Green tomato ketchup, also known as ketchup vert in French-Canadian Quebec, is an excellent way to use up those beautiful green tomatoes from your garden or the farmer's market. Ketchup vert is a traditional condiment that can be used on anything from a sauce for a perfectly cooked steak to a dip for the American favorite potato snack, French fries. Its versatility in the kitchen is almost as endless as its American counterpart. But perhaps our favorite feature of every homemade green tomato ketchup recipe is that is it the perfect way to not let falling temperatures or cold snaps ruin your tomato harvest. Even chef Julian Armstrong, the author of A Taste of Quebec and this traditional ketchup vert recipe, agrees, writing:
"When and early frost halts the ripening of tomatoes in the Laurentians, cooks make a spicy green tomato ketchup to enjoy with tourtière, cipaille, or cold meats all year long."
Homemade condiments like ketchup are also a great way to avoid the additives, preservatives, and refined sugars and high fructose corn syrup found in most store-bought varieties. If you're anything like me, you'll never go back to store-bought brands after trying this homemade green tomato ketchup.
This recipe is particularly easy to make, as it does not require sterilizing jars and undergoing the canning process. In fact, the ketchup vert is ready to serve and eat in as little as 8 hours (though most people plan for overnight). While some Quebec-style recipes call for fruit like apples, this traditional recipe is a straightforward green tomato ketchup with onions, salt, vinegar, sugar, and pickling spices.
- 24 medium (6 pounds or 2.5 kilograms) green tomatoes, chopped
- 15 medium (3 pounds or 1.5 kilograms) onions, chopped
- 1/2 cup (125 milliliters) coarse salt
- 3 cups (750 milliliters) white vinegar
- 2 cups (500 milliliters) granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons (90 milliliters) mixed pickling spices, tied in cheesecloth
- In a large bowl, alternate of chopped or diced tomatoes and onions, sprinkling each layer with generously with course salt. Cover bowl and let stand for at least 8 hours or overnight.
- After marinating, rinse the tomatoes and onions and drain well.
- Then, combine vegetables with vinegar, sugar, and spice bag.
- In a large saucepan or stock pot, bring mixture to a boil, then simmer, uncovered, for about 30 to 45 minutes, stirring frequently until slightly thickened.
- After cooking, pour into hot, sterilized jars and seal.
Recipe Source: by Julian Armstrong (Hippocrene Books). Reprinted with permission.