Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What to do with your green tomatoes? Pickle 'em!

Remember this photo?

I admit, I let some of them ripen. But, BUT, I did get creative with the rest:

I could have fried them; I like fried green tomatoes as much as Mary-Louise Parker does. But I've done that, and I was looking for something new. After some research, I latched on to the idea of pickling them. Turns out it's way easier than I would have thought: you simply stuff them into a jar with the seasonings, pour salt water over them, and toss the jars in the fridge. Done.

I consulted various recipes, but finally decided this post was the most helpful. In spite of that, I didn't follow any of her recipes but made up my own. But that's the fun of it: trying out different combinations of spices to find how they taste. I nearly filled two jars with a tomato-onion mixture, and I used a different combination of spices in each (though they both contained garlic). I used whole spices I had on hand: celery seed, cumin seed, mustard seed, dill seed. The only thing I had to go to the store for was sea salt because I had just recently used it up.

Pre-liquid. I have no jar brand loyalty.

The basic procedure is to boil the liquid and salt so the salt dissolves. I used Garden Betty's ratio of one cup of water, one cup of distilled white vinegar, and one tablespoon of sea salt. Pour the spice mixtures into the bottoms of the jars. I stuck with about one teaspoon of each of the spices and used combinations that appealed to me. Then fill the jars with the tomatoes, or whatever vegetables you plan to pickle. Pour the salty vinegar into the jars, remove air bubbles by poking around with a chopstick, wipe the top edge, and screw on the tops.

Post-liquid and removal of air bubbles. And there's my photo bomber.

Without a canning system, I have to keep these refrigerated and eat them up pretty quickly. But if you have a canner, you can make these jars really last. Fun and easy way to preserve green tomatoes, or really, any vegetable. If you like pickles, that is.

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