Salute to autumn and green tomatoes

As the harvest season winds down, this seems like the perfect time to pass along a great use for green tomatoes. We'll all have a hearty bounty of them thanks to the cooling trend of the past few weeks.

So consider my Zesty Green Tomato and Apple Chutney and classic Chow-Chow. Both are fitting ends for those lingering backyard tomatoes that won't ripen before the first frost hits.

Also, for those of you who couldn't get enough of my Damn Good Dills, I'm offering a Damn Good Dill Relish to play around with. Combining the brine from my favorite refrigerator pickle with my favorite end-of-season vegetables, it suits large pickling cukes (you can use small ones if you've got 'em, but most of us don't).

More tangy than a traditional sweet relish, it boasts quite a garlic kick. I think you'll like it. But if it's just too darn zesty for you, feel free to create a slightly sweeter version by adding 1 more cup of brown sugar and giving the relish a few more minutes on the burner to dissolve the sweetener.

And finally, as my official salute to autumn, I'm passing along a recipe online for pumpkin butter. (See the recipe with this story at Just like apple butter discussed in last week's column, there's no butter involved — just copious amounts of sugar and a whole lot of cooking time on the burner, resulting in a richly flavored, sweet, thick and pumpkiny preserve.

For food-safety reasons, DO NOT reduce the amount of sugar or syrup unless you plan to store the results in the refrigerator. This recipe makes a lot of preserves, wonderful for passing along to friends during the holiday season, when its traditional spicing and hint of maple sweetness will enhance old-fashioned meals.

We're not through enjoying the harvest just yet, of course. But in this more leisurely state of being, there's time to reflect on the high points of summer's bounty and to appreciate your sparkling pantry and freezer filled with all sorts of wonderful creations.

So at a time when my own pantry is a delightful clutter of garden-grown treats, the next few months will be spent in a state of delectable enjoyment — and anticipation. After all, the fresh and true taste of an Oregon strawberry isn't as distant as you may think.

Jan Roberts-Dominguez is a Corvallis food writer, artist and author of "Oregon Hazelnut Country, the Food, the Drink, the Spirit" and four other cookbooks. Contact her by email at or obtain additional recipes and food tips on her blog at

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