Green Tomato Relish – Another Garden Metaphor

Yesterday, I enjoyed a nice chicken salad on crackers, made especially tasty by stirring in a healthy amount of green tomato relish. The day before, I savored nachos, topped with zingy green tomato salsa. Tonight, I’ll slice and fry the last green tomato to serve beside dinner.

Sometime about the end of August, our abundant tomato crop was hit with the first freeze. We weren’t sure then whether we’d get any mature tomatoes or not. In the best Frugal Yankee tradition, I began looking for recipes for green tomatoes.

Relish, Salsa, Fried Green Tomatoes, Pickles, Casseroles, etc. Who knew there were so many uses for unripe garden fruits?

Every single one required two things from me:

1. Additional ingredients. Sometimes they were things I did not have on hand – I had to get them specifically if I wanted to utillize the abundant crop of green tomatoes.

2. Effort and specific types of work. What I did with them made all the difference.

You can see where I’m going with this…

We didn’t plant the garden and say, “Oh! I hope we get a LOT of green tomatoes, I’m just so looking forward to having to make-do!” We had big dreams when we planted 40 tomato plants. We wanted sauced, diced, and ketchuped tomatoes!

That first freeze didn’t kill our hopes. In fact, after that first freeze, which only killed the tops of the tomatoes, we gathered a small amount of red tomatoes – enough to make a weeny batch of ketchup. A few more tomatoes ripened indoors after a hard killing frost in September.

But we had more greens than reds, and we had to do something with them. In order to use them, we had to add the right ingredients, and if we didn’t have them, we had to go buy them. One or two were things I’d not need for anything else – I had to get them specifically to make use of those green tomatoes. And I had to do the right things with them, to make them into something good, otherwise they’d just be yucky green tomatoes.

Life, family, and business all do that to us. We plan our plans, and start to carry them out, and along comes a disaster that blights our hopes and kills the plans. What do we do then?

Do we cry that we didn’t get our juicy red tomatoes? Do we look at the distruction of our plants and at all those sad green tomatoes and see nothing but disaster? Or do we go seek out recipes for green tomatoes, and then add the necessary additional elements to turn them into something unexpected, but every bit as tasty and useful as what we had originally planned?

Sure, I still wish I had been able to harvest a bounty of red, ripe tomatoes. But since life handed me green tomatoes, I’m just thankful that there was something good I could do with them to turn it into a blessing of a different kind.

3 Responses to Green Tomato Relish – Another Garden Metaphor

  • Mitch says:

    It is that can-do spirit that helps us rise from the mediocrity of accepting the hand that was dealt to the height of tossing the losers and fighting for a better draw.



  • Sean says:

    One of the things that you drilled into me as a kid. Take what live gives you and make the best of it! Even if you were hoping for Red Tomatoes, You got Green Tomatoes. You took what you were given and made the best of it. After all, Green Tomatoes is still better than No Tomatoes

  • i wish to start green tomato business. could you please help me to start it. material and technical suport needed.

    i live in Rwanda, east africa

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