Friday, 21 March 2014

Green Tomato Pickles - For Beginners

Now that the tomato season has come to an end here in Oz, what do we do with the few green tomatoes left when its time to clear the bed in prep for winter crops?  The first thing that pops into my mind is "Fried Green Tomatoes" only because its a favourite movie of mine and those US southern folk sure do like them so they must be good.

For those wanting to try, here is a link to new blog I'm following (spreading my wings but still loyal to my favourites):

From Leigh at 5 Acres & A Dream - Test Frying Those Canned Green Tomatoes & Canned Green Tomatoes For Frying

Its a simple crumbing technique but Leigh has some hints on how to do it right and she is also using green tomatoes that she canned in season.  I think that some grated Parmesan in the crumb mix would be nice as well.

When i say that this post is for beginners, I mean beginner.  My instructions are very basic and those of you with a pantry full of preserves who don't even have to think about it, let alone pour over recipe books and blog posts for a week prior, well you can stick with me and have a laugh or go open your pantry and wait for the angels to sing the "Hallelujah Chorus".

Leigh's Pantry
I was looking for my pic of yours too Jessie but i cant find it - its equally as impressive.

Green Tomato Pickles

I'm taking my 900gms of green tomatoes and making Green Tomato Pickles.
The recipe I'm using comes from the recipe book "Well Preserved" by The Country Women's Association of Victoria - Page 84.

Order Form for Well Preserved - CWA Victoria  -  $13 for non-members  Its packed full of award winning recipes.

Everyone knows that you don't argue with the ladies from the CWA.  They have generations of handing down recipes, testing and competing against each other before a recipe is considered good enough to be put into one of their recipe books.  This recipe comes from Theresa Bateman - Gippsland Hills Branch and is a First Prize Winner.  Since i have a smaller amount i used Excel to find that i needed to apply a 45% ratio to the following ingredient list.

2kg of Green Tomatoes    (some recipes also add 1/2 a cauliflower broken into small florets)
1kg of Onions
500ml vinegar   (apple cider or malt seem to be the vinegars of choice in most recipes)
4 cups of sugar  (white or brown)
3 tablespoon plain flour
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 desertspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon dry mustard

I like tweaking things so I threw in a chopped green apple and a handful of sultanas.  You would think I would try the original recipe first wouldn't you?  I mean they tested it right!

1.  Cut up the tomatoes and onions, sprinkle with a handful of salt and stand overnight.

Gosh its a pretty green isn't it?  
I'm at this stage, so ill be back tomorrow to do the next step.


It says to drain off liquid but it doesn't say to rinse, so i guess that the salt stays in.  Amazing that 900gm of tomatoes and 1 large onion created 300mls of this clear salty liquid.  
2.   Drain off the liquid and place tomato mixture in a pot, add the sugar (white) and vinegar
      (apple cider). Bring to the boil and simmer for 3/4 hour.    I wondered if i should be reducing
      the cooking time as well.
      20 min mark and I'm getting worried. There is a lot of liquid in that pot.
      Maybe i should have added cauliflower.  I was going to but when i went to buy one they wanted
      $6.30 for one small head of cauliflower.  No way.  I'll be planting seedlings in the next few weeks.

45 Minute Mark - and I'm feeling more relaxed.
3.   Mix the remaining ingredients with extra vinegar to a pouring consistency.
      Add to the pot to thicken the pickle.

Love this colour - in food only.  Anyone thinking of wearing this should reconsider their options.  
4.   Cook for a further 5 minutes

       I figured it was ready when I could stir and see the bottom of the pot.

5.   Pour into hot sterilised jars and seal when cold.   I boiled a couple of jars in hot water and then using
      tongs I placed them into an oven on 130C before i started cooking and so they were hot for the 45 min.
For less than a kilo of veggies this is pretty good.  There is only two of us here who would eat these with cheese or cold roast meat and so these will last us for a while.  
Once I had filled the jars I placed them back into the oven, upside down for another 5 minutes and then turned the oven off to let them cool gently.

Proof is in the taste and so despite the fact it was fresh I approached my husband (asleep on the couch at 10pm - we do get up at 4.30am) with a taster.

Should I wake him, or should I just pop it in the his open mouth.  Gently I asked if he wanted to taste.  His verdict was "good, very pickly, how long do we have to wait?"  

I don't know why I am so worried of it not working out.  Last year those green tomatoes went into the compost so what does it matter.  I think there are some issues at play here.  Fear of failure?  This wasn't really hard and actually a bit of fun.  I'm going to have to come up with a customised label for my preserves.

Have I encouraged another beginner to give it a try?

I keep eyeing off that 5kg bag of onions at the supermarket for $5 and think of caramelised onions.  I pay almost that much for the small sized jar above and I do love them.

Thanks for Visiting Living In The Land of Oz

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