We’ve had a crazy fall season here in Colorado. Most days have been in the ‘60s and ‘70s until late last week when we had our first overnight freeze warnings. That meant we had to harvest what’s left of our tomato crop – our green tomato crop, that is.
Canning green tomatoes
Due to my food sensitivities to honey, I used agave nectar to sweeten the Green Tomato Ketchup. Feel free to use honey if you like.
I was very happy at how well my first batch turned out. The Green Tomato Ketchup is very sweet and mild, almost like an apple sauce rather than a red tomato ketchup. I’ve tried it everything from eggs to fish sticks to sweet potato fries. Terrific!
For food safety, it is very important that you add bottled lemon juice to your Green Tomato Ketchup to give it enough acidity to avoid any issues with Clostridium botulinum bacteria, which is a deadly neurotoxin. You can read about it on this PDF from the University of Wisconsin.
They recommend 2 tablespoons of bottled lemon juice per quart. Since this recipe for Green Tomato Ketchup makes 2 quarts, I added 4 tablespoons.
Canning tips and guides
- Ball Canning and Preserving
- Ball Complete Book of Canning and Preserving
- Canning and Preserving for Beginners: The Essential Canning Recipes and Canning Supplies Guide
- National Center for Home Food Preservation (US Department of Agriculture)
- 6 pounds green tomatoes
- 3 pounds onions
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon ground dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons mixed pickling spices
- 2 cups cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice (do not used fresh juice as it's not acidic enough)
- 3/4 to 1 cup agave nectar (I used raw agave. Any type is fine.)
- Slice green tomatoes and onions. Place in a large pot with pepper, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce.
- Put the mixed pickling spices in a small cheesecloth bag and add to the tomato mixture.
- Pour cider over mixture.
- Cook for four to six hours over very low heat, stirring occasionally.
- Remove bag of pickling spices.
- Puree mixture with a wand blender or in a food processor or blender.
- Strain tomato mixture through a mesh strainer.
- Return to pot and bring to boil.
- Add lemon juice and 3/4 cup of agave and stir until dissolved. Using a clean spoon, take a taste. If you feel the ketchup is sweet enough, stop. If not, add another 1/4 cup of agave nectar. Remember to use a clean spoon every time you taste test.
- Immediately fill six sterilized jelly jars with green tomato ketchup, leaving 1/4-inch head space.
- Wipe the jar tops and threads clean with a clean paper towel. Place hot sealing lids on the jars and apply the screw on rings loosely.
- Process in boiling water bath in a deep canning pot for 5 minutes, adjusting for altitude.
- Remove the jars and cool completely. Tighten the jar screw rings to complete the sealing process.
- After the jars of green tomato ketchup cool, check seals by pressing middle of lid with finger. If lid springs back, your green tomato ketchup didn’t seal and must be refrigerated.
- Let jars of green tomato ketchup stand at room temperature 24 hours. Don’t forget to apply a dated label!
- Store unopened product in a cool dry place up to one year. Refrigerate green tomato ketchup after opening.
- Serving size: 1 tablespoon