Green Tomato Mince Meat Recipe
The history of Green Tomato Mince Meat can be traced back to the early 19th century when it was developed as a way to make use of unripe green tomatoes. Traditionally, mince meat referred to a mixture of chopped fruits, spices, and sometimes meat, that was used as a filling in pies and other desserts. However, during times when fresh fruit was scarce or expensive, people began experimenting with alternative ingredients, such as green tomatoes, to create a similar flavor profile.
Fun fact: Green Tomato Mince Meat gained popularity during periods of war and economic hardship when fresh fruits and ingredients were not readily available. Its affordability and ability to utilize homegrown ingredients made it a practical and delicious alternative to traditional mince meat.
Now, let's dive into the recipe for Green Tomato Mince Meat:
- 1 peck (approximately 10-12 pounds) of green tomatoes, chopped fine
- 3 lemons, seeds removed and finely chopped
- 2 cups of raisins, seeded and chopped
- 5 pounds of granulated sugar
- 1 cup of vinegar
- 1 teaspoonful of cloves
- 1-1/2 tablespoonfuls of nutmeg
- 1 tablespoonful of cinnamon
- Optional: grated orange peel, finely minced citron, cider, brandy, or canned fruit juice for added flavor
1. Begin by preparing the green tomatoes. Remove the stems and any blemishes, then chop them finely. Aim for small, uniform pieces to ensure even cooking and texture in the final mince meat.
2. In a large pot, add the chopped green tomatoes and cook them over low heat for approximately 3-3/4 hours. The extended cooking time helps soften the tomatoes and develop their flavor.
3. After the tomatoes have cooked down, it's time to add the remaining ingredients. Stir in the chopped lemons, seeded raisins, granulated sugar, vinegar, cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon. This combination of spices and fruits will give the mince meat its characteristic flavor.
4. Continue cooking the mixture over low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Cook for an additional 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld and the mixture to thicken slightly.
5. At this stage, you can choose to add additional ingredients to enhance the flavor. Try mixing in some grated orange peel for a citrusy twist, finely minced citron for added texture, or a splash of cider, brandy, or canned fruit juice to add complexity.
6. Once the mince meat has reached the desired consistency, it's time to preserve it for later use. Fill clean, air-tight jars with the hot mixture, leaving a small amount of headspace at the top. This will allow for expansion during storage.
7. Screw on the jar-tops tightly to create a seal and ensure long-lasting preservation. You can use traditional canning methods, such as water bath canning or pressure canning, to achieve the best results.
Green Tomato Mince Meat is a versatile ingredient that can be used in various dishes. It can be used as a filling for pies, tarts, or turnovers, or even as a spread for bread or crackers. Its unique flavor profile adds a tangy and slightly tart element to any recipe.
Similar recipes that make use of underripe green tomatoes include pickles, relishes, and chutneys. These dishes also take advantage of the firm texture and slightly sour taste of green tomatoes to create flavorful condiments that can be enjoyed alongside savory dishes.
In conclusion, Green Tomato Mince Meat is a delicious and cost-effective alternative to traditional mince meat. It has a rich history and is a testament to the resourcefulness of cooks in times of scarcity. So, why not give it a try and add a touch of history to your culinary adventures?