September 1, 2011 § 3 Comments
What does a gardener do when a little thing like a hurricane is imminent? She cleans out the garden of all ripe, nearly ripe and totally unripe tomatoes, that’s what she does.
Ripe tomatoes have been dispatched to salsa, gazpacho and pizza toppings.
Somewhat ripe tomatoes are on a tray and ripening, possibly for a sauce.
Ripe cherry tomatoes are … well, in a bowl and thinking of what they want to become. Possibly tomato cobbler. We’ll see.
The unripe tomatoes – interestingly all cherries – are destined to be pickled.
I know what you’re thinking: Pickling is soo sooo very trendy. Maybe it is. BUT … I’ve been pickling green cherry tomatoes since 1994. My housemate at the time – Lou – had been pickling since forever and shared the recipe. Pickle the cherries at the end of the season – right as you’re grabbing them off the vine before the first frost – and they are good and pickly and presentable as hostess gifts for fall dinner parties. Oh, that Lou.
A couple of notes:
1. Pickling green fruit is key here. Too much red ripe deliciousness and they cherry will swell and burst, making a jar full of mush. But, I do try to add a cherry or two to the jar that is turning just a bit orange. It’s pretty. So so pretty.
2. Would it be okay to cut green slicing tomatoes into chunks and pickle them? Well, yeah, maybe. I’d remove the pulp and use just the flesh. We want to avoid mush.
3. And with the pickling spices, garlic clove and sneaky pepper, they taste just fabulous. Ohhhh …. yum.
Pickled Green Cherry Tomatoes ala Lou
- 21 8oz. jelly jars with new lids and rings
- 8 cups white distilled vinegar
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup salt
-Don’t have enough tomatoes to fill 21 jars? Work the proportions for the number of jars you can fill. I quartered the recipe and it filled 6ish jars.
-Boil the above and let cool.
To each jar, add:
- 1/2 tsp coriander
- 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
- 1/2 tsp mustard seed
- 1 chili pepper, aka “a sneaky pepper”
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 garlic clove
-Add tomatoes to each jar, filling to within about 1/4-1/2 in. of the rim of the jar. Don’t jam them in too tightly – they may burst if forced.
-When the liquid has cooled, fill each jar to cover the tomatoes. Place a lid on each jar and tighten the ring. Let sit out overnight and then place in the refrigerator.
What about preserving them with canning? It’s definitely doable! I’m not the one to tell you how to do it. Really. Even though I witnessed my mother can jars and jars of everything from apricots to zucchini, none of it stuck in my head. And if something goes wrong … like when that jar of canned tuna wasn’t sealed properly … it can go terribly wrong. And I’m not gonna be responsible for your botulism.
July 2, 2011 § 3 Comments
I was in a sour mood the other day. So, I made pickles.
I’ve been wanting to make pickles for a year or so, ever since I had an excess of small beets produced in our garden last year. I even kept the beets in a sealed bag in the fridge for several months, thinking I’d make pickled beets at some point. I didn’t. I searched for the just-right pickling recipe for so long, my beets eventually went bad.
And it’s not like I haven’t pickled anything before. I have. Pickled green cherry tomatoes. They were delicious. But still, there was something intimidating about the thought of making pickled beets.
I had had my eye on a Moosewood recipe for pickled red onions. I kept putting it off and putting it off. Then I spotted a recipe in Martha Stewart Living for pickled onions, radishes and snap peas – cocktail pickles. It got me thinking. Finally this week I decided to bite the bullet and pickle up some red onions.
I examined the Moosewood recipe – it called for brown sugar – and I examined the Martha recipe – white sugar. And then I dug out that old pickled green cherry tomato recipe – salt. I considered them all – and decided to go with this.
Two jars of the one-pint jelly variety.
1 cups cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 tbs packed brown sugar
-Boil the above and let cool.
-In each jar place
– 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
-1/2 tsp black peppercorns
-1/2 tsp mustard seeds
-1 bay leaf
-1 garlic clove
-1 sneaky dried chili pepper optional
While I was boiling the liquid, I realized I didn’t have red onions. Digging through the hydrator drawers, I found an older head of red cabbage and a carrot. I shredded enough cabbage to lightly pack one jar, and julienned a carrot to fit into the other jar. I divided the vinegar liquid between the two jars, and it was enough to cover the veggies. I covered the jars with lids and tightened with the rings, and popped them into the fridge. A day later, I had a taste of the results. And I have to say, not bad.