Unripe tomatoes are a common ingredient in household recipes. Beloved for their firm and dry texture, they are easy to use and often stand in place of tomatillos. Beyond making fried green tomatoes, canning green tomatoes is another excellent way to incorporate these yummy veggies into a delicious side dish or salsa that stores for up to two years.
So how to can green tomatoes, and what are some of the best ways to do it? Luckily, you don’t have to look far to find some of the best green tomato canning recipes out there. Nor do you have to settle for only one option.
The fantastic thing about canning green tomatoes is that they are highly versatile. Unlike other fruits and veggies, where you have maybe one or two ways to can and store them, your green tomatoes can turn into salsa, relish, and even pickles before canning them. We show you how to do them all in these quick, simple canning articles.
How to Can Green Tomatoes with Ease
No matter what way you decide to preserve tomatoes, always start with the best tomatoes. Choose ones that are firm, but not completely solid, as may be the case with vegetables that are still too young.
Select ones that are free from pits and bruising, as well. This ensures that you get the best-tasting home canned tomato juice, the freshest tomato sauce, and the most flavorful tomatoes whether you open the jar tomorrow or a year from now.
Canning Green Tomatoes without Blanching
Blanching is a common practice for many fruits and veggies, though it is not necessary for tomatoes in general. In the case of green tomatoes, especially, most canning experts pack them raw or cook them when they incorporate them into their recipes for salsa, relishes, or green tomato pickles.
To blanch the tomatoes, cook them in boiling water for approximately 30-60 seconds. Dunk them in ice-cold water immediately afterward for the same amount of time, then place them on a paper towel to dry.
Whether you are canning or freezing tomatoes without blanching, cut them up into smaller pieces first. For canning, anything over one-inch wide is too big.
Green Tomato Canning Recipes
Most green tomatoes are pickled before canning, which allows for proper preservation. This practice is typically due to a worry of increased solanine levels in these vegetables during the canning process. Solanine is a natural, toxic chemical found in members of the nightshade family.
The darker green your tomato is, the more likely it contains high amounts of solanine. As a result, experts, like those who wrote the Ball Blue Book, use pale green tomatoes when canning or those with some red spots showing to reduce the risk.
The USDA approves the following procedure for canning green tomatoes on their own, either in a water bath canner or pressure canner. This process uses acidification to preserve the green tomatoes before storing them properly.
For storing fresh tomatoes, start by boiling water and slicing up the vegetables. Add the tomatoes to a pint jar, with one-half teaspoon of canning salt and one tablespoon of lemon juice for each container. Double these amounts for quart jars if you plan on using those instead.
Next, fill your jars with hot water, leaving approximately one-inch headspace from the top. Remove air bubbles from the container before sealing. Let the jars cool completely before putting them in the pantry.
Green Tomato Relish Recipe
One fantastic way to can these delicious veggies is by adding them to relish. This method takes about an hour and 15 minutes to prepare and another 45 minutes to cook. However, this relish can be stored for up to a year before using it.
Start by grinding up the tomatoes in either a grinder or food processor, along with the bell peppers and onions. Drain them in a large colander for approximately one hour then transfer them to a large pot with the remaining ingredients.
Bring this relish mixture to a boil and allow it to simmer for another five minutes. After that, you’ll be ready to pack your relish into jars for storage.
Pickling Green Tomatoes before Canning
For another alternative to preserving green tomatoes, pickling them is a great way to bring out their tangy taste and crunchy texture. If you love dill pickles spiced with garlic, then this is the perfect storage technique for you.
This recipe also works exceptionally well with green cherry tomatoes, though all sizes are appropriate. Try it as an alternative when canning squash, too. You can pickle almost any vegetables.
Start by cutting up the tomatoes into one-half inch to one-inch wedges. Make the brine by combining the vinegar, salt, and water in a large saucepan, then bring to a boil. Remove the brine from the stovetop, and add the spices to clean, hot jars.
Pack the tomatoes and pour in the vinegar mixture until only a one-half inch of headspace is left. After that, your veggies are ready for canning.
Experiment with adding some other veggies to your canned tomatoes. Make a variation of canned carrot recipes or those for your favorite vegetables and mix and match them to create your own unique flavor.
How to Make Green Tomato Salsa
If pickling and relish aren’t your preferred styles, then try this mouthwatering recipe for salsa. Similar to ones that use tomatillos, green tomatoes make excellent additions to salsa because of their flavor and texture. Cut the veggies down to whatever size you prefer and add in extra spices for a personalized salsa mix.
Start by combining everything in a large saucepan, then mix all the ingredients until thoroughly blended. Bring your salsa to a boil, then let it simmer for about 30 to 40 minutes.
Ladle the salsa into the canning jars, allowing for about one half inch of headspace from the top of the jar. Process the jars for approximately 15 minutes, then let cool before storing.
How to Can Green Tomatoes
When it comes to home canning your green tomatoes, water bath canning is the most widely used. The processing time for home canning tomatoes varies depending on the type of green tomatoes you are canning.
Pay attention to specific instructions for each canning recipe you use. If you are using the hot-pack method, which involves canning tomatoes that have already been cooked, then placing them in the boiling water bath for approximately five minutes is all you generally need.
When using the cold-pack method, however, this processing time may increase up to 45 minutes in the water bath. The relish recipe above takes about 30 minutes to process, while the pickling recipe takes only about 15 minutes.
Now, you not only know how to can green tomatoes, but you are also equipped with some of the best green tomato recipes to prepare them. No matter how you like to use these unripened veggies, trying many different green tomato canning recipes gives you plenty of variety to work with and tickles your taste buds for years to come.
If you enjoyed learning varying ways to preserve your green tomatoes, then don’t forget to share your favorite recipe for canning green tomatoes with everyone you know on Facebook and Pinterest.