Eating Albanian

Pickled Green Tomatoes

An Albanian meze platter is not complete without a jar of pickled green tomatoes. This is a very easy pickle to prepare, the hardest part is waiting for them to be ready!
We have found that you do not have to be too exact when deciding the water:salt ratio. You can always add more salt if you want your tomatoes saltier. Also, you do not have to store your finished pickles in the brine; after the pickling process is over you can transfer the tomatoes to a jar of olive oil. Our elders always cautioned us to not use too much salt, but we disagree—we think more salt is always better than less, particularly because homes are kept much warmer these days than they were in the past, and too little salt at too warm of a temperature can lead to soft pickles (and nobody wants soft and squishy pickles!).

Ingredients:

5 pounds green tomatoes
5 cups water (or more depending on the container)
1 cup salt
1 T black peppercorns
5 hot red peppers
5 bay leaves
A few sprigs of fresh dill (optional)

Directions:

1. Sanitize your jars.
2. Combine the salt, black peppercorns, and water in a large pot. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, remove the pot from the heat and set it aside to cool.
3. Wash the green tomatoes. If you are pickling them whole, use the tip of a knife or a pair of kitchen scissors to cut a small “x” in the bottom of each tomato. You can also chop the tomatoes in halves or quarters (this will help you fit more tomatoes in fewer jars). Once your tomatoes are prepped, pack them in the jars.
4. Add the hot peppers and bay leaves to each jar, sliding them in between the tomatoes. Add the sprigs of dill, if using.
5. Pour the brine into each jar, making sure the tomatoes are completely covered. Close the jars and give them a good shake. Place them in a cool, dark place for 30 days, shaking all of the jars every few days. After 30 days they are ready to enjoy as they are or you can transfer the pickled tomatoes out of the brine and into a jar filled with olive oil. Store any opened jars in the refrigerator.

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