Pickled green tomatoes

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After I harvested potatoes in the end of July (or was it August?), I had a couple of opportunistic plants pop up in a few spots in my raised garden bed, and the way they were growing, I got all excited for a late fall harvest…

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A brave opportunistic potato growing under row cover

Long story short: I only got three tubers on November 21st. As a sort of bonus I was rewarded with a pile of mostly green tomatoes, though, just enough to make two jars of pickles.

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The sad little November harvest

Preparing to pickle those tomatoes, I realized I forgot to write about another batch of pickled green tomatoes that I did in September, so I’m doing this now. Better late than never, right?

There are several things to do with green tomatoes, like pickling (check out this recipe from Garden Betty) or something more interesting, like this green tomato chutney from You Grow Girl.

I had very little time to do this, so I decided to go a safer route and save chutney for a better day. So here’s what I did.

Ingredients (for one 8oz jar)

  • Spice mix:
    • 1 tsp brown mustard seed
    • 1 clove garlic, crushed
    • 1 clove floret
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 3 black peppercorns
    • other spices to try are hot pepper, dill seed, cumin seed and whatever else you find attractive
  • Brine:
    • 1 cup water
    • 1 1/2 tsp salt
    • 4 tsp sugar
    • 2 1/2 tbsp distilled white vinegar

First I rinsed and dried the tomatoes.

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This pile was enough to make three 8oz and one 4oz jars

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Sterilized the jars and lids by boiling.

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Placed the spice mixes in the jars. In addition to the basic mix, I also added hot pepper to one jar and dill seeds to another.

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Piled the tomatoes on top of spice mixes.

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Prepared the brine (boiled the water, salt and sugar, turned the heat off and mixed in the vinegar). I always make extra brine, because few things can be more frustrating than going through all the steps and ending up with not enough brine and watching the jars cool down prematurely before the new brine is cooking.

I poured the brine over tomatoes. It’s better to overfill the jars than under-fill (to avoid air bubbles).

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Put the lids on and close tightly…

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…flip the jars upside down and let them sit like this overnight.

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The pickles turned out pretty good, but my one issue is that there is a trace of bitterness they leave in your mouth. I think this is likely due to the concentrated phytochemicals from un-ripened fruit, and will be searching for a way to tackle that bitterness.

What do you do with the green tomatoes?

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