When Life Gives You Lemons: Make Habanero Pickled Green Tomatoes

It’s amazing what having access to a high-yield vegetable garden has done to my life.  I’m not sure if it’s good or bad – but I’ve developed this squirrellish tendency to hoard produce and devilishly conceive of ways to keep it in my arsenal long past the originally predicted date of decay.  Maybe it’s the sudden abundance of my Aunt’s new vegetable garden, or maybe it’s the coming apocalypse…can’t say for sure.

The fact is that for better or for worse, my current tendency towards gardening and gardens partnered with an irrational/rational fear of impending doom has birthed a hobby: figuring out what to do when you have so much of something that it threatens uselessness and the thought of letting it go to waste induces nausea lest you encounter a future need for past excess.  Now that’s a torment worth prevention.

This week’s culprit: green tomatoes.While I personally like these tart, crisp little buggers on their own, they’re a hard sell fresh.

So on one of those devilish mental tears, I became inspired by the South Philadelphia Tap Room‘s unbelievably sour and spicy selection of pickled delicacies, and decided to attempt my own version of their fiery green tomatoes.And this is what emerged:Do they taste good?  Ask me two months from now.

Do they look good?  Yes.

Try it.  It’s fun!

Habanero Pickled Green Tomatoes

Makes 2 pint jars

  • 1-2 lbs green tomatoes
  • 1/2 white or yellow onion
  • 1 green chili
  • 1 habanero chili
  • 2 garlic cloves*
  • 3/4 cup white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tsp dill seed
  • 2 tsp celery seed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 tbs kosher salt
  1. If you’ll be preserving, prepare your jars for battle!*
  2. Core tomatoes, and cut into thick slices (horizontally).
  3. “Eighth” onion.
  4. CAREFULLY seed chilies and quarter.
  5. Prepare brine by bringing vinegar, water and salt just to boil.
  6. Once jars are warm,* pack em: stuff each full with tomato slices, a few chunks of onion, half of each chili, a garlic clove (smashed), 1 tsp dill seed, 1 tsp celery seed, 1 bay leaf, 1/2 tsp peppercorns.
  7. Pour hot brine over tomatoes, removing any bubbles with the end of a spoon or chop stick – leave 1/2 inch headspace.
  8. If fridging, allow to cool, and refrigerate – they’ll keep for up to a month.
  9. If canning (in boiling water canner) – process for 10 minutes.*

*If canning, please follow USDA instructions found here!


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