As promised last week, I am finally going to divulge what it is that I do with green tomatoes! At the end of the growing season, when the rain starts to come in, whatever is left on the tomato plants, once hit with rain, will split and rot. Instead of wasting these little gems, I pull them all and clean them up.
Once dry, I let them sit for the week in a brown paper bag. Then it is pickling day! I’ll bet you thought I would be making fried green tomatoes! I love pickled tomatoes! And green tomatoes are the best pickled! If you decide to try this, then let me tell you this takes a while, but the results are well worth it! I use a dill pickling mix as I like the flavor the best.
I use pint jars. And I use the Ball brand Kosher Dill Pickle Mix. So are you ready to head into the kitchen? I am!
We are going to go in phases for this post, so bear with me! The first thing to do is sterilize the jars. The Ball Jars that I buy include the jar, the jar ring, and the lid. Place the jars and the rings in an empty dishwasher. Set the dishwasher on the rinse cycle. The water and the heat from drying are enough to sterilize your jars without having to boil them all in water. Set the lids aside as there is another process for that. The jars are sold by the dozen, and I do the dozen even though I might not use them all.
While the dishwasher is sterilizing your jars, cut up the tomatoes. Cut the stem end off and the flower end off. If you do not you can unknowingly add bacteria to your pickles. This is the same as you would do if you were pickling cucumbers, which I did look for but could not find. Here are what the tomatoes look like once they are all cut up.
I cut the larger tomatoes into eighths, and the smaller in half. The really tiny tomatoes I leave whole. Aren’t they pretty?
Then get your pickling juice ready. I follow the directions on the pickling mix I buy. Today for 8 pint jars I used the following:
6 cups of water
3 cups of vinegar
3/4 cup of pickling spices
Now you have a bunch of things to do at this point. First, set the heat to bring the pickling juice to a boil. Start water in a saucepan to boil to sterilize the lids. And fill up your processing pot with water that should cover the jars once the jars are added. Set this to boil.
Next, fill your jars. I add 3 shakes of chili flakes, 3 cloves of garlic for each jar, and 3 sprigs of fresh washed dill. Then pack in the tomatoes as tightly as you can. When the pickling mix boils, turn the heat off and add it to the top of the jar leaving a 1/4″ space. Wipe the jars clean making sure to also get the grooves and top of the jar. You want a tight seal so your food does not spoil.
By now, the water with the lids should be boiling. Turn this off. There is this unique device with a magnet on the end that allows you to pull these out of the pot without burning your hand. Pull one out, set it on the jar, then place the ring on and tighten.
By the time all the jars are filled, lids on and sealed, the water in your processing pot should be boiling. Add one jar at a time to the rack that comes with this unit. One jar per space. The water should cover the jars.
Boil for 15 minutes. Turn the heat off and using the special tongs for this type of process, remove the jars and set to cool.
As the jars cool, listen for the seal to take effect. You will hear a popping sound, and you will see that the lid has sunk in. This can happen anywhere from a half hour to a couple of hours. Let the jars cool completely before handling. Any lids that have not popped, place in the refrigerator. They will be ready to eat in about two weeks.
The sealed jars can be used after sitting for about 3 weeks and you can store these for up to a year. I usually refrigerate them a day before using them! They make an unexpected and delightful appetizer for the holidays, or a gift for those holiday baskets. If you do not eat them all before the summer, they are a perfect compliment to your summer BBQ!
Now, go out and have a great Monday!