. Leave 2-inch space between jars. Pour in more boiling water if necessary, until tops of jars are covered by 2 inches of water. Bring water to a full boil, then cover and process for 30 minutes. Remove jars from pot and place on cloth-covered or wood surface, several inches apart, until cool. Once cool, press top of each lid with finger, ensuring that seal is tight (lid does not move up or down at all). Relish can be stored for up to a year.

Cathi Litzenberger is The Morning Star’s longtime food columnist, appearing every Wednesday and one Sunday per month.