Friday, October 30, 2009

Delicious Green Tomatoes

K is a wonderful cook. As a little girl she enjoyed cooking and baking with her younger sisters and me, and as a teenager she prepared a couple of dinners a week for our family.

Ever the experimenter in the kitchen, one fall after the green tomatoes came in from the garden she came up with her own lighter, simpler take on fried green tomatoes - sliced,unbreaded, lightly sauteed in olive oil and garlic, served with lemon wedges and freshly-grated parmesan cheese. Fresh basil, oregano, and/or thyme add additional flavor to this yummy treat. Alternatively, brush them with olive oil and broil or grill, then add your choice of toppings. We enjoyed them so much they became a fall tradition.

Having a vegetable garden for the first time in several years, end-of-season green tomatoes were eagerly anticipated. K's Green Tomatoes have been enjoyed more than once in recent weeks.

With this year's unusually cool summer and chilly, overcast early autumn, there were lots of green tomatoes left in the garden. It was a perfect opportunity to try Mom's newest pickled green tomato recipe. A slightly different version was posted last fall. Mom said this one was even better. I used her new recipe for the rest of our green tomatoes, and made seven quarts.

Yum! These are so good, just like the ones Mrs. Schmidt shared with our family when I was a kid. Here's the recipe.

Pickled Green Tomatoes
For each wide-mouth pint jar:
About 1 lb green tomatoes, enough to fill jar to the shoulder
2 medium cloves garlic, peeled and sliced 1/4" thick
1 tsp. black peppercorns
1/2 tsp. coriander seeds or 1/4 tsp. ground coriander (optional, but really good!)
small pinch hot pepper flakes
1 small bay leaf
2 fresh dill heads or 1 1/2 tsp dill seeds (fresh dill is best if available.)
Coarsely-chopped onions and/or a few thick celery slices make a delicious addition.

For brine:
5 oz water
3 oz white vinegar
1 1/2 tsp kosher or pickling salt (don't use table salt)
1 tsp sugar

1. Sterilize a large-mouthed one pint jar in boiling water. Place new canning lid and screw band in water which has been brought to boiling and turned off. Allow lids to remain in water until you need them. Place a dish towel on counter for setting hot jars on.

2. Wash the tomatoes and pat them dry. Small tomatoes can be left whole or quartered, quarter larger tomatoes. Drain jars and set on towel. Place garlic, pepper corns, hot pepper flakes, bay leaf and dill in bottom of jar. Tightly pack tomatoes into jar.

3. Bring water, vinegar, salt and sugar to a rolling boil. Quickly ladle brine over jar ingredients to cover, leaving about 1/2 inch of head space in jar. Immediately place lid and bands on jar and screw bands down finger tight. Turn jar upside down for 5 minutes. Turn right side up and let stand on counter until cooled. Jar lids should pop in during cooling.

Notes: Multiply the ingredients by the number of jars you plan to make. Since we had a lot of tomatoes, I used quart jars instead of pints, and adjusted the recipe accordingly.

Pickles can be processed 10 minutes in a hot-water bath. We like them crisp, and feel the tomatoes and brine are acidic and salty enough to store safely without the hot water bath if stored in a cool, dark place such as an unheated basement or root cellar, or refrigerated after processing and cooling.

Cure for at least two weeks before enjoying to allow flavors to blend.

Always refrigerate after opening.


  1. I love fried green tomatoes. Too lazy to pickle some myself, but Klaussen makes pickled tomatoes that are really good.

  2. Like Debbie, I am not into pickling, sounds like hard work, but the fried dish I can manage - and love. Thanks for a yummy and healthy post.

  3. Pickled green tomatoes are a new one for me, but I love the FGTs. Is K your oldest daughter? gail

  4. Set an extra plate for me, won't ya? FGT make my mouth water !

    We used to pickle the green tomatoes as well when I was a girl. You can also make some great salsa or relish with them.

  5. Linda, what fun recipes, and it's great your tomatoes weren't affected by the blight that's very string here. I really wish I enjoyed cooking... I *did* make hummus for a potluck last night and I think it turned out pretty well (amazingly)!

  6. Thank you Linda! I have a lot of green ones and can use your recipe!

  7. Hi,
    We used to have a neighbor who "put up" pickles every year. Tons of pickles. We wondered how they ate so many. My husband passed away and now that I am remarried, I found out that Joe eats tons of pickles. We have a whole shelf in the frig devoted to pickles.I stopped making them years ago, but these sound good.
    I love fried green tomatoes.

  8. I have also picklede green tomatoes this year for the first time. Im waiting for a 3 more weeks to taste them...

  9. Hi Debbie, Klausen's are good too. Still, there's nothing like organic and homemade. I enjoy playing in the kitchen, and since the Lawn Man's chief chef around here, trying my hand at pickling this season was more fun than work.

    Catmint, hope you enjoy them!

    Oh yum Gail - they're so good - both the FGT and the pickles! Yep, K's the oldest, also mama of our first granddaughter, expected early next year.

    Come on over Carolyn - I'll fire up the skillet!

    I haven't tried salsa or relish with them yet, but would like to. I was tempted too, by green tomato tarts, and green tomato pie. I loved Mrs. Schmidt's pickled tomatoes so much, and when Mom said her new recipe was a lot like them, I put all my tomatoes in one basket! ;) Now that I'm getting to indulge this craving, next year I'll probably diversify!

    Fun, surprisingly easy, and so delicious Monica! After trying my hand at homemade pickles this year for the first time, store-bought will be never be the same. I pickled some cucumbers and jalapenos earlier in the season, and if I do say so, they were all so much more delicious than the ones from the store.

    I'm surprised we escaped blight - it seemed like it was everywhere this season. Maybe living in a non-gardening neighborhood has it's advantages keeping the spores out of our garden.

    Kudos on your hummus - I'll bet it was wonderful. I'm not surprised it turned out so well.

    You're welcome Tatyana! Enjoy!

    Hi Balisha, Hopefully your neighbors shared some of their homemade pickles with you! I used to do some canning when my girls were small. Our first home had the remains of a fruit orchard, and grape vines on the fence. We preserved some of the fruit in jams and fruit butters, but I'd never tried pickling until now. I'll definitely do it again now that I've seen how fun, easy, and delicious they are. . . You all are making me hungry!

    Vrtlarica, enjoy - I think you'll love them! I know you're supposed to wait to allow the flavors to blend more, but after a week I couldn't stand the wait any longer and broke into the first jar! As good as these are now, they'll probably be even better after they've aged more.

  10. Thanks for the recipe! And K's tomatoes sound delicious!

  11. My mini tomato crop didn't provide enough for pickles. In fact, the only ones I was able to harvest were all green cherry tomatoes. I'm still eating them as they ripen, a few at a time. It's like a little "summer" candy.

  12. I've never tried green tomatoes, the pickled ones sound good though. I need to get the last of our green ones picked and maybe I'll give them a try.

  13. My pleasure Rose. K's recipe is delicious, and so easy to prepare.

    Helen, between blight and chilly temperatures this summer, seems tomatoes weren't stellar for very many gardeners this year. Still, isn't is wonderful being able to enjoy those last few as they ripen! I saved a few to ripen on the kitchen counter - summer candy is exactly what they are!

    Hi Catherine, they are so different from ripe tomatoes, yet delicious in their own right. If you enjoy pickles, I think you'd love pickled tomatoes.

  14. This post is making me hungry for some home cooking.

    I just realized that I haven't had a green tomato, ever! I don't know why I've never had them. Don't particularly have anything against them that I can think of.

  15. I still haven't tried your pickled green tomato recipe but still keep saying I will. Not this year though since I had NO green tomatoes leftover. I barely had any red ones:( Maybe next year. The recipe sounds so good and looks even better. You have a safe and Happy Halloween this evening.

  16. Hi Linda, you are very industrious indeed;-) I'm not a 'pickler', although it's never too late to try, I know. My grandmother was a wonderful canner and pickler. I miss her delicious chili sauce-as she called it--made w/tomatoes, green peppers, onions, and lots of spices and sugar, and it could be kept for months. But it never lasted that long!

  17. I neglected to pick any of the remaining green tomatoes before they were hit by frost this year. Now I wish I had--though I doubt I'd try pickling them, K's lighter version of fried green tomatoes sounds delicious!

    Missed your earlier post on the serviceberry; thanks for all this great information. I've added it to my "shrub wish list"!

  18. MBT, I hope those tamales you had yesterday were homemade. Homemade tamales are one of my very favorite foods. Growing up in the city, the mom of one of my best friends made big batches of tamales and shared some with us. She made more than one kind - one was sweet, and had raisins in it. I loved them all.

    I would never have thought of doing anything with green tomatoes if I hadn't grown up on Mrs. Schmidt's pickles. I could eat them every day.

    Tina, seems like it was a bad year all around for tomatoes. Hopefully next year will be better! If you try this recipe sometime let me know what you think. To me they're good in their own right, and the fond memories of Mrs. Schmidt make them even better. Hers were the best, and I'm so glad Mom found a recipe like hers.

    Jan, not so much industrious as craving homemade pickles - especially tomatoes.

    Your grandma's chili sauce sounds delicious!

    Rose, there's always next year! I do like fried green tomatoes, and K's version is delicious, with a lot less calories and guilt, and much healthier.

    We love our serviceberry! The rain beat all the beautiful fall foliage off it, and now I'm looking forward to early spring blooms, and June berries. Seems like everyone who has a serviceberry loves it. Glad you enjoyed the post.

  19. The pickled tomatoes sound good. Can never get to excited about fried green tomatoes, but I may try them sauteed with herbs.

  20. Sounds like a yummy dish. I may have to try that next year. Green tomatoes are long gone from my garden. Thanks for sharing


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