Vegnesday: Pickled Cherry Tomatoes

Most people that haven’t lived in the former Soviet Union might think the idea of pickled tomatoes sound weird.  Do yourself a favor and try them – they’re delightful!  As it turns out, they’re also easy to make…this was my first time pickling anything, and it’s surprisingly uncomplicated.  Slap some of what you want them to taste like in a jar, pierce some tomatoes, cover with pickling liquid, and slam, bam, you’ve got yummy pickled goodness (in a few days).  I went for garlic, pepper, and habanero peppers for a hint of fiery spice.

I lucked into about 2.5 pounds of free cherry tomatoes – hence the inspiration for this recipe, modified from thekitchn.com.  With so many, I quintupled the amounts below.  Luckily for me, I’m kind of a hoarder of empty jars from pasta sauce, pickles, etc, so I had plenty around and ended up using three jars of varying size to hold all my goodies.  I prepped and pickled them on Monday and broke into them today, and they absolutely hit the spot.  Piquant, refreshing, and just slightly spicy on the back end.  Highly recommended!  Next time I make them I’ll probably add more garlic and habanero, fiend that I am for those flavors.

Tomatoes 1

Prep time: 10-15 minutes

Pickling time: At least 48 hours

Makes: 1 pint of pickled tomatoes

Tomatoes 2

Ingredients

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes (about 8 ounces)
  • 1-6 cloves garlic (I’m a garlic fiend, and would err on the high end)
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 small habanero pepper, seeds removed and sliced
    • NOTE:  For the love of all that’s good, DON’T TOUCH YOUR EYES until you’ve washed your hands about a dozen times after handling these.  Best recommendation, wear gloves while slicing!
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt or 2 teaspoons pickling salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar (optional)

Tomatoes 3

Equipment

  • Chef’s knife
  • Small saucepan
  • Skewer – wooden or metal
  • Cutting board
  • Several wide-mouth jars with lids, washed with hot soapy water and dried thoroughly
  • Canning funnel (optional)

Instructions

  1. Prepare the tomatoes:  Wash and dry the tomatoes.  Use a skewer to poke a hole through each of the tomatoes.

Tomatoes 4

  1. Add the spices to the jars:  Add the garlic, peppercorns, and sliced habanero to the jar.
  2. Add the tomatoes:  Pack the tomatoes into the jar(s).
  3. Make the pickling brine:  Combine the vinegar, water, salt, and sugar in a small saucepan over high heat.  Bring to a rolling boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar.  Pour the brine over the tomatoes, filling the jar(s) to within 1/2 inch of the top.  You might not use all the brine.
  4. Remove air bubbles:  Gently tap the jar against the counter a few times to remove all the air bubbles.  Top off with more pickling brine if necessary.
  5. Tighten the lid(s):  Place the lid over the jar and screw on the ring until tight.
  6. Cool and refrigerate: Let the jar(s) cool to room temperature.  Store the pickles in the refrigerator.  The pickles will improve with flavor as they age — try to wait at least 48 hours before cracking them open.

Storage: These pickles are not canned and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.  If you process and can the jars, they can be stored at room temperature unopened.

Tomatoes 6

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