Monday, October 21, 2013

Finishing Up For The Season

Frost on the ground two days running definitely says the garden is done!  This week I finished up some things from the garden - dehydrating the last of the herbs and green tomato pickles.  Thought I might get the curtains done for the kitchen as well but the sewing machine is taking a holiday and left behind a great blob of thread in the bobbin compartment, I'm pretty sure it is not coming back till I clean it out and maybe oil - so that is on the list for tomorrow.

I think I figured out my love of fall.  Spring is nice but spring is the harbinger of more work to come.  As I consider myself to be naturally lazy (My dream job is still book reviewer!  Somebody pay me to read all day!) fall then is better - all the good - cooler temps, pretty scenery and fall is the precursor of winter - projects, reading near the fire, warm bread and hearty soups and stews.  Oh yes I love fall!

Green Tomato Pickles is something I don't make all the time, I don't always have enough green tomatoes, just depends on how fast it gets cold and how many don't ripen on the vine - some years it stays warm long enough I have hardly any.  I found this recipe in an old  'Doubleday Cookbook Complete Contemporary Cooking Volume 2' from 1975.  This was one of the cookbooks my MIL shared with me years ago when hubby and I first got married and I needed the help!  :)  Around 2000 she and Dad were in Mississippi on a trip when she got deathly ill and was in the hospital for a month, their garden at home suffered and hubby and I went up to clean it out before they got home - there were tons of green tomatoes and I just couldn't throw them out, so some went in newspaper and ripened and then I went searching for recipes for green tomatoes.  I discovered I do not like 'fried green tomatoes' don't care what Jessica Tandy said in the movie.  But this looked interesting and I tried it.  We opened jars to rave reviews and most have said they sort of taste like 'bread and butter' pickles.  Here's the recipe:
Green Tomato Pickles - makes about 5 pints
2 quarts sliced unpeeled green tomatoes
2 Tbsp pickling salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 pint cider vinegar
2 Tbsp mustard seeds
1 tsp celery seeds
2 bay leaves crumbled
   (I used equivalent amount of pickling spices)

2 large yellow onions peeled and sliced thin
   (I used frozen diced onions)    
2 large sweet green peppers cored seeded and
1 large sweet red pepper or 1 small hot chilli pepper
 cored seeded and minced  (I do not put this in)
green peppers

Mix tomatoes and salt, cover and refrigerate overnight; drain well.  Wash and sterilize 5 pint jars and lids, stand on a baking sheet and keep hot in a 250 degree oven until needed.  Mix sugars, vinegar, spices and onions in a very large enamel or stainless steel kettle, cover and boil slowly 10 minutes.  Add tomatoes and peppers and simmer, uncovered stirring now and then for 5 minutes.  Ladle boiling hot into jars filling to within 1/8 inch of top (I leave more space than this) and making sure liquid covers vegetables.  Wipe rims and seal; cool, check seals, label and store in a cool, dark, dry place 4-6 weeks before using.

Jars in the oven - let me say here this is not a method I recommend, I suspect modern regulations would say to water bath or something similar - do this way at your own risk!
I'm comfortable with the amount of vinegar killing most germs but you are on your own!

boiling  the vinegars and sugar - this is the part where hubby walks out and says "whew the whole house smells relishy!" 

boiling for another 5 minutes after adding peppers and tomatoes.

I had almost double the green tomatoes so ended up with almost double the jars - 8 pints total.

The little bits of pinky red you see are the couple of almost pink tomatoes I decided to leave in the mix for the color!
Hope you enjoy -

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