Fermented Green Tomatoes
When my family gathered at my grandparents for family dinner, the meals were enough to give me a life-long pursuit of delicious, made-from-scratch food. My favorites were the pickled fruits and vegetables that accompanied the meals, cucumbers, beets, watermelon rind, and (my mouth is watering) green tomatoes. My grandma pickled the traditional way with vinegar.
Since learning to ferment vegetables, pickling them without vinegar, I experimented and came up with the most delicious, fizzy recipe for Pickled Green Tomatoes. We opened a jar yesterday and were WOWed by the flavor and texture.
Since the tomatoes are fermented rather than pickled with vinegar and heat, the contents of the jar are full of lovely, little, living organisms, mostly lacto-bacteria. My daughter had the bright idea of viewing these little organisms under the microscope. Let me just say they are cute and wiggly and very tiny.
And let me also say, YUM!
This is the perfect time of year to pickle green tomatoes as the last tomatoes linger on the vine. The perfect tomatoes to use are still smallish and very green. If they have started to turn, they do not taste good pickled. They taste downright awful. I found this out last year. Bleck.
These tomatoes were prepared today. They are bright when first placed in the jar, but will soften in color as they ferment.
Pickled Green Tomatoes
Makes 1 quart
7-8 small green tomatoes, freshly picked from the vine
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
2 tablespoons fresh dill, snipped
(OR 2 tablespoons dried dill weed
OR 1 tablespoon dried dill weed and 1 tablespoon dill seed)
1 tablespoon sea salt, preferably Kosher
4 tablespoons whey (if not available, use and additional 1 tablespoon salt)
2-3 cloves garlic (do not mince or crush)
Wash green tomatoes well and place in a quart-sized, wide-mouth mason jar. Add all the ingredients except the water to the jar, stuffing the garlic in the holes. Add enough water to fill jar, but leaving at least 1 inch below the top of the jar. Cover tightly. Shake to stir ingredients. Keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage. For best results, allow to ferment for at least 1 month. When the jar is opened, the liquid will fizz. This is a good thing!
This recipe was adapted from other recipes found in the Nourishing Traditions cookbook by Sally Fallon.