One of my favorite pickles of all times is the classic garlicy green tomato pickle found at old-fashioned delis. For those of you in New York, be glad you have these pickles available whenever you might want. For the rest of us, it’s difficult, at best, to find quality pickled green tomatoes.
That’s why I decided to make my own a few years ago. And what prompted me to make little green cherry tomato pickles last year, I really can’t say, but I’m glad I did. Tomolives are just wonderful in a martini, served as a casual appetizer, skewered with sharp cheese, or plucked from the jar while you stare into the depths of the refrigerator wondering what to have for lunch.
This is the second recipe I made for Linda Wertheimer when NPR came to visit the canning kitchen. These are refrigerator pickles, and will last for weeks, if not longer. I prefer these as refrigerator pickles as processing cooks the green tomato, and they lose some of the crispness.
If you aren’t growing tomatoes, and don’t have access to green ones, just ask at your farmer’s market for a quart of green cherry tomatoes or a 6-8 green tomatoes. The farmer will be delighted to bring them in for you.
I use this pickle recipe for jalapenos (omit the chile pepper), cauliflower, baby carrots, pearl onions – really any vegetable! In fact, if I’m going out of town and have some vegetables that will not last while I’m gone, I can put up a jar of pickles in about 20 minutes, so nothing goes to waste. Play with the spices – allspice, juniper, fennel, dill seed, caraway – all add different tastes to your pickles. Have fun.
Pickled Green Tomatoes
Adapted from David Lebovitz, Michael Ruhlman and Michael Symon’s pickle recipes
Makes four pints or two quarts of pickles
2 qt cherry tomatoes or about 6-8 full size tomatoes – firm and very green
2.5 c water
2.5 c white vinegar
3 T kosher salt
3 T sugar
4 garlic cloves, peeled
4 T coriander seed
4 T yellow mustard seed
4 T black peppercorns
4 bay leaves
4 small red chiles, optional
Bring water, vinegar, salt and sugar plus the garlic clove to boil in a non-reactive saucepan. Boil 5 minutes.
Poke a hole with a toothpick, knife blade or skewer in each of the cherry tomatoes.
Quarter the whole tomatoes.
Pack into sterilized jars.
Add 1 T each of the seeds, 1 bay leaf and one chile to each pint jar. Double the quantities if you are using quarts.
Pour the hot brine over the tomatoes. Cover and allow to cool.
Refrigerate for a week before sampling.