Wednesday, September 30, 2009

That's a Wrap!

The tomatoes on the front porch were starting to drive me nuts. Hand watering the 15 or so plants became too cumbersome of a task, not to mention the constant cleaning that became necessary as the plants began to dry up and drop their foliage. So I harvested all of the remaining fruit, green and red. The red went into the crock pot for an improved roasted garlic marinara sauce. The green became pickles.

I'd been pretty excited about a foray into preserving the green tomato as it wasn't something that I had grown up with. I learned the art of preserving from my mother who spent many a summer chained to the stove, overwhelmed with mountains of fresh produce and several scalding hot, burbling pots. I wasn't allowed in the kitchen during the process: boiling pots + rambunctious children = a trip to the emergency room waiting to happen. But I would hang about the dining room sneaking peeks of the happenings and catching strong whiffs of the overwhelming odors of tomatoes, peaches, pears, beans, pickles, etc. You name it, my mother probably canned it. However, the green tomato somehow eluded her Mason jar menagerie. I thought I would pick up where she left off.

I attempted two different types of green tomato pickles, spiced and dill. Both recipes came from my 1975 All About Pickling cookbook by Ortho Books. The dill recipe called for using the fresh pack method (pack jar with fresh fruit then pour boiling liquid over) and turned out perfect. The spiced, however, instructed to boil the toms for 15 minutes or until fruit is soft. I boiled for a very short time, yet the tomatoes turned mushy to the point of being unappealing. This also happened to me when I made my grandmother's watermelon rind pickle recipe last year. In the future, I think I will use the fresh pack method for all of my pickles and let them "rest" for a couple weeks to allow the flavors to meld. Anyone got any ideas as to what to do with a slurry of green tomato pickle slush?

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