Today’s mission is to deal with the green tomatoes I brought back from the garden on Sunday night. I got a few large ones for cooking and a lot of smaller ones for pickling. So, turn on the heat, bring out the brine!
Documented on the left is the weekend’s loot, and as you can see, green tomatoes make up a major segment of it. I picked so many of them because we’re not planning to go upstate for another 2 weeks, and I wanted to unload the plants a little to prevent them from collapsing or dumping their fruit on the ground where it’ll rot or be eaten by stupid voles.
It’s a tomato jungle out there: some of the plants are now as tall as me. They must really like their fertilizer, the delicious alpaca manure that Atan and I got at the Spruce Ridge Farm in Old Chatham, NY, back in June. I grew all of this year’s plants myself from seeds that I’d collected last fall but am still very paranoid about the possibility of late blight that ruined last year’s crop and made me cry. This year I planted them out much earlier — in mid May — something that could be a little risky for for our hardiness zone but they all survived the frosts and received a huge energy boost from the recent heat waves. I sprayed them twice with compost tea and once with some garlic/onion/pepper/soap potion recommended by the Organic Gardening Magazine, and am now pacing nervously back and forth waiting to see if these magic rituals will indeed protect my beautiful green babies from that horrible disease. Look at these green zebras on the left — aren’t they gorgeous? The ones on the right are also beautiful but I don’t remember what kind they are. I didn’t keep a very good track of my seeds and seedlings. But anyway, it doesn’t matter what color they turn out to be; I can’t wait to eat them all.
A few tomatoes have turned red already and have been consumed. The inaugural tomato salad included balsamic, olive oil, slivered Asiago cheese and fresh basil that I planted between the tomatoes in order to get them acquainted with each other ahead of time (also, some inter-planting advocates say that planting basil next to tomatoes enhances the latter’s taste) .
Whichever way you serve them, you really can’t go wrong with freshly ripened tomatoes. With the green ones, however, I don’t possess the same level of confidence. I did one experimental jar last year and it took a very long time for them to pickle through, which made me nervous and I kept adding more and more salt to the brine. When they finally reached the right condition, they were so salty that we still haven’t finished them.
So, I’m gonna do my research today but, at the same time, would like to call out to all green tomato aficionados out there for their guidance, and, hopefully, a few recipes!