Green Tomato Pickles

Green tomatoes have since a long time been the staple food of majority of people in South America. A number of recipes can be created using the green tomatoes. Green tomatoes are generally available during the beginning of the winter season. The green tomato pickle is one such recipe. It is a very delicious dish and is savored by all. Green tomato pickles can be made using the following ingredients;

1. 750 ml white vinegar (white vinegar is the best for preservation as well as for presentation)

2. About 3 kilo grams of green tomatoes

3. 1 kilo gram of onions

4. Salt to taste (the salt used may be pickling salt)

5. Half teaspoon pepper

6. 1 kilo gram sugar

7. 2 red chili peppers

8. 2 teaspoons cloves (whole)

9. 1/3 cup of mustard seeds

10. cup of celery seeds

11. 1 tablespoon Jamaican pepper (allspice)

12. 1 teaspoon black pepper (ground)

The procedure for making the green tomato pickle is

* Slice or cut quarters of the tomatoes. Place the pieces and sliced onions in two separate bowls. Sprinkle cup of salt over the tomato pieces and cup of salt on the onion slices. Stir the mixtures. Place lids over the bowls. Let the tomatoes and onions stand for about 4 to 6 hours. After 4 to 6 hours, place the tomatoes in a piece of cheese cloth and press them gently to drain the extra juice produced.

* Repeat the same above mentioned procedure for onions.

* After removing tomatoes and onions from the bowls, throw away the salt water.

* In a large pot or a kettle, put the green tomatoes, onions, sugar, vinegar, chilli peppers, celery seeds, mustard seeds, and pepper. Stir the mixture well.

* Tie the allspice and cloves in a cheese cloth.

* Dip the cloth containing the spices in the tomato onion mixture.

* Bring this mixture to boil.

* Reduce the flame and gently simmer the mixture. This has to be done keeping the pot uncovered.

* Heat this mixture for about 20 minutes so that the vegetables become tender and the flavor of the spices is spread evenly to the entire mixture.

* Sterilize the jars by boiling the jars and their lids in water for about 15 to 20 minutes.

* Place the tomatoes and the liquid in the sterilized jars. In addition to tomatoes, place 1 chili pepper in each jar.

* Immediately, cover the jars with lids and secure them using rubber bands if required.

* An additional processing needs to be done. It includes placing the jars in boiling water bath or tub for 15 minutes.

* The pickle has to be stored in a cool and dark place.

* The opened pickles must be stored in refrigerator later.

The above mentioned recipe makes about 8 full cups of pickle. The shelf life of the green tomato pickle is about 1 to 2 years. As the pickle is a delicious dish and has an easy recipe, it is frequently prepared in homes. Thus, the popularity of green tomato pickles has increased manifold.