We found some lovely green tomatoes at the farmers market on Saturday and put together a small batch of fermented green tomatoes this morning. Unlike cucumber pickles, we only like to make a few pounds of green tomatoes at a time. They’re tart to begin with, and once they start to sour they’re pretty mouth-puckering – a small wedge goes a long way on a plate of mixed pickles. For more flavor, we included a good dose of our recently harvested dill in addition to the usual pickling spices, garlic and grape leaves.
Fermented green tomatoes, 8/19/2014
- Two gallon pickling and fermentation crock
- Crock weight
- 3 lb Green tomatoes
- 2 tbsp Pickling spice
- 1 Cloves garlic, lightly crushed
- 1 head Seeding dill
- 2 heads Flowering dill
- 2 Drided grape leaves, crushed
- 2 L 5% brine
Scrubbed the tomatoes and packed them into a single layer in the crock. Wrapped the spices in cheesecloth and tucked the bundle into the crock. Sliced the remaining tomatoes into wedges and nestled those between the whole tomatoes. Added the crock weight and covered with 5% brine to cover the weight by about one inch.
A close up of the spices. The garlic is from our CSA, it’s more flavorful than what we buy in the supermarket, so I thought one clove would do the trick.
The same spices, chopped and ready to bundle up. This keeps the spices from floating in the brine and makes any skimming we need to do much easier.
The more we ferment, the more we see the importance of a a high vegetable-to-brine ratio so the brine can become sour as quickly as possible. This means packing the crock in flat, even layers of food beneath the weight, which is easy with shredded foods like sauerkraut, but for pickles and other odd shaped items, it means more attention to packing the crock. We bought what looked to be enough for one layer of the crock, but there were two tomatoes left over, so these were sliced into wedges and tucked between the whole tomatoes. Exposing the flesh of the fruit by slicing the skin like this should also help the microbes get to work quickly by providing more access to sugars for them to eat.
A close up of the tomatoes and spice bundle.
The brine covers the weight by just enough to make any skimming easy, about 1 inch.