Pickled Green Tomatoes
Do you have food memories? Like vivid memories where you can still remember the taste of the food and how you felt at that exact moment? Well pickled green tomatoes is a serious food memory for me.
I was celebrating my dear friends' wedding in New Orleans a couple of years ago and nursing a horrible hangover (in true New Orleans style). The next day was spent in a fog until we went to another bar (where I did not drink!) but they gave out pickled green tomatoes as bar food. It was life-changing. Salty and sweet, crispy and crunchy and utterly delicious. So good that it cured my hangover, (that and a good long nap.) To this day I still remember that pickled green tomato.
One of the vendors at my local farmer's market started selling green tomatoes this summer. When I saw that, I knew that I needed to re-create that recipe. What are green tomatoes you ask? Well they are just unripe tomatoes. They make their appearance starting in the late summer/early fall when temperatures dip and it becomes too cold for the tomatoes to ripen. Usually they are serve fried, which is delicious but pickled tomatoes might be my new favorite way to serve them. Plus a jar of pickled tomatoes will last way longer in the fridge than a fried tomato.
The trick to the recipe was creating something that was salty, sweet, sour and refreshing. Sometimes pickles tend to be really sour - I wanted this pickled to be sweet as well as have some warm spice in it. The result is equal parts sugar and salt, apple cider vinegar, lots of warm spices and the secret ingredient, bourbon. I have no idea why the bourbon makes these pickles taste so darn good but it just does. But really, doesn't bourbon make everything better anyway?
Pickled Green Tomatoes
- 2 lbs green tomatoes
- 1 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups water
- 5 Tbs. salt
- 5 Tbs. sugar
- 1 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick, crushed
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp. whole black peppercorns
- 2 Tbs. bourbon
Depending on the size, slice tomatoes in half or quarters. Fill canning jar(s) with tomatoes.
In a large pot over medium high heat add vinegars, water, salt, sugar, star anise, cinnamon, red pepper flakes, and black peppercorns. Bring to a boil and stir until well combined and salt and sugar is dissolved. Remove from stovetop and stir in bourbon. Carefully pour vinegar mixture over tomatoes. Let cool to room temperature, cover with canning jar lid and place in refrigerator.
Pickle will last about 2 to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.