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Pomodori Verdi sott'Aceto

Green tomatoes on the vine

(Italian green tomato pickle)

Image Creative Commons by pixabay.com

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This simple recipe is a perfect fit for early fall, when your garden's remaining tomatoes have no chance of ripening further. The Tuscan solution to an overabundance of pomodori verdi (green tomatoes), is to pickle them.

After a month or so of rest, these emerald gems develop a depth of flavor that makes them the perfect accompaniment to roast meats or part of a cool-weather antipasti platter.

Makes about 6 pints or 3 quarts

Ingredients

  • Green tomatoes -- 3 pounds
  • White onion, thinly sliced -- 1
  • Kosher salt -- 1/4 cup
  • Fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces -- about 1/2 cup
  • Garlic, crushed -- 6 whole cloves
  • Bay leaves -- 3
  • Peppercorns -- about 18
  • White (wine) vinegar -- 4 cups
  • Water -- 2 cups
  • Sugar -- 1/3 cup

Method

  1. Wash the tomatoes well and trim off any bruised or damaged sections. Slice the tomatoes into 1/2-inch thick (15mm) wedges.
  2. In a large, non-reactive bowl, toss the tomatoes and sliced onion with the salt. Cover and set aside to rest for 6 to 10 hours at room temperature.
  3. Drain off any brine that the tomatoes have given off and rinse them well with fresh water. Add the basil and garlic to the bowl with the tomatoes and toss well.
  4. Place a whole bay leaf in each of three sterilized quart canning jars, or one-half bay leaf in each of six pint canning jars. Divide the peppercorns equally among the jars.
  5. Bring the vinegar, water and sugar to a simmer in a large saucepan over low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pack the tomatoes into the jars to about 1 inch below the rim.
  6. Carefully pour the simmering vinegar mixture into each jar to about 1/2-inch below the rim. Use a clean chopstick or skewer to remove any trapped air bubbles.
  7. Wipe the jar rims with a clean towel and seal with sterilized lids and rings.
  8. At this point you can either refrigerate the pickles or process them in a boiling water canner:
    • Refrigerator Pickles: Let the jar contents cool to room temperature, then refrigerate. The pickles are best after about a month and will keep for up to 4 months. Just keep them refrigerated, and make sure the contents are covered with liquid. Add more vinegar if necessary.
    • Shelf-Stable Pickles: For pickles that can safely sit in your pantry at room temperature, process them in a boiling water canner for about 15 minutes. Let the jars cool to room temperature in the canner before removing the rings and storing in a cool, dark space.

Pomodori Verdi sott'Aceto Variations

Experiment with different flavorings for your green tomato pickles.

  • Other Additions: Chopped sun-dried tomatoes can add both flavor and beautiful ruby highlights to your pickle jars. Use 1 or 2 for each jar.
  • Herbs: Substitute fresh dill, thyme, mint or oregano for the basil, or use a mix of herbs.
  • Spices: Spices that will add different flavor notes to green tomato pickles include dried chile peppers, whole mustard seed, whole cloves or whole coriander seeds.
  • Olive Oil: Some recipes call for adding 1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the top of each jar after you add the vinegar. Just make sure to leave about 1/2 inch of space between the top of the ingredients and the rim of the jar, especially if you will be boiling-water canning them.

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