How did this all begin, well it started with tomatoes. We had an abundance of fresh tomatoes this year, absolutely enjoyed the tomato season, but we had a few end of season tomatoes left on the vines that were never going to ripen. So my husband asked if we could pickle them. Off I go on a search for a pickle recipe and this was the one I chose. He loved them, he honestly can't get enough of them, he prefers pickled tomatoes to pickled cucumbers.
So you think that is the end of that, oh no. My husband tried growing a second round of tomatoes, to see if they would grow again, they did, but then came the fruit flies, they poked any tomato that started to ripen, there was one particular plant that they attacked the most. So my husband started picking the tomatoes green and we pickled those to as if we didn't the fruit flies would get to them before we could eat them.
This is a crowd pleaser, people actually ask if we have any jars spare, to take home, as they love these pickled green tomatoes.
After the success of the pickled tomato, my husband tried adding a fresh chilli to the tomato pickle, well, he loved that to, so now he adds chilli to the tomatoes. The chilli adds a background heat to the tomatoes, my husband loves this. And as we grow several types of chillies, when there are too many to eat, he pickles those on there own to now. He pickles carrots and cucumbers this way, he is loving it at the moment. He even grows his own dill now, just for this recipe. He makes me laugh.
My husband is the chopper, slicer and stuffer, my job is to make the pickling liquid. He sometimes slices tomatoes, sometimes quarters them. We love the cherry tomatoes best, but are happy with the larger tomatoes also, any type of tomato works here, they just have to be green, no orange allowed. You could even just halve a tomato, if you like. You have to allow the tomatoes to grow to a full size, they just aren't allowed to ripen.
With cucumbers you can cut them into spears or slices. If buying cucumbers, buy the pickling type, they also need to be green, no yellow colour on the skin and they need to feel firm. But I have also pickled the Lebanese cucumbers and they were delicious.
I use tap water in Australia, but if you feel your water is strong, use bottled water.
If using salt flakes add as per recipe, if using table salt, only add 1 tablespoon of salt.
I love these in sandwiches, they taste so good, my husband will eat them straight from the jar.
The pickling liquid can easily be doubled if you need and sometimes I am just short in the pickling liquid, so I top up with a little extra boiled water, but only if I am a little short.
Now truthfully we don't weigh or measure anything but the liquid part of this recipe. My husband just picks the tomatoes and stuffs them into jars he feels they will fit into, then I make the pickling liquid to cover the tomatoes. Start collecting jars if you want to start pickling.
The garlic is optional, as my husband doesn't love it, but there are days he adds it, so that is up to you.
You need to use sterilised jars for this recipe, just place the jars in a saucepan full of water and boil for a minute or two, then I place them on a wire rack to cool while I prepare the pickle. Alternately placing the jars in a dishwasher on a high temperature will sterilise them also.
So if you are growing your own tomatoes, chillies, cucumbers... and you don't know what to do with the end of season ones, try this, it is quite cheap and easy to try.
Makes 1 large jar of pickles
1 cup (250ml) white vinegar
1 1/4 cups (310ml) water
2 tablespoons sea salt flakes or 1 tablespoon table salt
1/2 tablespoon white sugar
500g firm green tomatoes
1/2-1 chilli, stem removed
2 medium cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced in half (optional)
1 teaspoons mustard seeds
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 sprigs of fresh dill
Start with the pickling liquid. Place the vinegar, water, salt and sugar in a small saucepan. Place over a medium heat, stir the mixture until the sugar have dissolved, then leave and allow it to come to the boil.
Whilst the liquid is coming to the boil, add to a sterilised jar the garlic, if using, the mustard seeds, black peppercorns and the fresh dill.
Wash the tomatoes (or cucumbers or chillies, whatever you are pickling). Slice, halve or quarter the tomatoes. Remove any blemishes and stem ends. Cram them into your jar, they need to fit snuggly, leave only about 1cm free at the top, no more than that.
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