Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pickled Green Tomatoes

You know the expression “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”?  So what are you supposed to do if universe gives you green tomatoes?  Lots of them, more than I can count. 
My tomato harvest this year exceeded all my expectations; there were hundreds of beautiful tomatoes that even managed to escape the squirrels.  There was only one problem, most of them never ripened. 
There is something weird about my backyard, all plants bloom later than normal.  In the spring my lilac just starts to bloom at the end of May, when others long forgot about it’s flowers.  My roses don’t peak until July and my vegetables don’t get going until August.  I plant my tomatoes with everyone else, one weekend after Mother’s day.  And everyone I know is proudly munching on their own tomatoes in August, where I only start to get little green ones.  By end of September, everyone is done harvesting, and I may have picked a couple red ones and my tomato bushes are breaking under the heaviness of beautiful but still green fruit.  And as October frost sets in I realize that sadly, these beauties will never ripen and I just need to cut my losses again this year. 
As I stared at basket after basket of green tomatoes to be thrown away, my husband suggested I pickle them instead.  A pickled green tomato makes a classic Russian vodka chaser.  You just have to remember to give those lots and lots of flavor as they have none of their own.  And these can last in the fridge for months , no need to fiddle around with mason jars and preservation process. 
So now I have enough pickled green tomatoes to throw a serious vodka party, or to give away as gifts or to sell at a market, if I am so inclined…. They are taking up half of my auxiliary  fridge and better be eaten by spring…

Pickled Green Tomatoes

Green or just slightly pink tomatoes
A glass or plastic container with a lid that can fit all of the tomatoes snuggly but not squeezed in
The recipe for the brine and spices below is for a 2 gallon container, but can easily be scaled up or down

For the brine

3 cups of white vinegar
1.5 gallons of water
1 cup kosher salt
¼ cup brown sugar

 Pickling spices

6 cloves of garlic, cleaned and slightly crashed
1 or 2 hot peppers cut in halves
½ tbs coriander seeds
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp dried oregano

Combine all the brine ingredients and bring to a boil.  Simmer until all salt and sugar is dissolved.  User right away.
Wash the tomatoes and fit them snuggly into the clean jar.  Along with tomatoes add the hot peppers, garlic and the pickling spices.
Pour hot brine over the tomatoes, making sure they are fully submerged.  Close tightly and refrigerate.
The pickled tomatoes should be ready in 7 -10 days.  These can last in the fridge for several months if they are submerged in brine.

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