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Great green tomatoes! Bring out the canner and cake pan! (And the relish tips…)

October 15th, 2008 · 12 Comments · Food preparation, Food selection, local food, recipes

When life gives you green tomatoes, you might as well make Green Tomato Cake and Green Tomato Chutney. Some people would also make Green Tomato Pickles. I probably should have. Here, in any case, is the story.

The setup

Sure, I told my sister. I’ll take some of your green tomatoes. Don’t just throw them out. Yea, I guess I could take about 5 pounds. The delivery (which arrived with the red ribbon) instead was one overflowing peck, a little more than double what I expected:

A bucket full of green tomatoes

A bucket full of green tomatoes

The ‘solution’

First up, Green Tomato Cake, using 4 cups (about 2 pounds) of minced green tomatoes. I made very few changes, but here’s what I did.

Green Tomato Cake

  • 4 cups (about 2 pounds) chopped green tomatoes (I used the food processor)
  • 1 tablespoon salt plus 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup raisins, chopped (see note)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

4 cups chopped green tomatoes

  1. Place chopped tomatoes in a bowl and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon salt. Let stand 10 minutes. Place in a colander, rinse with cold water and drain.
  2. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and beat until creamy.
  3. Add flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, soda and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Mix well.
  4. Add raisins, walnuts and drained tomatoes. Mix well.
  5. Transfer batter into greased and floured 10-inch tube pan or 9 x 13 inch pan.
  6. Bake 40 to 45 minutes in the 350-degree oven, or until toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean.
  7. If using tube pan, allow to cool 10-15 minutes in pan, then place plate over pan and invert cake onto plate. (Leave cake in 9 x 13 pan to cool.)
  8. When thoroughly cool, dust with powdered sugar or frost, if desired, with cream-cheese frosting and serve. Makes 20 servings.

Note: I chopped the raisins in expectation that my sister, the giver of the tomatoes and the to-be recipient of the cake, would turn her nose up at raisins. But I wanted them in for the flavor, so I chopped them. She hasn’t complained.

The verdict: Nice, moist spice cake, reminiscent of zucchini or carrot cake except for those pale green flecks. (You’ll notice I didn’t do a bang-up job unmolding (depanning?) the thing, but that doesn’t affect the taste!)

The other 8 pounds

Cake done, that left a mere 8 pounds of green tomatoes, which meant I didn’t have enough of some ingredients to make Green Tomato Chutney. I didn’t let that stop me. I’ll spare you the recipe of what I actually made, though, because to my taste buds I wound up with something akin to sweet pickle relish. Twelve pints of sweet pickle relish. Twelve pints of odd sweet pickle relish. (Hmm…is that, um, ginger in this relish?)

I have from now till Christmas to think of things to do this stuff, because everybody I know is getting it for a present. So that they don’t chuck it, I’ve got to come up with some uses. If you’ve got some ideas, LET ME KNOW!!

Meanwhile, I’m thinking this relish just may have cured me of my say-yes-to-free-food impulses, at least for the moment…

Yes, there are three pints more than the nine in this picture...

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12 Comments so far ↓

  • Jennifer (Baklava Queen)

    The cake sounds intriguing — I would not have thought of that, but why not? And how can you resist free produce when it’s so attractively packaged? :-)

  • Lori

    Raisins!! Nice job of disguising them, sister. In spite of the hidden raisins the cake is terrific — and it does taste like a zucchini cake.

    We haven’t tried the ‘relish’ yet. But I promise to report in when we have … but what do we put it on?

    Janet, maybe you should have made several cakes and frozen them as holiday presents. They certainly are tasty!

    Grandma Tucker would be proud of your ability to make something useful and yummy from the last fruits of the garden.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Joanne

    Oh, next time, please email me for green tomato recipes. (or whatever) I’d be happy to help! I have some good ones…I try never to turn down free food and just find a way to make it into something we might eat…
    Things to do with your relish:
    1) use it (a jar at a time) for a meat marinade for pot roast kind of cuts of beef. (or pork I guess, I wouldn’t know.) Throw in potatoes, apples, carrots, onions and cook for a long time. Add sugar, maple syrup, honey, or other sweetener if necessary. Add vinegar or wine if you need more sour.
    2) have a hot dog and sausage party.
    3) eat it on sandwiches with sharp cheddar and good crusty bread and pretend it’s British “pickle”
    4) use a little of it to make salad dressing with some vinegar and oil, or yogurt for a creamy one.
    5) make a savory vegetable bread–just substitute the relish for the zuchini or whatever.

    I hope this helps! :)

  • LisaK

    Great post! We have a ton of green tomatoes still and I am looking for ideas.

    Thanks for the relish ideas, Joanne! I was just wondering what to use all the relish for.

  • Lori

    I like to use my relish in macaroni salad. It adds crunch and flavor!

    Guess what I did today. Spent all day chopping and slicing green tomatoes. So funny. I am making green tomato jam, like the recipe on my blog. And I am making this green tomato salad type thing to can. I will hopefully be posting that in the next day or two. Glad to see I am not the only one with tons of green tomatoes!

  • Janet Majure

    Why not indeed, Jennifer. Sister Lori, see Joanne’s suggestions (and remember, sometimes what you don’t know won’t hurt you). Joanne, I join Lisa in thanking you for the suggestions. I’ve already tried the cheese sandwich, and it was OK, but I think the cheese wasn’t sharp enough. Or maybe the relish is too sweet. Lori #2, I’m headed your way to see about the “salad-type thing.”

    Meanwhile, friends have also suggested adding it to potato salad, chicken salad, tuna salad and egg salad. I’m sure I’ll be trying all suggestions!

  • Stephanie

    I can’t wait to try this cake recipe! I picked about 100 green tomatoes today, and still have several jars of relish left from last year!!

    It’s nice to have options. THANK YOU!

  • Janet Majure

    Hope you like it, Stephanie. And let me know if you have more suggestions for using the relish! Today’s version: an ingredient in tuna salad. Very tasty, actually!

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  • Omaha Annie

    I buried my mom one eek ago. One of the BEST things she made was Pickelilly – relish made with green tomatoes. I can’t find her recipe. But I will – 12 people are waiting for the relish for Xmas presents. We used it on beef, pork, chicken. In potatoe salad…in mayo for tarter sauce. We loved it! And only I have the recipe – if only I could find it!

  • Janet Majure

    So sorry about your mother, Omaha Annie. I’ve heard about Piccalilli but I don’t know if I’ve ever had it. Nevertheless, it is a standard in the USDA guide to home canning. If you can’t find your mother’s, maybe theirs will do in a pinch: http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/how/can_06/piccalilli.html. Wish I’d realized it was a green tomato recipe earlier this fall!

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