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09/07/11 - Pickled Tomatoes

Our friend Julia dropped by a few days ago to show us how to pickle tomatoes. She makes the most amazing pickled red tomatoes from an old Russian family recipe. For our part, we bought a 20lb box of Sunny Farms Roma tomatoes and dithered around ineffectually. Julia provided the cherry leaves, currant leaves and the jars, as we hadn't even bought the right kind of jars.

The recipe is pretty simple. There is the pickling liquor made by boiling 5 liters (or quarts) of hot water, 8 tablespoons of kosher salt, 2 cups of white sugar and 2 cups of white vinegar. For each one to two quart jar add 4-5 cherry tree leaves, 2-3 currant bush leaves, 2-3 tablespoon chunks of fresh horseradish root, 1-2 horseradish leaves, 5-6 cloves of garlic, 1 dill flower "umbrella", 10 black peppercorns, 4-5 whole allspice berries, and 2-3 cloves. All right, maybe it's not that simple.

Bring a big pot of water to boiling. Stuff as many tomatoes as you can into each jar. Feel free to squeeze them a bit, but don't reduce them to a pulp. Then, pour boiling water into each jar to sterilize the tomatoes and the pickling spices. Then, using a strainer to catch anything that tries to escape, drain each jar and top it off with the hot pickling mixture. Be careful to shake the jar around a bit to get out any air bubbles. Quickly screw on the lid and flip the jar over.

Store all the jars, upside down, wrapped in a heavy blanket. They'll stay hot for at least two days, cooking and ripening all the time.

That's the recipe on the left, in Russian. We're lucky we had a translator.

Currant leaves

Cherry tree leaves

Garlic cloves and horseradish root cut into roughly tablespoon sized chunks

Lots of Roma tomatoes

We had to run around to find the fresh dill with flowers. Albertson's was out, but Safeway had them.

Black peppercorns, allspice berries and whole cloves - Spices are so pretty.

The jars filling with leaves, herbs and spices

Boiling hot water to sterilize each jar

Full of pickling liquor, ready to seal

Put them to bed

Keywords: food, recipe