Friday, November 7, 2008

Green Tomato Mincemeat

Can you believe we are still processing green tomatoes?

Our final harvest netted us a bus tub full of green tomatoes plus another bus tub full of tomatoes in various stages of ripeness. Here it is November and we are looking for new and different ways to use our green ones.

We love our sweet pickled green tomatoes and green tomato and apple chutney. In our latest search, we came across this recipe for green tomato, apple and pear mincemeat in Helen Witty's Fancy Pantry. It sounds an awful lot like the green tomato chutney, but with sharper flavors: lemon, pear, allspice, cloves, ginger and rum.

Besides serving our green tomato chutney as a condiment, we like to spread it on a cracker with goat cheese. I see a similar destination for this meatless mincemeat, which also would be perfectly fine in pastries and such. This recipe makes about eight pints, which is a lot. You could easily halve it and can the mincemeat in half-pint jars for holiday gift-giving.

3 quarts coarsely chopped green tomatoes, scrubbed and trimmed of stem scars
1 tablespoon iodized salt
1 1/2 quarts diced, peeled and cored firm, tart apples
1 quart diced, peeled and cored firm, slightly underripe pears
2 1/2 cups dark seedless raisins
Grated zest and chopped pulp of 1 or 2 medium oranges
Grated zest of 2 small lemons
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup undiluted frozen apple concentrate, thawed
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup dark rum (we substituted Calvados)

Stir chopped tomatoes and salt together, scrape into a colander and let drain for 2 hours

Combine drained tomatoes with apples, pears, raisins, orange zest and pulp, lemon zest, vinegar, apple concentrate, sugar, cinnamon, allspice, cloves and ginger in a preserving pan or heavy, non-reactive pot. Bring mixture to a boil over moderately-high heat. Lower heat and cook, uncovered, stirring often, until mincemeat is thick enough to mound in a spoon, about 1 hour. Take care to stir often and scrape the bottom to prevent burning.

Stir rum (or Calvados) into boiling-hot mincemeat, cook a minute or two longer, then ladle into hot, clean canning jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove any air bubbles (I poke around the mincemeat and stir gently using a long wooden skewer). Seal jars with new two-piece canning lids according to manufacturer's instructions and process in a boiling water bath for 25 minutes (for pint-size jars). Let mincemeat mellow for about a month before using.

Note: you can also store the mincemeat covered but not sealed in your refrigerator.

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