By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz –
With three weeks of constant rain comes many woes in the garden. The tomatoes in particular struggled with blister beetles, slugs, box turtles, rot and cracking. We were able to save many by bringing them in at first blush and letting them ripen, but many are too dinged up to make it that far. Yet, I can’t just throw them away – in a year like this, every tomato counts! So it was that I found myself facing a counter of green tomatoes and sizing them up for their eating potential. What to do with all the wonky ones, I wondered. Suddenly it hit me. I said to Dean, “I’m going to make you a nice apple pie!” He turned to see the crazy look in my eye and a counter full of green tomatoes and with an incredulous tone to his voice, “No way.” Oh, yes-way” – A Green Love-Apple Pie!
Ok, so I exaggerated just a bit. I think I called it a green tomato pie. I may have even referred to it once as a “Mock” Apple Pie, which in hind-sight is a pretty low blow to this particular creation. I thought of Love Apple just now and liked it so much better than the alternative. And why not; it says everything you need to know about it.
Love apple (n.): A tomato. [But with no reference to color.] Probably from the French, pomme d’ amour – apple of love.
Of course, the love apples spoken of in France were almost certainly red, but they all had to start out green – and what’s not to love about that?
With a little drumroll going off in my head, I served us both a slice of the green tomato pie. Dean said, “Wow” and I agreed.
Just to make sure we weren’t being biased or fooling ourselves about how much this pie really tasted like apples or how good it was, I decided to make another pie to serve to some friends who were coming over for dinner. We kept the whole tomato thing to ourselves and simply said it was apple pie. I waited with bated breath.
To my delight, they absolutely loved it! The green tomato apple pie was so convincing that she asked for the recipe and the type of apple I had used. Her husband gave me the same No Way look Dean had given me earlier in the week, and then dove in for seconds.
If you like apple pie, I think you’ll like this just as much or more! Besides, it’s a great way to use up all those banged, bruised, and cracked green tomatoes in the late summer garden.
Enjoy and happy gardening!
Green Love-Apple Pie
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 cups cored and finely diced green tomatoes
1 tablespoon apple cider or balsamic vinegar
2-5 tablespoons flour or cornstarch
2 – 9” pie crusts
Prepare pie crusts. Place bottom pastry in a 9” pie pan.
There is no need to peel the tomatoes. Wash, core and finely dice, shred or puree’ to equal three cups. Very green tomatoes cook the best when diced finely and evenly. If the tomatoes are slightly blushing or soft, larger pieces will also cook up well.
In a small bowl, mix together spices, salt and sugar. Feel free to use whatever spices you normally use for apple pie. You can also use other types of sweetener, but keep in mind the sugars caramelize in the oven and give the apples that sticky sweet texture found in real apple pie.
In a medium bowl, mix together diced green tomatoes and apple cider vinegar. Allow to stand for 10-15 minutes. Add the spice and sugar mixture to the tomatoes and stir until well-distributed.
If tomatoes are more ripe than green, more juice will be produced and more flour will be needed to thicken it – around 4-5 tablespoons. If tomatoes are very green, they will produce very little juice and need less flour – approximately 2 to 3 tablespoons. Stir the flour into the tomato mixture until smooth and slightly viscous, but not thick or gooey.
Pour into pastry and top with second pastry. Make a few slits in top crust to release steam. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 – 45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out tacky. Cool on a wire rack. Serves 8.
For more on harvesting and using green tomatoes, and a recipe for Green-Tomato Faux Figs, check out my article, Gorgeous Green Tomatoes.
© 2013 Jill Henderson
Sharing allowed with proper link back and credits.
The Healing Power of Kitchen Herbs is a no-nonsense guide jam-packed with no-nonsense information on growing, harvesting and using 35 of the world’s safest and most flavorful herbs. In addition to the 35 detailed herbal monographs are entire chapters on growing, harvesting and using kitchen herbs to spice up your favorite dish or create healing herbal remedies. This is one book you will turn to time and time again!
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Jill Henderson is an artist, author, and the editor of Show Me Oz . Her books, The Healing Power of Kitchen Herbs, The Garden Seed Saving Guide and A Journey of Seasons can be found in the Show Me Oz Bookstore. Jill’s work has also appeared in The Permaculture Activist, The Essential Herbal, Acres USA, and Llewellyn’s Herbal Almanac.