Hi Frugal Upstate!
I have been canning tomatoes for years, but this year a friend of mine asked me to can green tomatoes and onions for him. I’m wondering first how soon I can pick the fruit; I live in Northeastern PA so my tomatoes are still relatively young, but a nice size. Secondly, do the tomatoes need to be blanched prior to canning, like my regular red ones.
Thanks for your help…
Ahhh, green tomatoes!
Although I am quite well versed in they ways to USE green tomatoes, I’ve never actually picked them on purpose. The Late Tomato Blight attacked all my tomato plants in both 2009 and 2010 just as they were loaded with beautiful green fruit. This forced me to pick every single green tomato off the plants. Big ones just starting to blush with pink, little itty bitty ones just forming and everything in between.
I can say with complete authority that they can be used in any stage! Of course the little tiny ones are very hard 🙂 For your purposes I would suggest picking them when they reach full size but are still green.
I have made both Fireball Pickles, and Farmgirls Green Tomato Relish (which is more of a salsa), and I did not blanch the tomatoes for either recipe. The skin just doesn’t seem to separate the same way on a green tomato as it does on a ripe one. However, when I canned the green cherry tomatoes whole I did prick them several times with a darning needle first-if you leave them completely intact when the centers heat up the tomato might explode!
If you are looking for some fun ways to use green tomatoes you can always make Fried Green Tomatoes, or try more unusual recipes such as Green Tomato Bread! I’ve even just chunked them up and added them to curries, stirfries and casseroles. Hey-a vegetable is a vegetable!
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