Green tomatoes and pizza sauce

I’ve picked every tomato in the patch in preparation for our first killing frost this weekend. Most will ripen up fine, but there will be lots of little green ones that are too immature to ever ripen. I’d like to make some mock apple pie filling with them and either can or freeze it. Any ideas?

Also, I put 20 gallon-size bags of whole tomatoes in the freezer for my mom and she says she won’t need them after all. I already have plenty for tomato juice so this would be a good time to make pizza sauce. Frozen tomatoes are easy to peel when they defrost a little. From that point on, what would you suggest I do and what seasonings should I add to make a nice pizza sauce? I plan on pressure-canning it.

Carol Elkins
Pueblo, Colorado

For the mock apple pie filling, here’s what I’d do:

I’d slice your hard smaller green tomatoes, as you would apples. Here’s a recipe if you end up with 7 quarts of them (adjust, as needed).

7 quarts sliced hard, smaller green tomatoes
2½ cups white sugar
2½ cups brown sugar
½ cup vinegar
½ cup lemon juice
2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 cup Clear Jel (optional, but add it if you don’t want to cook down your tomatoes)

If you use Clear Jel, add sugars, vinegar, and lemon juice as well as Clear Jel in a large pot along with spices. Heat and stir until mixture thickens. Add tomatoes and heat. Quickly fill jars with hot filling, leaving ½ inch of headspace. If you don’t use Clear Jel, cook all ingredients until mixture is slightly thickened (about 30 minutes) stirring to prevent scorching. Then fill jars, as above. Process quarts in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes. If you live at an altitude above 1,000 feet consult your canning book for directions on increasing your processing time to suit your altitude, if necessary.

What I would do with your peeled tomatoes is to thaw nearly completely, then run through a food mill or tomato mill (such as a Victorio). Then either put in a roasting pan in the oven at low temperature, in a slow cooker, or on a stove top, in a large kettle and cook down until thickened. Then add, depending on the amount of sauce you end up with, brown sugar, oregano, basil, onion flakes, garlic, salt to taste. Add a bit, taste, and adjust your seasonings to taste. To pressure can your sauce, process pint or half pint jars for 20 minutes at 10 pounds pressure. If you live at an altitude above 1,000 feet, consult your canning book for directions on increasing your pressure to suit your altitude. — Jackie

Unusual jellies

I just ordered some more of your books from BHM website tonight. Love your sharing your knowledge. I’m looking for jam/jelly etc. recipes for unusual things like Aronia, Sea Berry, etc. Have any? One of your books I ordered tonight is: Growing and Canning Your Own Food. Will that help me?

Francis Rosinski
Grapeview, Washington

I have not made jelly/jam out of aronia or Sea berry yet. But there are recipes for wild plum, chokecherry, and others. Basically, you can usually just use a like recipe for untried fruits (if it’s a tart fruit, use a tart fruit recipe; if it’s astringent, use chokecherry, etc.). Make a small batch, then adjust it as needed. — Jackie

Pie pumpkins

I planted pie pumpkins this year and for the first time ever I have about 15 pumpkins. Some are orange already from the field. But we had a hard frost and I picked the green ones. Will they ripen yet in our garage or house? Or should I use them green? Will they turn orange or just ripen inside with no color change?

Cindy Hills
Wild Rose, Wisconsin

If your pumpkins are quite mature, although green, they may go ahead and orange up. Some varieties do; others don’t. Give them a few weeks in storage and you’ll be able to tell. If any start to “pucker,” go ahead and use them green (like summer squash). If they hold, keep a close eye on them and see if they don’t begin to color up. — Jackie


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