The Milkweed Diaries

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Further Adventures in Green Tomatoes: Pickling

Determined to plow through the surfeit of green tomatoes piled on every surface in my house, I have continued my tomato-preserving marathon.

Today's installment: Pickled whole green cherry tomatoes and pickled green tomatoes.

Both of these recipes are adapted from Putting Food By by Janet Green, Ruth Hertzberg, and Beatrice Vaughan, a very fine food-preserving reference book.

I made big batches of each of these last week, and I can report that the whole pickled cherries were a satisfying and relatively quick project, while the sweet and sour tomatoes were much more time consuming (lots of steps), with a relatively small yield for all of the work (because the tomatoes cook down so much). The final Sweet and Sour Pickled Greens did taste and smell divine, though, so maybe it's worth all the effort. When we crack open a jar in the dead of winter and the memory of standing over a hot stove for all those hours has faded a bit, I imagine it will seem worth it.

Here are both of the recipes:

Pickled Sweet a
nd Sour Green Tomatoes
  • 7 1/2 pounds green tomatoes (about 30 medium tomatoes)
  • 2 large red onions or 2 cups pearl onions
  • 3/4 cup high-quality fine-ground salt
  • 1 Tbs celery seed
  • 1 Tbs mustard seed
  • 1 Tbs dry mustard
  • 1 Tbs whole cloves
  • 1 Tbs peppercorns
  • 3 lemons, thinly sliced plus 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 sweet red peppers
  • 2 1/2 cups honey
  • 3 cups apple cider vinegar
  1. Wash tomatoes well and cut off blossom ends, blemishes and stems.
  2. Slice tomatoes and peel and slice onions.
  3. Sprinkle salt over alternate layers of tomatoes and let stand in a cool place overnight
  4. Drain off the brine, rinse the vegetables thoroughly in cold water, and drain well.
  5. Slice the lemons and remove the seeds; wash the peppers well, remove seeds and stems, and slice thinly crossways.
  6. Put the spices in a muslin bag or large tea ball, submerge in vinegar, and bring to a boil.
  7. Add tomatoes, onions, lemons, and peppers. Cook for 30 minutes after the mixture returns to a boil, stirring gently to prevent scorching.
  8. Remove spice bag and add honey.
  9. Pack the pickles in sterilized jars, and cover with boiling liquid, leaving 1/2 inch of headroom.
  10. Scorch lids, cap the jars and process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Pickled Cherry Tomatoes
  • 24 cups hard, entirely unripe green cherry tomatoes
  • Bay leaves, mustard seeds, dry or fresh hot peppers, black pepper corns, celery seed, dill (fresh or dried), and garlic to taste
  • 1 sliced red onion'
  • 3 lemons, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup high quality, fine-ground salt
  1. Sterilize 12 pint jars and in the bottom of each jar put a bay leaf or two, a clove or two of garlic, a dried or fresh hot pepper, 1/2 tsp of mustard seed, a couple of heads of dill or a Tbs of dried dill, and other seasonings to taste.
  2. Pack the jars with tomatoes, layering in onion slices here and there. Leave about 1/4 inch head space, and pack the tomatoes tightly.
  3. Make the brine by combining the water, vinegar, and salt. Bring to a boil.
  4. Pour the boiling brine into the jars to just cover the tomatoes. Wait a couple of minutes for the brine to settle and add more brine if necessary to make sure the tomatoes are covered, still leaving head room. I found that the tomatoes have a tendency to float, so I added a slice of lemon on the top of each jar to weigh them down.
  5. Scald the jar lids and cap the jars. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.
I'm imagining using these pickled cherries as an elegant little antipasto-type dish. I can't report yet on how they will taste, but rumor has it they are a bit like olives. I predict they will be salty, tart, and sour, with a satisfying cherry tomato pop when you bite them. We'll see. I am also anticipating bringing them out for farm-style cocktails -- since they can also be used in martinis!


anna maria said...

You are very inspiring and quite amazing.

Milkweed said...

Hi Anna Maria and welcome!
You are very kind. I started this blog as a way to keep a diary of my adventures with growing food and homesteading ~ and most of the time I feel like I am just scribbling in a journal. I use the blog to remember when it's going to be time to harvest one thing or another, or what the heck I did with all those elderberries, or to look up recipes from things I remember making in the past. Sometimes I forget that other people are reading, too!

And then someone like you stumbles across my little corner of the internet and connects with what I've been doing and writing, and it's magical! Thank you for reading and for letting me know you're there, and for the affirmation/appreciation!