My daughter (now a five-year-old wise to the ways of the world) and I were commiserating yesterday about how, in the heat of summer, we long for winter... and yet in the dreariness of winter we pine for summer. How true it is.
I remember how anxiously I waited for the first of the season's tomatoes, watching the plants I packed into one of our terraces grow and bloom and yet those flavorful fruits seemingly never to appear.
And then, bright green globes that were so reluctant to blush red.
And then finally! our first ripe tomato of the year, savored piece by piece. And yet I still waited for that dead-of-summer onslaught that meant I could really start making big batches of tomato sauce.
Well the onslaught came:
...and then went, and there are now 35 pounds of tomatoes patiently napping in our chest freezer, waiting for the day I muster up the courage and energy to pull them all out and can a dozen jars or so of pasta sauce (that will last us all of 3 months probably, but hey, we love our pasta). And as I looked out at the plants showing their age even as they continued to pump out more tomatoes, I longed to pull them all out -- ruthlessly yanking them out by the roots despite all they had given us -- so I could clean and replenish the beds and start afresh with the kales, lettuces, chards, greens, onions, garlics, leeks, beets, and other mellower crops of fall and winter.
Of course that leaves me with 10 pounds or so of the last stragglers. What to do with all those green tomatoes? I could wait for them to hopefully ripen on the counter, or I could make an amazing green salsa that has me wondering why I ever waited for those tomatoes to ripen at all! Maybe next year, we grow tomatoes just to pull green fruit?!?
Green tomato salsa (makes about 4 cups)
~5 pounds of green tomatoes, any kind
~2 pounds of ripe tomatoes, any kind
~6 jalapeno peppers, or more/less according to your taste (yes there is a theme here)
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic
1 medium lime (though being sadly lime-less at the time, I used a lemon and it worked out just fine)
1 bunch of cilantro
Salt/pepper to taste
In a pot, dump the green tomatoes and jalapenos and barely cover with water. Simmer until soft, which shouldn't take long -- 5 minutes or so should do it. Drain the water... you don't need it anymore.
Throw in the onion, garlic, juice from the lime, and ripe tomatoes and blend away. I like to use my immersion blender... makes it so easy! Then roughly chop the cilantro leaves and throw those in too. Blend to your preferred consistency, then taste and add salt/pepper as you like. If you're feeling particularly spicy, you can try adding other seasonings too -- oregano, cumin, paprika, smoked paprika (ooooh!), chili pepper...
Chill. Taste again. Then try and have this last for a week in your fridge. I dare you.