by Stu W2008
Dill-pickled green tomatoes make great appetizers. Numerous recipes for making them can be found in cook books and on the Internet. We use the fairly simple recipe below. It emphasizes the proportion and type of vinegar used to control the strength of the pickling flavor combined with the dill flavor of the green-tomato-and-celery product.
Pickling brines give varying tastes to different people. For example, a product pickled in a strong vinegar brine can cause the taster to blow any choking acetic-acid fumes from his or her nose and throat after sampling it. Still other tasters might like that same flavor without feeling the effects of the vinegar or other additives.
Conversely, the brines having a weaker vinegar portion combined with flavoring spices or further added products will yield milder more articulate flavors to its pickled products. Some recipes will recommend adding a few spices to make the pickling flavor hot or tasty. Others call for the addition of plain or brown sugar to make the flavor sweet. Still others say the following items can be added to the pickled green tomatoes: garlic, celery, onion, hot or sweet peppers (red, yellow or green), Cayenne pepper, carrots, allspice, pickling spice, mixed-pickling spices, black peppercorns, celery seed, dill heads or seed, mustard seed, dry mustard, cherry leaves, slacked lime, cumin, turmeric, lemon juice, ginger, cinnamon, or sugar.
Still, the pickling flavor coming from a brine recipe is also controlled by the proportion and kind of vinegar used in it. A strong recipe will add no water to the vinegar:salt brine. A medium-strength recipe will use a 1:1 cider-or-white vinegar:water proportion for its brine, the white one being the mildest of the two. A weak or mild recipe will call for a 1:2 or 1:3 cider-or-white vinegar:water proportion. Also, in certain instances, a select wine vinegar might be used to give a preferred taste. In the following recipe, a 1:2 proportion together with a few additives gives a fairly mild, lingering and slightly hot, dill flavor to its green-tomato-and-celery product.
Dill-Pickled Green Tomatoes — (by City Sandy)
5-pounds small firm green tomatoes, (grape or cherry with any stems still attached, or larger ones, quartered), washed well
1-head of celery, washed
To make the brine, mix the following ingredients together in a pan, and bring to a boil for five minutes.
1-quart vinegar (cider or white)
1-cup salt (plain or cannery)
Pack the tomatoes into standard sterilized pint jars together with the following items in each.
1-stalk diced celery (1/2-inch)
1-hot pepper of choice (green or red)
1/2-to-1-tablespoon dill seed, or to taste
Fill the jars to one-half-inch from the top with the hot brine. Seal with canning lids. And then, turn the packed jars over to cool. Store 30 days before serving. Makes 10-12 pints.
Thanks to my thoughtful spouse for helpful cooking and pickling advice.
To learn more about the history of pickling brines, see the following website.