Sunday, September 26, 2010

Pickled Green Tomatoes, Courtesy of Farmer Tom

This summer, I've been volunteering at the New Haven and Collinsville farmers' markets, which has turned out to be my favorite part of the week.  One of the best things about hanging around farmers' markets week after week is getting to know the farmers and talking about their wares.  As we were packing up our tents at the end of last week's market, one of the farmers I've gotten to know, Tom of Hard Rain Farm, gave me a huge bag of green tomatoes that he hadn't sold.  Of course, I had know idea what to do with them except to make fried green tomatoes, which is probably the only thing anyone knows to do with them.  So I asked him, and he had a ready answer.  He told me his grandmother used to pickle them.  Intrigued, I went home and searched for recipes online, and this is what I found.  Maybe next week, when I give Tom a couple pints of these delicious pickles, he will bring me his grandmother's old recipe--something to slip in the recipe file and save until next year's crop of green tomatoes comes in.
Pickled Green Tomatoes
Makes 1 quart
This recipe comes from Closet Cooking (who got it from's American Food section, whose author claims it is one adapted from Chef Michael Symon) and can be found here
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 stick of cinnamon
6 cloves
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
2 cloves garlic
2 cups cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon salt
1 pound green tomatoes (quartered and/or sliced)
1 quarts worth of canning jars 
1. Bring everything but the tomatoes to a boil for 3 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, stuff the tomatoes in the the jars.
3. Pour the liquid over the tomatoes, making sure to cover them.
4. Put the lids on and give them a good shake to make sure that all of the air bubbles come out to the top.
5. Store in the refrigerator for 3 months before eating.

My notes:  I doubled this recipe with the following changes:  I used 2 1/2 lbs. of tomatoes (instead of the 2 that would be required with a double recipe) because I had extra liquid left over and more tomatoes.  However, some had already turned a little bit red.  They ended up fitting into 6 pint jars, which was the perfect amount so I could give 2 jars to Tom, 1 to my dad, 1 to my grandfather, and keep 2 for us (3 quarts worth).  I sliced half the tomatoes and quartered half, as Closet Cooking recommends.  The slices I will use in sandwiches this winter (BLTs, maybe, or warm grilled cheese) and the quarters I will probably use for snacking.  I also used ground coriander seeds instead of whole because that's what I had on hand.  Generally, pickling recipes are pretty forgiving, and you can substitute or change it as you like.  I think fresh chili peppers would have been good in here, and Tom also recommended onions.