This was the year of the tiny tomatillo. While relatively plentiful, tomatillos were diminutive, around ¾ inch in diameter instead of the usual 1¼. I don’t think it was the variety. It was probably the weather. Nowadays, we blame a whole lot on the weather. So much so that – in December! — I was pickling the last of the tomatillos harvested from my New Jersey garden just before Thanksgiving so that they’d be ready by New Year’s. So much for our assumptions about seasonality.
These are considered fresh pickles, in that raw tomatillos, sweet and hot peppers, garlic and oregano are packed in a jar and covered with hot pickling liquid, composed of vinegar, water, salt, sugar and spices. Left to marinate in the refrigerator, they’re ready in a week and last for several months. The batch I made earlier in the fall definitely was mellower because of the longer curing period, but these zesty numbers are great on their own and even better in a tomatillo quesadilla. I’m sure they’ll be great chopped up and sprinkled on tacos of just about any type.
Pickled Tomatillos adapted from Linda Ziedrich, Joy of Pickling
1 lb husked tomatillos, halved if large
1 sweet mild pepper such as bell or Anaheim (I used bell), cut into 1-inch squares or strips
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and sliced into rings
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
3 sprigs fresh oregano
1 c white wine vinegar
1 c water
2 tsp pickling salt (or 1 tbsp kosher salt)
1-2 tsp sugar
½ tsp whole cumin seeds
Pack the tomatillos, peppers, garlic and oregano in a clean quart jar.
Bring the remaining ingredients to a boil in a saucepan and pour the hot liquid over the vegetables. Insert a chopstick in the jar to release any air bubbles, and set aside to cool.
When cool, cover with a non-reactive cap and refrigerate for at least a week before eating the pickles. They will keep, refrigerated, for at least 2 months, getting mellower and softer as they age.