Summer in this part of the world has finally finished. The temperatures have dipped slightly and the stifling humidity of a few weeks ago has dissipated, making this one of my favourite times of year weather wise.
I am trying to make the most of the last remnants of this year’s tomato harvest before they too disappear until next summer. This weekend I oven roasted a big batch of cherry tomatoes with garlic and thyme and then passed it through a food mill to make a batch of deeply savoury sauce to freeze for the winter.
Both in the garden and at the market there is a sudden glut of green tomatoes as the hours of sunlight in the day begin to wane.
As a kid in England I remember my Mum struggling to come up with a use for the green tomatoes left in our garden at the end of summer. I recall that green tomato chutney seemed to be the only option anyone could think of and no one had much enthusiasm for either making or consuming it.
Here in the South, green tomatoes are much more of a staple, and I have come to love the classic Southern fried green tomatoes.
When faced with a small glut of green tomatoes I opted for pickling them. I used this recipe from Food In Jars for inspiration but tweaked the end result in a different direction by changing out the seasonings for something a bit spicier.
The result is great: a sharp, tart, spicy pickle that goes particularly well paired with a creamy goats cheese or a brie or camembert.
Spicy Pickled Green Tomatoes
1lb green tomatoes
1 cup water
1 cup white vinegar
1 tbs pickling salt
1 tsp black peppercorns
4 garlic cloves
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp red pepper flakes
Combine the water, vinegar and salt and bring to a boil.
Put the following into each sterilised 8oz jar:-
0.25 tsp black peppercorns
1 garlic clove
0.25 tsp mustard seeds
0.25 tsp red pepper flakes
Cut the tomatoes into wedges and pack as tightly as you can into the jars.
Pour the brine into the jars, leaving a headspace of half an inch. Use a chopstick to remove any air bubbles and top up with brine if necessary. Apply lids and then process in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes. If you need to know more about water bath canning there is a good introductory guide on the Ball canning website.
Yield: 4x 8oz jars