Got green tomatoes? Try making cake or chutney

·4 min read
Hallie Cotnam's harvest of green tomatoes was overwhelming this October, so she asked CBC Radio listeners for help. (Hallie Cotnam/CBC - image credit)
Hallie Cotnam's harvest of green tomatoes was overwhelming this October, so she asked CBC Radio listeners for help. (Hallie Cotnam/CBC - image credit)

As autumn paints the nation's capital with vibrant reds, oranges and yellows, there's one stubborn holdout that refuses to change colour — those green tomatoes that are still hanging around.

That's exactly what happened to the last of the tomatoes belonging to CBC Ottawa's Hallie Cotnam as she harvested them from her pandemic garden.

She was left with baskets full of green ones, so she asked Ottawa Morning listeners for ideas on what to do with them.

The responses she got were promising and creative, while some even had a hint of mystery.

Hallie Cotnam/CBC
Hallie Cotnam/CBC

Green tomato cake with crumb topping

Marcella Patenaude submitted this "moist, spice-type cake" recipe, saying it's a great way to use some extra green tomatoes before the frost hits.


  • 4 cups chopped green tomatoes.

  • 1 tablespoon salt.

  • ½ cup butter (or ¼ butter, ¼ coconut oil).

  • 2 cups white sugar (less if using crumb topping).

  • 2 eggs.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour.

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.

  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg.

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda.

  • ¼ teaspoon salt.

  • ½ cup raisins.

  • ½ cup chopped walnuts.

Crumb crust (optional):

  • ½ cup sugar.

  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour.

  • 2 tablespoons butter.

  • ½ cup chopped walnuts.

Prepare crumb topping by combining sugar and flour. Cut in butter until crumbly, then add chopped walnuts. Reserve for later.

Place chopped tomatoes in a bowl and sprinkle with one tablespoon salt. Let stand 10 minutes then place in a colander, rinse with cold water and drain.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and beat until creamy. Stir together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, soda and salt. Add raisins and nuts to dry mixture, then add dry ingredients to creamed mixture. Dough will be very stiff. Mix well.

Add drained tomatoes and mix well. Pour into the prepared pan and sprinkle with crumb topping and nuts. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes in the preheated oven, or until toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean.

Green tomato chutney

Patenaude submitted another tried and true recipe.

Wash about a kilogram of green tomatoes, ½ kg of red apples and three medium sweet red peppers thoroughly.

Trim and quarter the tomatoes, core and quarter the apples and seed and slice the peppers.

Peel and quarter four medium onions.

In small batches, chop vegetables and fruit using the coarse blade of a food processor in small batches. As each batch of the mixture is processed into medium-size chunks, place them in a large Dutch oven or roasting pan.

Add 1½ tsp pepper, 1½ tsp ground cinnamon, ¾ tsp ground cloves, 2½ cups granulated sugar and 2 cups cider vinegar to the pot and stir with a wooden spoon to blend thoroughly. Bring the mixture to a slow boil over medium heat then simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. Remove from heat.

Immediately pour the hot relish into six sterilized pint jars. Fill up to ½ inch from the top, seal at once and cool before storing.

Green tomato butter

Margo Royce says her aunt's green tomatoe butter recipe is incomplete, so it's "always a mystery what will turn out!"

Place five cups of chopped green tomatoes in a blender with just a little water.

Now here comes the mystery: Add (maybe) five cups of sugar in a pot with the juice of one lemon and boil for 15 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat source and add one large or two small raspberry Jello packets. Stir until dissolved.

If your butter doesn't turn out that great, she says there's always fried green tomatoes with egg and cornmeal served with a dollop of sour cream and crumbled bacon. Yum.

Hallie Cotnam/CBC
Hallie Cotnam/CBC

Preserved green tomatoes

Veronika Kedei suggests preserving the fruit for winter — just like her parents did in Hungary with this recipe.

"Easy," she says, adding it doesn't take long. "Just invite your kids and do it together on the coming weekend!"

Boil water, add vinegar, salt, mustard seeds, cloves, bay leaves, garlic and a bit of sugar. Wash and rinse the tomatoes.

Prepare jars — freshly wash them, plus steam a bit just to kill bacteria.

Place the green tomatoes in the jars. Add the boiled, hot liquid mixture to the jars but be careful not to shatter the glass!

Close the jars and place them between blankets. Let them cool for two day, then store them in a cellar or similarly cool room.

Kedei says those jars will be there whenever you need something sour to add to your salad or main dish. Happy preserving!

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