Friday, August 28, 2009

When Life Gives You Lemons...

You make lemonade, right? Well, when the Lord gave me pounds and pounds of green tomatoes, I've been learning to make use of them. A combination of toddlers picking what they thought were "apples," the voracious squirrels who love green tomatoes and who I'm trying to outdo, and late tomato blight (which officially, now, has decimated my entire crop of 20 plants...)--all of these factors have provided an abundance of green tomatoes.

Instead of wasting these, I figured there had to be something I could do with them (besides frying; who wants to eat 10 pounds of fried green tomatoes?!). I remembered seeing a version for green tomato ketchup in one cookbook and that started my hunt. To date, I've made green tomato bread (a real winner), green tomato cake (also good, but not any better than carrot cake), green tomato ketchup (YUM--might be growing more tomatoes next year just for this), and green tomato relish (a slightly spicy, cilantro flavored one--also worth growing tomatoes for next year). I've got enough to make one more round of the ketchup or relish. There are 7 cups of puree in the freezer awaiting more bread making.

I'm starting to appreciate more and more how easy it is for us to eat in this country. Were we pioneers, we would have to find uses for produce like this...or starve. Amazingly, in God's creation order, He's built in a cushion. Certainly there are times of famine--both biblically and in modern day periods; but, in those apparently lean and "more creative" years, His people can still eat and be satisfied. Over and over again in Scripture, there are accounts of God providing food. Over and over again in our own lives, we witness His provision. I've learned that green tomatoes not only have the same aount of lycopene as ripe, red ones, but they also have twice the vitamin C, more vitamin K, and more calcium! (Incidentally, red ones have more vitamin A, more vitamin E, and more potassium.) So, even though I'm eating a not-quite-ripe crop, I'm still getting nutritious food! I'm fascinated by the way God has designed his creation to nourish us even when we don't expect it.

The next time you head to the grocery store and pick up a jar of (red) salsa or grab a bag of lettuce or examine the bananas, remember that all of that food still comes from the hand of the Lord. We may not fight the battle to eat on a daily basis like rural folks who are subsistence farming, but we are still dependent on the Lord's care. So, thank him for your meal tonight! (You might also thank him that you don't HAVE to be subsistence farming to eat tonight.)

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