To some gardener’s frustration, it always seems at least a few green tomatoes will be left hanging on the vine in the fall. So this is the time of year people are left to make a decision, whether to pick the tomatoes on their privately owned plants while still green or try and dodge the frost and see if they will ripen.
If picked green, another decision must be made. What do you do with them? Do you tuck them away layered in a box with newspaper in hopes they will turn red or do you succumb to the realization that they are green, hope for a better outcome next year and go in search of a gluten free recipe so that you can eat them? A better idea would be to actually look forward to harvesting them!
The diversity of the green tomato is impressive but yet often ignored. Treated as an immature fruit, many people would not think to eat and enjoy them just as they are. If the thought did come to mind however, the first idea may be to fry them. This most likely is due to the popular, 1991, award winning movie named, Fried Green Tomatoes. Regrettably, it would be shameful if this little green beauty was limited to a single recipe.
Similar to a zucchini in its slightly sweet taste and firm texture adds to its versatility. It combines well with late-summer bounty foods and its subtle citrusy flavor lends itself to be a good match with pungent herbs and spices such as ginger, cinnamon, mint, basil and garlic. Once the green tomato is understood then the possibilities for preparation becomes endless. Responding well to many cooking techniques allows for its use in salads, salsas, soups, gratins, sautés, sauces, stir-fries and even desserts.
Know realizing its potential; don’t be surprised if next summer you find yourself anxiously picking a few green tomatoes right off the vine to enjoy in June. The emerald sibling to the red tomato should no longer be considered less desirable but rather appreciated. Hoping to give you an opportunity to cherish this “garden orphan” and helping to promote its richness of capabilities, a gluten free green tomato cake recipe is provided below.
Gluten Free Green Tomato Cake
- 4 cups chopped green tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 cup oil
- 2 cups white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1-1/4 cups brown rice flour
- 1/2 cup potato starch
- 1/4 cup tapioca flour
- 3 TBS sweet rice flour, divided
- 1 teaspoon xanthan
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional
- Place chopped tomatoes in a large bowl and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon salt. Let stand 10 minutes. Place in a colander, rinse with cold water and drain. Next place in a food processor and process until the texture of crushed pineapple (will equal about 2 cups). DO NOT PUREE.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and brown rice flour a 9×13 inch baking pan; set aside.
- In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 TBS sweet rice flour, raisins and nuts if desired; stir to coat and set aside.
- In the bowl of your mixer, combine oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla; beat until creamy.
- Mix together flours including remaining sweet rice flour, xanthan, cinnamon, nutmeg, soda and 1/4 teaspoon salt; add to creamed mixture and mix well.
- Gradually add in processed, drained tomatoes; mix well. Stir in raisins and nuts. Pour into the prepared 9 x 13 inch pan.
- Bake for 50 to 53 minutes in the preheated oven, or until toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean.