MAKE IT NOW, WHILE THE FARMER’S MARKET (OR YOUR OWN GARDEN) IS PROBABLY OVERFLOWING WITH GREEN TOMATOES. ENJOY IT ALL YEAR LONG — STARTING BUT BY NO MEANS ENDING WITH THANKSGIVING.
GREEN TOMATO MINCEMEAT (vegetarian)
- 1 orange, preferably organic, quartered, seeds picked out
- 1 pound raisins, preferably unsulphured and organic
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 1/2 quarts chopped, cored apples, peeled or not as you prefer
- 2 1/2 quarts chopped, stemmed green tomatoes
- 1 pound pitted prunes, preferably unsulphured and organic
- 1 thumb-sized chunk of fresh ginger-root, finely chopped, any tough fibers removed
- 1/2 cup dark (not blackstrap) molasses
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Combine the orange, peel and all, with half the raisins and vinegar, in a food processor. Buzz to a nice slightly chunky even consistency, somewhere between paste and puree, pausing to scrape down sides of the work bowl a couple of times. Transfer to a large, heavy nonreactive pot.
- Add remaining whole raisins and all other ingredients and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring often. Lower heat to a simmer and cook, stirring often (due to the sugar and molasses, the mixture will want to stick), until the mincemeat is thick, dark and evil-looking. and the kitchen is fragrant. When done, the apples and tomatoes should be soft and largely indistinguishable; about 30 to 40 minutes of simmering should do it.
- If canning the mincemeat, put it up hot in hot sterilized jars (the vinegar and sugar prevent botulism; you don't need to process it in a hot water bath), and seal. But it keeps well in the fridge for several weeks, and you can also transfer it to zip-top freezer bags and freeze it.
- If you have trouble finding green tomatoes, use all apples. I much prefer it, however, with half green tomatoes and half apples.
- Some of my favorite apples here are Northern Spies, Macouns, Stayman Winesaps, and Arkansas Blacks. But use what you have, with the following provisos: Avoid Granny Smiths (they don't break down but keep their shape; not desirable here) and Red and Gold Deliciouses (they break down too much, too fast).
- Besides filling pies with Green Tomato Mincemeat, try using this stirred into yogurt, instead of jam in trifle, or as a filling for homemade bar cookies (the kind with a pastry bottom, filling in the middle, and a nice buttery crumbly streusel atop... recipe coming)
What should you do with a green tomato? Of course, you can fry them, or make them into a main-dishy savory casserole or kugel.
But better yet, try my Fabulous Green Tomato Mincemeat.
People who love mincemeat tell me it is the best they have ever eaten; people who hate mincemeat tell me it is the only mincemeat they have ever enjoyed. People who are vegetarian or vegan are thrilled because it has no meat.
But underneath, all of them love it because it is SO rootin-tootin’ good!
Truly, you will be ecstatic to have this on hand come Thanksgiving.
Plus, it’s not just for pies — it is delectable as a filling for sandwich bars — you know, the kind with oatmeal and brown sugar above and below a fruit filling. I have used my mincemeat in trifle, too, and shortcake style, between split biscuits and dolloped liberally with whipped cream (dairy or coconut).