Pickled Green Tomatoes
We had warnings of temperatures down in the low 20s this past weekend. I wasn’t bothered by that fact until I happened to walk out my back door. There, the garden stared me down, along with all of the unripe green tomatoes. A lot of them. I stood my ground for a bit. After all, I had company and was tired. Besides, what would I do with all those green tomatoes? I could give them to my chickens I thought.
Nope. So there I was out in the cold weather picking every last green cherry, grape, and beefy tomato with the sun setting in the background. My company helped until they got too cold. I couldn’t blame them. I was out in a sweatshirt and vest while they all had their winter jackets, hats, and gloves on. Did I mention they are from Maryland where it was a balmy 65 degrees? Glancing at the outdoor thermometer, it showed that it was 38°F. While they went in to warm up by the fireplace and sip hot chocolate, I picked a good 20 pounds of green tomatoes. I also gathered the last of the peppers and the Swiss chard as I wasn’t sure it would make it through the night.
I have never actually eaten pickled green tomatoes but figured if I like pickles, I would like pickled tomatoes. My dill had gone to seed and dried up in the garden so I was left to improvise.
This recipe will fill seven pint sized Mason jars.
3 cups of white vinegar
3 cups of water
4 tablespoons of kosher salt
3 tablespoons of yellow mustard seeds
1 tablespoon of celery seeds
3 tablespoons of black whole peppercorns
1 tablespoon of whole allspice
5 bay leaves crumbled up
Begin by washing, drying and cutting all of the tomatoes into bite size pieces. The cherry tomatoes and grape I cut in half. Larger tomatoes I chunked. After sterilizing your jars (if needed) fill each of them with a tablespoon or so of your pickling spice. Then pack the jars tightly with your tomatoes making sure to leave a 1/2 inch of space at the top. In a large saucepan over medium heat add your vinegar, water and salt. Bring to a boil stirring to help the salt dissolve.
Using a funnel and a ladle, carefully pour your hot brine into each jar, covering your tomatoes but leaving at least a 1/4 inch head space. Wipe the jar rims with a damp cloth and then screw on the two-piece lids being careful not to screw it on too tight.
Place your filled jars in a water bath of already boiling water. The tops of the jars should be covered with at least 1-inch of water. Boil for about 15 minutes. Store your tomatoes in a dark place for at least 3 weeks before opening.
I’m glad I picked them when I did as we hit 26°F that night and it killed my tomato, pepper, and cucumber plants!