This remarkable tomato butter (marmalade) will be a recipe you repeat year after year. It’s made with your green beefsteak tomatoes, fresh on the vine, not yet fully ripened or, alternately, left on the vine at the end of the season. Gift package it and my green tomato butter is the perfect gift for a friend who doesn’t cook.

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If you don’t have a garden, buy a large beefsteak tomato plant and grow it in a large container on your patio or on your balcony. All you need is a few hours of sun and a little water. The plant will nearly take care of itself and might surprise you with an abundance of produce.

Spread the green tomato butter like you would spread mayo on a roast beef sandwich or add it to a crushed beef rolled sun-dried tortilla. See my tortilla fillings here.

Add a dollop of green tomato butter to a grilled crostini or use as a tapas topper with your favourite goat cheese.

Make a green tomato bruschetta, served on a grilled slice of French stick or Italian bread and just before serving add a little green tomato butter, dotted on the fresh chopped green tomatoes. Sprinkle grated rock-hard leftover parmesan cheese over top and pop under the broiler for just seconds.

Add a dollop of green tomato butter, floating on a dab of sour cream, just at serving plate time, to my freshly made green tomato soup recipe. The secret is the cloves.

Your freezer has as many frozen tomatoes in it as it will hold and you’ve eaten so many fresh ones in salads and soups that you think you’ll turn into a tomato if you eat another one. But winter creeps up faster than you realize and we’ll have to resort to buying imported or tinned tomatoes.

Use up the last of your garden crop by turning it into green tomato butter and tomato chutney. While one is sweet, the other is tart. Or freeze the base for green tomato cream soup. You require no special tools, just a very large pot.

It’s easy to half the recipe.

Note that green tomatoes are just red tomatoes that haven’t ripened yet.

Green tomato butter

  • 10 lbs. nearly ripe green tomatoes
  • 2 cups white balsamic vinegar
  • 6 cups of white sugar
  • 1 T salt
  • 1 T ground cloves – (I prefer McCormick brand)
  • 1 t cayenne pepper
  • 1 T ground cinnamon

Remove any stock handles and leaves. Rinse tomatoes well to remove any sandy soil. Put tomatoes and white vinegar into an uncovered large pot, bring to a soft boil, and cook down on simmer, stirring occasionally, until half the liquid evaporates. This could take up to three hours. Be patient. The fragrance will fill the house with a delightful scent that is familiar to canning season.

Add the sugar and the spices and simmer another half hour. Stir occasionally to make sure the sugary mix doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Concentrate. The ingredients will form a jam- like consistency.

Pack, hot, in uncovered hot sterilized jars. Allow to cool completely and cover. I use paraffin wax to seal after the butter has cooled completely under a clean white cotton bleachable tea towel. Store glass bottles of green tomato butter in a cool, dark place. This recipe makes enough to fill nine or 10 small jars.

If you have not made green tomato butter before, you definitely will want to try this recipe. It’s so simple to make and I cannot think of a better way to describe it than to just say it is plain old-fashioned “delicious.” My green tomato butter is superb as a fondue accompaniment to roast beef. It is also good with cold sliced beef, veal, seafood and poultry.

Served as a side dish on grilled crostini with my steak tartare, this green tomato butter adds a little extra special gourmet touch.

Figgy butter – and uses

A good way to use up figs that have been marinating a long time in your brandy bottle in the fridge (they get a little mushy if marinating a long time):

Mash a few figs marinated in cognac. Sprinkle with just a few grains of salt. Spritz with white balsamic vinegar. (The best white balsamic I found several years ago was at Fortinos. Their own house brand. Sometimes not so easily found; stock up on it when there’s plenty. If you go back to get more, it likely will be all gone.)

At this stage, if you add grape seed oil, you have a great salad dressing; just add a few grinds of peppercorns. Toss fresh sliced peaches over baby spinach leaves or mesclun (peaches love pepper) and/or strawberries. Using a potato peeler, top with a little fresh Parmesan cheese.

Stir mashed marinated figs into a pound of softened butter. Whip the butter just a little with a hand-held mixer. Squeeze a little fresh lemon juice and add just a pinch of fine lemon zest. Stir in a teaspoon of unadulterated brandy from the liquor bottle.

This “figgy butter” is great spread on thick moist slices of fresh pound cake. Or even use the figgy butter as the butter in a recipe for a walnut loaf.

For using the figgy butter in between cake layers, add a little icing sugar just like you would for making butter icing.

This mixture is great spread between layers of genoise, alternated with stiff Chantilly cream and pastry cream (different than pudding because it has cooked flour in it as a stabilizer; it’s what is used in éclairs and cream puffs).

Using a long, serrated bread knife, split a genoise into three equal layers. Stick large toothpicks around the cake as cutting guidelines. A string of unwaxed dental floss comes in handy.

Spritz the base bottom layer with cognac or drizzle with a little fig cognac marinating jus. Between the bottom two layers, spread the figgy butter icing quite thick. Between the middle and top layer, spread the pastry cream. On the top layer, spread the thick Chantilly cream.

Position three split-in-half small fresh figs like a teepee, in the centre of the top layer cream, to decorate, so people know what to expect.

Serve cold in generous wedges in a puddle of crème anglaise. Going overboard? Serve a split fresh fig on the serving plate. Float a large fresh mint leaf.

Genoise is a dream come true to work with. Makes a great jelly roll or log, too. White or chocolate. Or cafe au lait.

If you want a spectacular way to use the marinated cognac figgy butter, mix it with mashed blue cheese and place a teaspoon on each hot seared ready-to-eat lamb chop, or on a medium rare filet mignon.

First deglaze your sauté pan with the same cognac brandy and drizzle drippings over each serving.

A dollop of figgy butter is great on small pork loin medallions, also. Even on skinless chicken breasts, just at serving time. After you have deglazed the sauté pan (keep the stuck-on bits), in the same pan, scald a cup of cream. Let rise and fall three times to thicken and reduce.

Make a cream puddle on each oversize presentation serving plate and position the meat or poultry off centre.

Drizzled over french-cut green beans that are just parboiled to retain their green colour, this figgy butter is a great surprise.

To complete any of the serving plates, a wonderful heaping serving of my orgasmic mashed whipped potatoes. (I didn’t name that recipe, but I surely did make it…)

Want to really impress your guests? Drop a few dollops of cold figgy butter on top of fresh cooked lobster claw and tail meat, filling up a fresh homemade lobster roll, on a base of crispy shredded iceberg lettuce.

Just another reminder: do not overcook the lobster; it will continue to cook in its own heat. Make certain the lobster is just barely cooked. Four to five minutes should do.

If you are a lobster lover, there’s nothing quite like it. I had never heard of doing such a thing, but one day just decided to try it. How do you spell WOW!

If you don’t drink cognac, as I don’t, but love the delightful aroma (so I cook with it), a nice flute of really good champagne goes nicely with the lobster roll. As does a wonderful bubbly pink champagne colour Royal de Neuville crackling rosé, if available.

Sadly, this product has been delisted in our area for a number of years, but I understand it is still available in Quebec, at least in restaurants. But it is illegal to buy it there and carry it across provincial boundaries. Who knew?  When I was teaching we bought it by the case through the importer; we gave a lot of it away. The Royal de Neuville pink crackling rosé served in champagne flutes makes a beautiful table service and marries well with all courses.

Enjoy true gourmet treats. Share my originals with your friends and family by gifting them my hard bound or soft bound cookbook… coming soon!

© From Lady Ralston’s Kitchen: A Canadian Contessa Cooks ~ Turning everyday meal making into a Gourmet Experience

The working title for Carolyne’s Gourmet Recipes cookbook is From Lady Ralston’s Kitchen: A Canadian Contessa Cooks. This kitchen-friendly doyenne has been honoured and referred to as the grande dame of executive real estate in her market area during her 35-year career. She taught gourmet cooking in the mid-70s and wrote a weekly newspaper cooking column, long before gourmet was popular as it is today. Her ebook, Gourmet Cooking - at Home with Carolyne is available here for $5.99 US. Email Carolyne. Scroll down to the comments at each recipe column. Carolyne often adds complimentary "From Lady Ralston's Kitchen" additional recipes in the Recipes for Realtors Comments section at REM.


  1. Perhaps serve alongside Fried Green Tomatoes and Plantain Crackers, making a brunch using green garden-fresh tomatoes… a Covid relief treat…

    “Green Tomato Caprese”
    Slice ripe firm but juicy homegrown beefsteak green tomatoes if you are fortunate to have in your garden. Otherwise bring home from the green grocer.

    Rinse the fruit and cut using a serrated knife into half inch thick slices. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and fresh ground fragrant black pepper.

    Prepare a green tomato caprese. Arrange mozzarella or burrata cheese slices or split Bocconcini between the green tomato slices. Add a sprig of large fresh basil leaves from your garden pot.

    Alternate cheese: Use thick pucks of my always ready to eat marinated creamy Celebrity Goat Cheese, instead.


    “Marinated goat cheese coins amuse bouche”
    Due to having marinated the goat cheese, it has nutmeg and bay leaf, sweet paprika, dried parsley, basil and thyme, fresh ground pepper, a little garlic salt and an unopened skin removed raw garlic clove. And of course, oil. I mostly use Mazola Corn Oil but have made the marinated goat cheese coins using olive oil.

    The ones made using corn oil can be refrigerated but I mostly leave the jar on the counter. The coins don’t last long in my kitchen as a treat. If you make the goat cheese coins using olive oil, the olive oil solidifies when refrigerated; just leave on the counter before enjoying and gently shake the jar.

    Pop a goat cheese coin on a grated parmesan cheese or romano tuile (or even on a Deep-fried Plantain cracker) with a homemade roasted candied walnut or hazelnut and it’s a great amuse bouche. But it must be eaten immediately.

    For entertaining, provide crackers in separate dishes with a cheese pick for each coin and let guests make their own bites.


    I keep a small jar of gentle heat chopped jalapeño in Mazola Corn Oil in the refrigerator. A tiny drop added to many things is delightful for that je ne sais quoi. Add a drop to the Plantain Crackers. (Secret: You can even add a drop to my so special Guacamole; you can even add a brunoise of green tomato for a unique texture.)

    Spritz the sliced fresh green tomatoes with Bacardi LIME, scatter the plate with pink peppercorns and slightly crushed homemade candied hazelnuts from your pantry jar.

    You might enjoy a tiny dipping dish of my watercress hazelnut pesto on the side.

    A tiny puddle of my Grapefruit Beurre Blanc on a black serving plate makes a fresh friendly presentation. Scatter candied citrus rinds from your pantry sugar jar just when ready to serve.

    Scroll to my “Beurre Blanc” recipe…

    Using oversize plates the size of a charger makes a delightful presentation leaving a vacant rim area around the edge.


    “Green Tomato Drunk Salad”

    There’s Drunk Chicken and now this tasty spirited salad.

    Chop garden fresh ripe firm washed green tomatoes in bite-size chunks. Squeeze the juice of one fresh lime and drizzle over the green tomato pieces. Spritz the tomatoes with Bacardi Fiero. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and fresh ground black peppercorns.

    Peel two kiwis and chop into bite-size pieces. Spritz with fresh squeezed lemon juice and Bacardi LIME.

    Add fresh garden grown chopped unpeeled washed cucumbers that you have split down the centre length, seeded and spritzed with Hendricks Gin.

    Mince a plump shallot and marinate in white wine vinegar for just five minutes. Reserve the marinade and whisk with very best fresh extra virgin olive oil, 1:3. Stir in a small dab of your mild golden oven-roasted refrigerated garlic purée and a dab of dijon. Pour over the salad.

    Scatter each salad plate with a chiffonade of fresh basil.

    Drizzle each salad plate with my Grapefruit Beurre Blanc and serve immediately.

    You might like a dollop of my cucumber Tzatkiki as a side sauce dish.


    “Deep-fried Plantain Crackers”

    Here’s how to make delicious deep-fried “plantain crackers:” Mash 1″ thick deep-fried pieces of peeled plantain until they are very thin, then dip the mashed cooked plantain in egg wash and dredge in fresh coarse breadcrumbs sprinkled with kosher salt and cayenne, and deep-fry again just to brown the crumbs.

    For.a “Coconut Plantain Cracker” dip deep-fried plantain in egg wash to which you have added a teaspoon of coconut cream, add shredded roasted coconut to the breadcrumbs, equal amounts. And proceed with recipe.

    These crackers, either way are delicious. Perhaps serve with my special Tzatkiki cucumber dip or with a dab of my Tomato Butter.

    A small piece of lobster claw meat or fresh crab is delightful served on each cracker.

    The crackers are a perfect addition to any charcuterie board, layered overlapping on a long narrow small tray.

    Compliments of manuscript(s):

    © From Lady Ralston’s Kitchen: It’s Just a Salad ~ but it’s no Ordinary Salad…


    © Spirits in My Kitchen: Lady Ralston – Canadian Cooking with Bouquets and Aromas – Good Food Made Better Adding Spirits

  2. Home cooks never get bored and during Covid lockdowns everyone still needs to eat. Maybe it’s an opportunity to try something new to treat your tastebuds? Check this out.
    Maybe bottle it in small sterilized glass jars, and drop off at a door for an exceptional treat for a shut in. You could deliver a gift basket for hospital support staff. Add a thin twirled ribbon to the jar and tie on my recipe? They all might want to make when the world gets back to normal. In the meantime they deserve a treat for sure. Or if you are able make a batch for a food bank as a special treat indeed. We all need a treat once in awhile but especially now.

    “White Tomato Butter”

    If you are in an area where white tomatoes are available step out and make this recipe using white tomatoes. They are often a pale shade of yellow.

    Check out the farmer’s market and create a wonderful surprise that even will take you through the winter. Wonderful on crispy grilled crostini perhaps topped with homemade candied nuts from your pantry jar or even on a plain chicken sandwich or on a BLT.

    © Lady Ralston’s Canadian Contessa Kitchen gets Saucy ~ Sauces, Aolies, Dressings, Drizzles, Drops, and Puddles

  3. “My Unusual Baked Sweet Potatoes”

    In preheated 400 F oven, right on the middle rack, bake a dozen large sweet potatoes that you have rubbed the skins with a little Mazola Corn Oil. When fork tender, maybe 45 minutes, remove to counter cooling rack.

    Pull peels off the still warm potatoes. Using the paddle in your food processor, to the potatoes add a cup of your mashed St-Germain marinated Medjool Dates.

    In a saucepan with high sides reduce 2 cups of half and half cream by half, allowing to rise and fall several times to reduce on high heat. Stir into the thickened cream a quarter cup of Canadian second season maple syrup and crumble a couple of dried deep-fried fresh sage leaves from your pantry jar.

    On low speed incorporate the reduced slightly thickened hot cream mix. Add a half dozen herb compound butter coins from your frozen log reserve. The heated cream will melt the butter. Add a teaspoon of kosher salt and fresh ground peppercorns, again using low speed.

    Pack the creamy sweet potato mix into an oven to table baking dish and bake on middle rack at 350 F for about thirty minutes.

    Just when ready to serve arrange, over-lapping around the outer edge of the dish, raw thick slices of unpeeled Bosc Pears. Spritz the pear slices with Bacardi LIME just to enhance their freshness. Poke a few dried sage leaves among the pear slices.

    Crush a few homemade candied hazelnuts from your pantry jar and scatter over the centre of the potato dish.

    If you enjoy a little heat, drizzle just a few drops of my chopped gentle-heat jalapeño peppers Mazola Corn oil from your ready to use jar, just when ready to serve.

    Provide an extra large serving spoon on a saucer for use at the family-style table dish.

    Provide a rectangular tray of overlapped grilled slices of Italian bread, drizzled with my gentle-heat jalapeño oil and smeared with my Green Tomato Butter.

    A side platter of my Fried Green Tomatoes, overlapped, is a nice side serving addition.

    Compliments of:
    © From Lady Ralston’s Kitchen to Canadian Expats: Inspirations and Ideas ~ from back home. Speaking to Canadian Expats home cooks relocated around the world… Our Kitchen Expats


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