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Spicy Green Tomato Pickles
“This green tomato pickle recipe combines the best of Jewish deli pickles and Southern-style pickles. Fermented for 4 to 10 days rather than brined in a vinegar solution, these delightfully sour pickles are worth the wait; they make a great snack, side or topping for burgers and sandwiches. Be sure to use firm green tomatoes without any blush of pink, as ripening tomatoes will turn mushy during fermentation.”
8 cups cored and sliced green tomatoes (about 3 pounds)
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1-2 fresh jalapeños, halved lengthwise
1 ounce fresh dill (a large handful), preferably with flowering heads attached
2 tablespoons pickling spice
6 cups cold filtered water
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons pickling salt or fine sea salt (not iodized), plus more for water weights
1Clean your pickling container(s) with hot, soapy water.
2Place tomatoes, garlic, jalapeno, dill and pickling spice in alternating layers in the container(s), leaving about 4 inches of space at the top.
3Whisk 6 cups water and salt in a large bowl until the salt is completely dissolved, then pour the brine over the vegetables until just covered.
4Next, prepare water weights filled with salt brine to help keep the pickles fully submerged during fermentation. (If the bags leak they won't dilute your pickle brine.) For ½-gallon containers, use quart-size bags; use gallon-size bags for a gallon container. Make more salt brine (1 teaspoon pickling or sea salt dissolved per cup of water) and fill a bag (or bags) about half full; tightly seal. Place the filled bag on top of the pickles and make sure all the pickles are fully submerged in their liquid.
5Cover the container loosely with a clean cloth and store in a cool place (60 degrees to 75°F) out of direct sunlight, with a tray underneath to catch any liquid that may bubble up during fermentation.
6Check the pickles every day and skim off any bits of scum, yeast or mold that may form on the surface of the liquid. At temperatures above 70°F, yeast and mold are more aggressive, so fermenting in a cooler environment requires less maintenance.
7After 4 to 10 days, depending on the temperature, fermentation will be complete. You'll know the pickles are ready when they have a fresh, tart smell and bubbles no longer rise to the surface. Taste the brine. If the saltiness is not balanced with sourness, you can continue to ferment another day or two. When you like the taste, transfer the pickles to the refrigerator in their container (or decant into smaller containers). The pickles will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 year as long as they are submerged in brine.
Make Ahead Tip: Refrigerate fermented pickles for up to 1 year.
Equipment: Two ½-gallon or one 1-gallon container (crock, glass jar or food-grade plastic bucket), quart or gallon sealable plastic bags