While I declare my first-year garden to be an awesome success, I did pull over 25 pounds of still-green tomatoes from the imminent threat of first-frost. They’ve been confidently plump for over a month, unconcerned with the dropping temperatures and diminished daylight. Something must be missing from my soil. But they are still beautiful fruits from my garden, and I don’t want them to go to waste.

I grew them with hopes of canning my own sauce. So I chop a stock-pot full and assess the result. (Cover the bottom with water, top with a lid and heat for about 20 minutes.) The resulting flavor is a crossover between tart and bitter. Sugar can offset this, but I don’t want to counteract the acid. I want to neutralize it.

So I add a few “shakes” of baking soda. This produces a lot of bubbles, but the new flavor is soft and natural. If I close my eyes, it is a simple tomato sauce.

But if I didn’t close my eyes, the color would lend to salsa verde. And I want a different look. So on a whim, I bake a few beets.

I put the green tomato reduction into the blender and add 1/2 baked beet.

The result is beautiful and simple. Green tomatoes aren’t a failure. They just need a little help.

Add 1-2 tsp baking soda for a full stock pot; a 12-quart stock pot will yield about 2 blenders worth of sauce. Add 1/2 baked beet to each blender. Use appropriate canning procedures to store tomato sauce. I also use the freezer method: ziplock bags in desired serving sizes can be stored for several months.