Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Green Tomato Pickles

This year, like last year, we cultivated a garden. And this year, like last year, our tomatoes really didn’t take off until August. The plants produced a bunch of tomatoes, but most of them were still green last week when we pulled up the plants to clean out the garden. I knew there had to be ways to use the green tomatoes (other than fried green ones, that recipe is coming), so I did some internet searching. I found two recipes that were promising. One was a pickle recipe and one was a jam recipe. I had never done anything like these before, but they were quite fun to make.

The pickles I made last year took on a strong vinegar taste after about 3 months. This time I reduced the vinegar and replaced it with water. We’ll see if that works all right. I’ll let you know.

Green Tomato Pickles
  • 5 lbs green tomatoes, stemmed and quartered
  • 2  cups vinegar
  • 3 cups water
  • 7 1/2 teaspoons pickling salt
  • 10 teaspoons of dill seed, or 5-6 dill heads
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons whole peppercorns
  • 5 bay leaves

Prepare your jars.

Combine the vinegar, water, and salt, and bring to a boil.

In the bottom of each jar place 2 teaspoons or a head of dill, 2 garlic cloves, 1 bay leave and 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns. Pack the jars with tomatoes, and fill slowly with brine. Use a wooden chopstick to remove air bubbles, and add brine if necessary. Put lids and rings on jars and process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.


Monday, October 31, 2011


Just like a lot of other Americans I like salsa. The tomato-onion-peppers sauce. The music is all right, but I'm more of a classic rock guy. Like a lot of Americans I also have a garden, in which I grow tomatoes, onions, and peppers. Whoa! I bet you can see where I'm going with this. I found recipes on the web through the extension offices of several different states. I have made salsa before when we had a garden and we liked it very much, so since we have a bunch of tomatoes and the onions are in the basement, I thought I would try another batch of salsa.

This is a canning recipe, so if you are new to it, here are a couple of good places to start looking for information.  

One thing that the recipes tell you to do is peel the peppers by roasting them and then peeling them. I don't do this for a couple of reasons. 1) I'm lazy. 2)It seems like a lot of work for primarily an aesthetic thing. I know, you'll get these little transparent pieces of skin in your teeth occasionally, but I really don't care about that. If you do, then fire-roast your peppers.

  • 7 quarts of paste tomatoes (about 11 pounds); peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 4 cups of peppers seeded and chopped (Use the heat that you desire)
  • 5 cups of onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup jalapeno peppers, cored and diced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups lemon or lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons of salt (I use pickling salt)
  • 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely minced
Wash and peel the tomatoes. Like peaches, you can drop them in boiling water for 30-60 seconds, then dip in cold water and their skins should come off. Wash and prepare onions, peppers, and garlic.  Put all ingredients except cumin, oregano, and cilantro in a large kettle and bring to a boil.

If you used paste tomatoes (like Roma) you probably can get by simmering for about 20 minutes to a half hour. I didn't have enough of those, so my tomatoes were juicier than paste tomatoes. I let it cook down about an hour or so because I hate watery salsa. Add the cumin, oregano, and cilantro for the last 20 minutes or so.

Then, prepare your jars and lids, fire up your water-bath canner (which you should have had warming up for awhile), and put the salsa in jars. Process in boiling water for a time appropriate to your altitude. It's usually 20 minutes where I'm at in Wyoming. Enjoy!