Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Tastiest Tomato Pickles Ever!

The air in the morning is crisp and the days are getting shorter, yet my tomato plants have managed to hang on. Sure, I only pluck a pint of cherry tomatoes every 3 or 4 days now (opposed to at least 2 pints per day at the height of the season), but they are still surprisingly sweet and juicy. Even my larger heirloom varieties are continuing to slowly ripen. But the rains have started and I think all this goodness won't last much longer.

This year, we’ve been able to produce so many tomatoes I had to give a lot away. That's after making sauces and soups to last into the winter months. Since I’m pretty much stocked up on the basics, I wanted to try some different things with the tomatoes. My favorite was this recipe. I could tell it was going to be good before I tasted it. The spice mix was so aromatic when it was cooking up. It complements sweet tomatoes so well, but I think it would be just as good with green tomatoes. Next time I’m going to make a big batch and can some of it so I can crack open a jar whenever I want.

Tomatoes Pickled with Indian Spices
  • 1 ½ lbs tomatoes (cut larger tomatoes into wedges)
  • ½ red or yellow onion, cut in thin wedges
  • 5 serrano chilies, sliced lengthwise
  • ¾ cup white vinegar
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbs kosher salt
  • 2 tbs grated ginger
  • 1 whole head garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs cracked black peppercorns
  • 1 ½ tbs cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 x 3 inch cinnamon stick
  • ½ cup neutral oil (canola, grapeseed, etc)
  • 2 tbs mustard oil
If you are using larger tomatoes, cut them into wedges. Cherry tomatoes can be used whole. Combine the tomatoes with the chilies and onions in a large Pyrex bowl. Set aside.

In a saucepan, dissolved the sugar and salt in the vinegar. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a saucepan or small frying pan, heat the oils over medium heat until hot. Add the cumin seeds, black peppercorns and cinnamon. Fry for about 30 seconds. Then add the garlic, ginger and cayenne. Cook until nice and fragrant, about 2 minutes (it should look like this). Turn off the heat and add the vinegar solution and mix well. Pour the warm mixture over the tomatoes and mix well. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let the mixture sit in the fridge for at least 3 days. If the tomatoes are not submerged in the pickling solution, give the mixture a stir every day.

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