“Más vale tarde que nunca” and Green Tomato Mincemeat

I grew up in an increasingly bilingual area of Southern California. I had 6 years of Spanish classes in public school.  I was profoundly unilingual.  My friends would speak to me in Spanish, and I could follow most of what was spoken.  I did well on tests, so my grades weren’t a problem. To translate my own words into Spanish while conversing was pure Hell.  My teacher, in the Brea-Olinda Unified School District, finally gave up on my language barrier and decided to focus on my relaxed attitude towards attendance.  She decided that if I could learn just that one phrase and use it upon entering the classroom she would forgive my tardiness, no matter how much of the class I had missed.  I learned it immediatly, and never forgot those magic words.

Más vale tarde que nunca.  It was 2 weeks ago today when I last wrote anything. I was exhausted.  I promised to write about our memorable weekend journey within a day or so.  I didn’t appreciate how exhausting the next 2 weeks would be.  I started a new job.  Since the “new” job is at the hospital I worked at from 1992-2003, it feels like coming home.  Long days, and still a shift or two to fill at the “old” job.  Besides work I am still coping with the lingering effects of whooping cough.  Then, out of nowhere my  computer flashes the “blue screen of death”.  Hour after hour spent on the phone with people who promised to rescucitate the poor thing.  People from America, India and Sri Lanka.  None of whom could bring it back to life.  I knew this would be the case, deep down inside.  It seemed so wasteful to just go out and buy a new one.  So not in the budget as well.  Now, I’m just glad to be back online.

Más vale tarde que nunca.  I will write about that weekend…later.  First, I want to write about time off.  Today, I have the third of 5 days off…..in a row.  This is my reward for working all manner of hours during the first 4 days of the week.  Day one was a blur.  I had sooo many things to do.  I was in the middle of at least 4 tasks, and running in circles, when I noticed the green tomatoes.  My poor, bedraggled garden, had been neglected for weeks.  In the meantime it grew a nice crop of green tomatoes.  It dawned on me that we would soon have a freeze.  Sometimes, nature dictates change.  This day, nature would change my priorities and my schedule.  All else must be put on a back burner, I was harvesting my green tomatoes.  I don’t care to wait for them to ripen, they are never as good as ripe off the vine.  I can’t eat that many fried green tomatoes either.  A good crop of green tomatoes equals: green tomato mincemeat.

Not everyone likes mincemeat  My own family won’t eat it with raisins ( I don’t know what’s wrong with them, either.  If I hadn’t been there at the welcome, I’d wonder myself whose kids they were).

I do apologize for the lack of “production” photos, and specific measurements.  I wasn’t thinking about writing this down when I started.  Just in a green tomato frenzy, I suppose.  This mincemeat starts with chopped green tomatoes (about 9 cups), and maybe 4- 5 cups of chopped peeled apples.  I put both in a heavy dutch oven.  Then added 1 peeled, chopped orange and 1 large chopped lemon (peels and all).  It might have been easier to remove the seeds from lemon before than to try picking them out after- there’s your warning.  Now add 1/4 cup white vinegar, 1/4 cup suet or oil (I used vegetable oil), 1 pound light brown sugar, 1 heaping teason each of cinnamon, ground allspice and ground cloves.  Since my family won’t eat the raisins, I snuck in 2 cups of dried cranberries and 1 cup dried cherries.  Heat the mixture at a simmer for about 45 minutes.  It will still have a lot of texture, but I prefer that over the mushiness of some canned mincemeats.   This is the one photo I managed to take once I remembered that I like to do that sort of thing.

After you’ve cooked it down a bit, transfer into pint jars and process by boiling water bath for 10 minutes.  This yeilded 7 pints plus a little left over for nibbling.

And nibbling…and nibbling…