This article and the accompanying recipes originally appeared in print in the Globe & Mail on September 5, 2009. I thought I’d repost it here today since the season is so ahead this year and my large, indeterminate tomato plants are on the verge of a first round of ripening. CAN NOT WAIT! If you’re in a warmer climate, you’re probably enjoying them already and wondering how to use up the extras that are quickly rotting in a bowl and breeding fruit flies on your kitchen counter.
Perhaps that was not the image I should have left you with. Now I am obsessing about my own bowl of small tomatoes and the fruit fly colony I am potentially raising as I write this.
[At which point I did get up to go inspect my bowl of fruit that was in fact housing one rotting tomato and a few fruit flies.]
The article below includes some brief canning instruction and three recipes: Gayla’s definitive green tomato chutney, Superior heirloom tomatoes, and Old-fashioned tomato ketchup.
If you’re itching to dive in further, I’ve included more detailed instructions in my book Grow Great Grub: Organic Food From Small Spaces, along with a few extra recipes.
The Ball and Bernardin (in Canada) books are highly regarded as the most popular tomes, but I have to admit that I find them a bit dull and have never made a single recipe from these books. I personally recommend Well-Preserved by Eugenia Bone. Her writing is conversational and entertaining, and is written from the perspective of a New York apartment dweller with real-world ingredients and realistic, small-batch quantities. I do not have a copy nor have I read it, but someone brought a copy of Canning & Preserving with Ashley English to my spring canning class and on a quick flip-through it looked very thorough, inviting and engaging.
I’m practically writing another article here, but since I’m on the subject, there are three contemporary British canning books that I would also highly recommend: Jellies, Jams & Chutneys, Preserves (This is the copy I have but it is listing at $206!!), and Fruits of the Earth The recipes are a bit more unusual than the stuff I have found in American books, using ingredients and combinations I had never thought to try.