Last of the Summer Vegetables

This week brought a forecast for our first killing frost, right on schedule for our area. That had me scrambling to harvest and process all of the warm season vegetables before it was too late. As it turned out, we had frost here two mornings in a row but it didn’t seem to kill anything. Still, we had a lot of tender vegetables in the garden and I didn’t want to take any chances.

green tomato harvest (click on any image to enlarge)

Favorable weather had brought on a lot of green tomatoes lately. I got 18 pounds of them, and even left a few of the smaller ones on the vine. What can you do with all those green tomatoes? Well, I made Green Tomato Chutney and Green Tomato Salsa Verde for starters.

green tomato chutney simmering on the stove

The chutney was a recipe I found online, and had a nice sweet/tart taste. It reminds me a lot of the green tomato relish my mother used to make, though this one was spicier. That still left me with a lot of green tomatoes though.

finished Green Tomato Chutney

The Salsa Verde was another recipe I found online. I made it without the cilantro, since I didn’t have any on hand and figured I could always add it later. The salsa will be great with beans, tacos, burritos and other Mexican entrees. This one was good enough I decided to make another batch so we could have some in the freezer.

Green Tomato Salsa

And of course we had fried green tomatoes. They got sliced and salted, then dredged in a 50/50 mix of flour and corn meal. I fried them in a little vegetable oil seasoned with a spoonful of our locally sourced lard. Oh what a treat!

fried green tomatoes

But I still have some green tomatoes. I’m thinking about making some Green Tomato Bread. And I saved a few of the pinkish ones to let them turn red. I don’t think they have a lot of flavor, but we will get some use out them in the kitchen. It will be a long time before we have ripe ones again! But I’m still looking for ideas on how to use or preserve the remaining green ones.

sliced Cherokee Purple and Eva Purple Ball tomatoes

We did have some nice ripe tomatoes as well. I sliced a Cherokee Purple and an Eva’s Purple Ball  that went on BLT sandwiches. There’s nothing like a nice ripe tomato in late October! And my wife made a batch of vegetable soup using some of the fresh ripe tomatoes.

bucket of Anaheim type peppers

The pepper plants were loaded with peppers too, both the sweet and hot types. I dried some more, and also chopped and froze some of the bell peppers. I roasted most of the mild Anaheim type chili peppers on the grill, then I skinned, chopped and froze them. The best producers this year were Anaheim and Biggie Chili, but Numex Sunrise did well too and gave us some lovely yellow sweet/hot ripe peppers. I had plenty of jalapenos and serranos too, but for some reason the Ancho/Poblanos didn’t do well. It is possible they didn’t like the wet conditions we had most of the season.

roasted peppers

I saved some of the biggest sweet peppers for stuffing later in the week. I’ll make a double batch and freeze the leftovers for later. That’s another way I’ve found to enjoy the peppers a little bit longer.

bell peppers will be nice for stuffing

And I had to do something with the last of the basil, so I made another batch of pesto. This time I followed Mandy’s tip and used toasted sunflower seeds instead of walnuts or pine nuts. It was really quite tasty, and worth trying again next year. Toasting the sunflower seeds really brings out their flavor. The frost seems to have spared the basil, so we may be able to enjoy it a bit longer. But then I really need to pull it up and plant that bed with some Asian greens. It’s hard to be ruthless with basil! Maybe I’ll give it a few more days.

Basil harvest

And despite the overload of summer vegetables we still managed to enjoy some of the cool season ones. I made a nice salad with lettuce, arugula, tomato, sweet peppers and a China Rose radish for lunch. With any luck we should have salad greens all winter with our plantings in the cold frames and greenhouse.

homegrown salad

Well, that’s what I have been harvesting here at the end of October. To see more gardeners’ harvests from all around the world, visit Daphne’s Dandelions on Harvest Mondays!

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13 Responses to Last of the Summer Vegetables

  1. kitsapFG says:

    Beautiful harvests this week and nice haul of green and semi ripe tomatoes too! Our summer crops are all gone now with the exception that I am still getting a handful of pole beans once in a while but they are not long for this world either. We are definitely into the fall/winter crops and starting to use some of the preserved and frozen items for meal prep.

  2. Bee Girl says:

    What an amazing haul!!! Congratulations!!! And, can you believe I forgot about Fried Green Tomatoes?! Yep…holy hell! Must make Fried Green Tomatoes!!! Thanks for the reminder 🙂

  3. Mike says:

    Looks like you are making good use of the garden veggies and those fried green tomatoes look delicious…I’ve got to try that. Sounds like the frost got to you first, amazingly enough we are still free from it. Enjoy that salsa, it looks quite tasty.

  4. Wilderness says:

    The last of my green tomatoes finally ripened in the house this week so cooked them up for tomato juice. I had the first harvest of basil from the aero garden so made cheese/basil compound butter which I froze. That goes good on pasta and I also use it to finish my shrimp scampi.

  5. Thomas says:

    I’ll definitely have to try that recipe next year. Thanks for sharing! And I’m big fan freezing roasted peppers myself.

  6. Aimee says:

    Excellent harvest! Wow!

    I recently found some recipes to make green tomato pickles, which sounded great to me, although I’ve yet to try it.

    Check out http://www.foodinjars.com/2010/10/small-batch-pickled-green-tomatoes/
    if you want to give it a whirl with your extra green tomatoes.

    It’s certainly a different twist on green tomatoes, but sounds very intriguing!

  7. michelle says:

    That’s a nice end of season harvest! I have to admit, I usually toss the green tomatoes at the end of the season, I’m not fond of chutneys and preserves and one can eat only just so many fried green tomatoes. I think that this year I’ll see if the chickens like green tomatoes…

  8. I can’t believe your season was longer than ours! I scavenged just a couple of tomatoes yesterday as we were pulling all the dead plants, but a drenching early October rain finished off what was left of our plants a couple of weeks ago. Looks like your Cherokee Purples had a good year there, the one in the photo is perfect, I can almost taste it from here! I’ve never tried sunflower seeds in pesto, that sounds really intriguing.

  9. Liz says:

    Ever since I saw the film “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe”
    I wanted to try them. I finally had the opportunity when I visited the US a few years ago – loved them! You just can’t get them here – so I will have to make them (once I have some green tomatoes of course….) – do you just use a normal bread crumb? Or is there more to it?

    • Dave says:

      I salt the tomatoes a bit to bring out the juices. Then I coat them with a mix of half flour and half corn meal. I don’t dip them in egg, so it’s a lighter coating.

  10. Jody says:

    That’s a lot of produce for this time of year! Our bell peppers were done last month. How did you do it? And almost 20 pounds of tomatoes! You must be very busy.

  11. Daphne says:

    Beautiful harvests. I’ve got most of the tender plants out of my garden too. I’ve got a couple of pole beans to pull and some squash to harvest, but that is all.

  12. Diana says:

    Fried green tomatoes what a nice way to enjoy green tomatoes. Fantastic harvest!

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