There is always something exciting about the first frost. While the leaves have been changing for a while, the oranges and reds have come to dominate the tree-lined avenues. The air turned from the heavy humidity of summer to the dry crisp of autumn seemingly overnight (well, actually it was the other day – started out about 8,000% humidity in the morning and gave way to a dry, cool breeze by the afternoon). It is, perhaps, my favorite time of year. There is a sense of relief when the intense heat of summer finally desists.
For me, the first frost signifies the true beginning of autumn. The summer plants, tomatoes, peppers, and annual herbs, all “bit it” last night, leaves curling and turning dark. Unpicked fruits soon to pucker, soon to be chicken food.
It is also the harbinger of quieter times ahead – the end of fall sports, and all of the running around inherent in being the parent of two athletes, involved in two different sports, at two different schools. I know many of you feel my pain!
So out I went this afternoon, to pick all of the green tomatoes. They are some of our favorite pickles. The small cherry or grape tomatoes I leave whole and the larger ones are cut into halves.
Lacto-Fermented Pickled Green Tomatoes
Pack jars with green tomatoes, keeping like varieties together. If you have some cherry tomatoes and some larger tomatoes that you are going to cut, put them in separate jars as whole fruits will last longer than cut fruits.
Per jar, add:
¼ t black pepper corns
¼ t dill seed
1 or 2 cloves of garlic
1 dried chili (optional)
Cover the tomatoes with brine in the proportion of
1 T salt
1 C water
Put lids on the jars and leave on the counter until bubbles start to form, usually 2 or 3 days. Once there are bubbles, move them to cold storage. These are NOT shelf stable because they have not been hot processed.