Quick Preserving: Pickled Green Tomatoes

Last night was busy. We had all the normal school night chaos, along with a few more substantive chores and a hard stop at 9 p.m. to watch the first presidential debate. But during this pre-frost time, the tomatoes, they don’t wait for debates.

In 20 minutes, I dealt with some of them. First, I froze yet another gallon Ziploc’s worth of ripe tomatoes that had again overtaken our kitchen counter. The freezer is so full of tomatoes I’m a little worried we won’t have room for the quarter cow a local farmer will have ready for us in a month. Guess we’ll have to work harder at eating through the ice cream.

Then I turned to the green tomatoes still in the yard. We’re getting overrun with green tomatoes that have little time before the frost sets in. I’m seeing my girlfriends this weekend for our dozen-years-running knitters’ weekend. If you’re wondering, we really do knit — between glasses of wine and plates of cheese and going for walks. I look forward to it for half the year. But it’s timed just as the green tomatoes need dealing with. Last night I didn’t have time for some of the green tomato treats on my to-do list (green tomato jam, green tomato relish, fried green tomato BLTs…). So I made some quick refrigerator pickles. Tonight I’ll make another quart of them to take for the weekend. Little known fact: Knitters love pickles!

Here’s how to make them. This recipe is a slightly modified version of one in the fabulous sewing title Alabama Studio Style.

Quick Pickled Green Tomatoes

1 quart of green cherry tomatoes (you can also use larger tomatoes and cut them into quarters or eighths)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1-1/2 cups water
2 tsp. course sea salt
1/2 tsp. coursely ground pepper
1/2 tsp. dry dill (you can use fresh; I just didn’t have any)
6 garlic cloves, peeled and thickly sliced
2 split hot peppers

Prick the tomatoes through the stem end and through the other end so that the brine will absorb into the tomatoes. Fill a quart canning jar with the tomatoes. Combine the vinegar, water, salt, pepper, dill, and garlic in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour this brine over the tomatoes in the jar. Top with the hot peppers, screw on the lid, and let the tomatoes cool on the counter. As the jar cools, shake it a little so some of the garlic pieces fall into the jar. When the pickles get to room temperature, put them in the fridge. They should rest in the fridge for a day or so before eating. They’ll get stronger the longer they sit before eating.

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