Our garden became a little shop of horrors. Indeterminate heirloom cherry tomato vines run rampant, twining around each other, pulling over the tomato cages, invading every square inch of territory they could reach, growing to twenty or more feet in length. And the growing season is not over yet. In fact, the season is so late that the tomatoes are just now starting to ripen. When my husband decided to tame the beasts by tying them to poles, little green tomatoes, in all shapes and sizes, rained down everywhere. What to do?
I was reminded of the pickled tomatillos that I made last fall. The tomatillo crop was voluminous but the fruit was small in size, about the proportion of a large cherry tomato. I posted the project much later than the season so I thought I should remind people about the opportunity, when tomatillos become available, right about now. This led to my solution for the green cherry tomatoes.
This recipe is from Linda Ziedrich’s Joy of Pickling and it is terrific. We were sad when the last of the pickled tomatillos were gone, but now we can look forward to both green tomatoes and tomatillos. In addition to eating them as is, we added the tomatillos to quesadillas and enchiladas, and tossed them into potatoes. Rarely did a grilled cheese sandwich leave the griddle without them.
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.
Makes 1½ pint to 1 quart depending on the size of the fruit.
Variation: Substitute green cherry tomatoes for the tomatillos.