November 2013: The Canadian Harvest in Ontario

I took the dog out for a walk yesterday as I do every day. We are fortunate that we live in an area of the city where we are only 5 minutes away from great paths through the forests which are perfect for her. I have been able to watch the changing of the seasons on my daily walks. In the spring you get to watch with excitement as the young buds begin to poke their way up through the dead leaves and everything begins to peel back the brown and become vibrant green once again.

In the summer each week seemed to produce a different flower in bloom and countless types of birds tweeting, chirping and fluttering through the trees.

And now fall has arrived and the leaves are changing colour and falling back down to the earth to start the cycle all over again.

I put my vegetable garden to bed last weekend. It was a great year for my garden. The cucumbers and green beans went absolutely wild and I could barely preserve fast enough before it was time to go outside and pick some more. Lettuce, arugula, sorrel and rocket grew like weeds and in such quantities that the few rabbits in our backyard could do little to spoil our harvest, although they certainly tried. I made pesto from the basil, hung lavender and sage to dry in the kitchen, pickled the cucumbers and crunched on the carrots. I never wanted it to end.

Our 12 tomato plants grew heavy with the weight of tomatoes in late September but sadly their season started too late so we ended up with a lot of tomatoes that stayed green right up until the first frost. In previous years, I have always picked the green tomatoes and simply added them to the compost. But last year this changed. I couldn't bring myself to compost all of these beautiful tomatoes and so my experimenting in the kitchen began.


I dug out my husband's grandmother's recipe for pickled green tomatoes and made a batch. I adapted that recipe and made another batch. But then I stumbled on green tomato gold - a recipe for green tomato salsa. After reviewing the recipe I decided right off the start to make a few changes. First off, if this was going to keep me warm through the winter months it needed to be spicier. So I got to work and I think if you get to work with this recipe you will not be disappointed.

Green Tomato Salsa (adapted from

5 lbs green tomatoes, chopped small
4 cups chopped yellow onions
1 cup jalapenos, chopped with seeds
3 large red bell peppers, chopped small
8 large garlic cloves, minced or chopped small
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 cup lime juice
1/2 cup vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano leaves
2 teaspoons pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 -2 teaspoon sugar
Combine all ingredients in a large pot, stirring to mix well. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to simmer, and cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally until you reach desired consistency.

Bring salsa to a rolling boil.

Ladle salsa into hot sterile jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe lids and jar edges clean before finger tightening lids and placing them back in the hot water bath. Process (boil) jars for 15 minutes.