When I asked members of the Twice as Tasty Facebook group for recipes they’d like to see on the blog, green tomato requests poured in. I try to ripen my late-season tomatoes and eat the stubborn ones fresh, so my green tomato repertoire was limited. Perfecting long-term storage of green tomatoes called for experimentation, practice—and some unannounced taste testing at Twice as Tasty-catered events.
After sampling a range of pickled and fermented green tomatoes and salsa, sauce, relish, and chutney recipes, a few trends appeared. Pickled greenies are best stored in the refrigerator, where they never feel the heat of a boiling water bath and retain their shape and texture. Salsas could go either way. If you can’t create Grilled Tomatillo Salsa, you can process a green tomato salsa—but I prefer it fresh. In contrast, processing is ideal for a thick, rich chutney.
Curried and Pickled Green Tomatoes
1 pound green tomatoes (about 1-3/4 cups when sliced)
5 ounces onion (about 2/3 cup when sliced)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 cup cider vinegar (5% acidity)
3 tablespoons water
1-1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon curry powder, preferably homemade
1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric (optional)
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
2 thin slices fresh ginger
Remove the core from each tomato and cut it into 1/4-inch slices using a mandoline or very sharp knife; cut the onion into paper-thin rings. Toss the vegetables with the salt in a medium-size bowl. Cover with ice cubes and a tea towel, and let them sit at room temperature for 8 hours or refrigerated overnight. The next day, pick out any unmelted ice and then pour the vegetables into a colander to drain off the liquid released by the salt. Rinse them well and drain again.
Combine the sugar, vinegar, water, and spices in a small pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar, and then remove from the heat. Fill a wide-mouth pint jar with layers of tomato and onion slices, along with the slices of ginger, until they are about 3/4 inch from the rim of the jar. Pour the hot spiced vinegar brine over the tomatoes until it covers the vegetables but is still about 1/2 inch from the jar’s rim. Let the brine cool completely before screwing on a plastic lid, dating the jar, and storing it in the refrigerator; let the pickles sit at least 3 weeks before tasting. They will keep in the fridge for several months. Makes 1 pint jar.
Tips & Tricks
- The firmer the green tomatoes, the firmer the pickle. Whole tomato slices also hold up better than larger tomatoes that must be halved before slicing so that they fit in the jar.
- Although I prefer whole spices in most pickles, I love the color and flavor a ground spice blend gives tomatoes. I make curry powders that use far less turmeric than commercial blends, so I add a bit of this brilliant spice and cinnamon to boost the color. If you’re using a store-bought powder, add a pinch each of ground mustard and cloves instead.
- Although you can store jars in the refrigerator with old lids and screw rings, the pickling vinegar can cause the rings to rust and stick. Plastic screw-on lids are better for longer pickle storage.
- Refrigerating keeps these pickles crisp, but the vinegar in this recipe makes it safe for canning. Multiply each ingredient by 7 for a full canner batch of pint jars, leave 1/2-inch headspace, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes, plus your altitude adjustment.
- These pickles are delicious among other Indian condiments (see below) but are also tasty on a party table featuring Sourdough Pita Bread, Baba Ghanouj, and Roasted-Garlic Hummus.
Twice as Tasty
When I began to play with processed green tomatoes, I tried everything from traditional salsa verde flavorings to hot and spicy pickles to dill-heavy relish. After finding the magic pairing of curry spices and green toms (see above), I knew I needed to try a chutney.
Although I have yet to share many of my favorite recipes, I’m hooked on savory jams. As with fruit jams, I like spreads that are light on the sugar and heavy on the produce’s natural flavors. This led me to experiment with preserves based on peppers, onions, eggplant—and now green tomatoes. To reduce the sweetness of a savory jam even further, just cut back on the sugar and add a bit of vinegar. The result is the textbook definition of chutney.
Green Tomato Chutney
12 ounces green bell pepper (about 1-3/4 cups chopped)
8 ounces onion (about 1-1/2 cups when sliced)
3 tablespoons kosher salt
2 cups cider vinegar (5% acidity)
4 pounds apples (about 8 cups when chopped)
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons ginger
1 2-inch cinnamon stick
2 dried chilies, crumbled
10 black peppercorns
3 allspice berries
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1 teaspoon coriander seed
Core and chop the tomatoes and bell pepper, and slice the onion paper-thin using a mandoline or very sharp knife. In a large bowl, salt the vegetables as you would for Curried and Pickled Green Tomatoes, letting them sit overnight to draw out their water and then draining, rinsing, and draining again.
Pour the vinegar into a wide, 6- to 8-quart pot. Peel, core, and chop the apples, adding them to the vinegar as you work and stirring often to coat the pieces. Add the drained vegetables.
Bring the pot to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil, uncovered and stirring frequently, for 20–30 minutes, until the produce is soft. Stir in the sugar. Return to a boil, stirring, until the sugar dissolves, and then reduce the heat to medium-low and boil gently, stirring often, for 15–25 minutes, until it starts to thicken.
Mince the garlic and ginger. Combine the whole spices in a small bowl, and then secure them in a tea strainer or piece of knotted cheesecloth. Add the minced aromatics and spice bag to the thickened chutney, continuing to boil gently and stir frequently for an additional 10–20 minutes, until the chutney is thick enough to cling to a spoon. Remove the spice bag.
Tips & Tricks
- You could skip the salting step in this recipe, reducing the salt to 2 tablespoons and adding it to the vinegar. I continue to use the technique for two reasons: it lets me split the process into stages, and drawing out the water helps to reduce the cooking time.
- I love the blend of flavors these spices add to the chutney and find it easy to put the mix together while I’m watching the pot cook down. But you can adjust the flavors to your liking or substitute 1–1/2 tablespoons of premixed pickling spice, preferably homemade.
- Although I keep Curried and Pickled Green Tomatoes crisp in the refrigerator, it takes long enough to cook down this chutney that it makes sense to make one large batch and process it.
- Because I’m not a fan of cloyingly sweet jams, I tend to use savory jams and chutneys as my main spreads on toast at breakfast, inside sandwiches as lunch, and alongside cheese and Sourdough Pita Bread at a party.
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