As long as gardeners stayed on top of their watering, this summer was a good one for growing tomatoes in Philadelphia (as well as up and down the east coast). We had a ton of heat, which turned bushels of tomatoes sweet and red. I got more than 10 quarts of grape and cherry tomatoes from the three plants in my tiny community garden plot alone.
However, out in the Pacific Northwest, gardeners were not so lucky. They didn’t get nearly enough of the hot nights and sunny days that make for ripe tomatoes. My parents got nary a red tomato and while they’ve picked a bunch to slowly ripen in the garage, they’ve still got a slew of green tomatoes that need to be dealt with.
For those of you who are suffering from a fate similar to my parents’, with mountains of green tomatoes heaped upon all available surfaces, I offer up this little recipe. My proportions are based upon a single pound of green tomatoes, for as abundant as they are out west, I had a heck of a time finding enough out this way to fill even two 12-ounce jars. A friend out in Lancaster County sent me a few of her spares, but they’ve been entirely absent at my regular haunts.
I’m grateful to have these though, and I hope that those of you who are swimming in greens find the time to put a few jars up this way.
- 1 pound green tomatoes, stemmed and cut into wedges
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pickling salt
- 2 teaspoons dill seed
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon peppercorn
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dill seed
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon peppercorn
- 1 bay leaf
- Combine vinegar, water and salt and bring to a boil.
- Pack green tomato wedges into the jars. Pour brine slowly into the jars. Use a wooden chopstick to remove the air bubbles and add a bit of additional brine if necessary. Wipe rims, apply simmered lids and screw on bands.
- Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes. When time is up, remove jars from canner and let them cool on a towel-lined countertop. When jars are completely cool, remove rings and test seals by grasping the edges of the lid and lifting the jar. If the lids hold fast, the seal is good.
- Store in a cool, dark place for up to one year. Pickles are good to eat after one week of curing. They are particularly good with sandwiches and stews.