Pickled green tomatoes

Hooray! I reached the one-month milestone of my blog. For someone who starts a lot of new projects but doesn’t always continue with them this is a big achievement.

I thought I would celebrate this occasion with my first recipe blog.

A few weeks ago I wrote an open letter to the tomato plant in the garden, reflecting on what I learnt from the process.

The tomato plants grew big and all over the place but there harvest was low, except for a large bowl of green tomatoes that I was able to save.

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I couldn’t bring myself to throw them away and I had seen a post on social media about pomodori verdi sott’aceto (Italian style pickled green tomatoes).

Apparently it’s common to make this at the end of autumn, early winter when most of the tomato harvest is done and the remaining tomatoes are still green. I decided to try make it myself.

Method:

Wash green tomatoes thoroughly.

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Slice open and leave in a bowl for a few hours. Drain remaining brine. At this point definitely try some of the tomatoes, just to remember the acidic sharp flavor before the pickling.

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Going through recipes online there are a few variations of what you can add to the pickle, chilli, peppers, onions, garlic, herbs and spices.

I decided to pair my green tomatoes with diced white onion, fresh parsley and red basil from the garden, crushed fresh garlic and lots of black pepper.

On the stove you need to heat some water, white vinegar and sugar, double the amount of water to vinegar. Heat it slowly until it boils.

At the same time fill the glass bottles with layers of the green tomatoes and your other ingredients. I like to upcycle glass jars from mayonnaise, olives or beetroot that I’ve bought from the shops.

Pour the hot water and vinegar mixture into the bottles and close immediately. This should seal them and make them difficult to open.

At this point I’m not sure about the correct bottling method. I’ve read all sorts of confusing methods of then boiling the bottles in a pot on the stove but I have no idea about this.

(I’m hoping that someone in Joburg will one day offer a workshop on preserving and bottling so I can learn the proper method.)

I allowed my bottles to cool and then put them in the fridge, just to be sure. I then waited about 20 days before opening.

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The acidity has completely disappeared. Many online recommend they be eaten with an antipasto that includes cured meat.

I put some on a haloumi salad for lunch the other day and it was so tasty.

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I love this recipe because it uses the green tomatoes that normally would not be edible, supporting the zero waste principle of permaculture gardens.

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