Pickled Grape Tomatoes

It’s twelve days till Shavuos, and counting. Actually, eleven, because Yom Tov starts Motzei Shabbos, so everything has to be ready Erev Shabbos for a three day Yom Tov. Oy! We’ll eat some of the meals in shul, most probably, but the dairy lunch I am doing at home. As I have already mentioned in my very first post Hello, Beautiful People! this is my father’s birthday, and it will be the first birthday that he will only be with us in spirit and in memories, but not in person sitting at my table. He would have been 87.

Father and IThat’s how my father looked 17 years ago, at my wedding. It’s a picture taken by my phone from a small framed photo, but that’s the only one I have from that time.

Group at David's wedding 2.jpg

This one is taken at my younger son’s wedding seven years ago, with my husband, my cousin and her husband. The chasseneh was on Lag b’Omer, only five weeks before my father’s 80th birthday. My brother did that one for him, up North. We all traveled there. I did the 85th, two years ago, and everybody came here. At that time, he would still get up at six every morning and swim in the pool for at least an hour.

Dad 5.jpg

And this is one of the latest photos where he not only looks good, but where you can see his kind and gentle personality shining through. I keep catching myself: I still talk about my father in the present tense. I know that the closer it comes to Shavuos, the more difficult it will be, but I have invited relatives and friends who have always celebrated this day with us, and I will make a table the way I always have, the way my grandmother had taught me.

Some things need to be done well in advance, such as pickled appetizers. In Odessa, we learned to pickle everything, all vegetables and some fruit as well.  Yes, I do know how to pickle apples, pears, and watermelons, but I have never liked them, so I don’t do them. I stick to veggies, hard and soft. It’s really the easiest thing you have ever done, it takes minutes, and you know that naturally fermented foods are good for you.  Basically, the recipe is the same for all vegetables, so you can apply this to anything you want. There is only one rule: soft goes with soft, and hard and crispy goes with hard and crispy, i.e. you can combine carrots with cauliflower or bell peppers with tomatoes, but not carrots with tomatoes, for instance. Cucumbers are usually better off on their own.  It takes a little longer for hard and crispy veggies to get ready, so give yourself a few extra days if you are planning a party.

pickled tomatoes 1.jpg

Put your vegetable, in this case grape tomatoes, in a class, ceramic, or enamel container. No wood, no plastic, and no metal! Wood is only good for making sauerkraut, plastic will just get eaten up by acid, and metal lends a very unpleasant taste when it is exposed to fermentation. You need a lot of fresh dill (see my post Saving Animals and Herbs for some tips), a lot of garlic, some whole peppercorns, salt, and hot water. If you use any vegetables larger than grape tomatoes, you’ll need to cut them into halves or quarters. I usually cut even the small Kirby cukes lengthwise, to absorb flavors.

pickled tomatoes 2.jpg

Throw some peppercorns in and shake it up lightly to distribute them evenly among tomatoes. Grape tomatoes are in season now, and they are juicy and sweet. I usually go to the farmers’ market and pick up whatever is in season and whatever looks good. I come home with a carload of fruit and veggies and start figuring out what to make of them. For Shavuos, our tradition specifies mostly green vegetables on the menu. Altogether, every dish served must have something green in it. As I proceed with my Shavuos recipes, it will become evident.  I might still find good Kirby cukes with enough time to have them ready, but these tomatoes just looked too good to pass out on.  Well, the dill is green, isn’t it?

pickled tomatoes 4

Garlic also gets halved lengthwise, each clove, to imbue the brine with even more flavor. Add it in and shake lightly again. Those pickled garlic cloves are delicious on their own. I have lately been told to go easy on tomatoes,but I can still pig out on pickled garlic. And if you really like it hot, add a couple of Jalapeno peppers, also halved. Be careful, though; fermented hot peppers turn into dynamite!

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Fold dill on top and pour hot salty water until everything is covered. Close lid tightly and put it in a warm and sunny place, but not actually under the sun. The pickling process takes anywhere from a couple of days to a week or even more, depending on the temperature and exposure to sun. Here in South Florida, we treasure houses that look out to the North. They feel cooler and save on air conditioner bills. I don’t have a sunny spot in my kitchen, so it should be ready right in time for Yom Tov, G-d willing.

Pickled Grape Tomatoes.jpg

You know it’s ready when the brine looks a little murky and the dill is brownish and wilted. Garlic might turn a little greenish/yellowish and a bit softer to the touch. You might still want to taste tomatoes for readiness as some people like it really pickled, while others prefer half-sour. The more pickled they get, the softer they become, yet they retain their shape and color. Once ready, dill needs to be discarded and the container refrigerated immediately, so as not to have it overdone. Theoretically, it could stay in the cold for quite a while, next to forever, but watch it disappear pretty fast!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pints grape tomatoes
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 large bunch of fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons of salt
  • 2 cups of boiling water
  • Optional: Jalapeno peppers to taste

PROCEDURE

  • Place tomatoes into a glass, ceramic, or enameled pickling jar that has a tight lid.
  • Add peppercorns. Peel garlic and cut each clove lengthwise. Add to tomatoes.
  • Fold dill on top of tomatoes, pressing lightly.
  • Dissolve salt in boiling water and pour over tomatoes. They should be covered with water. Close the lid.
  • For a spicier taste, throw in some Jalapeno peppers.Put in a warm and sunny place for 2 to 3 days. It may take a day or two longer if it’s not very hot and the sun exposure is limited. Once the dill starts turning brownish and the water looks murky, your tomatoes are ready. Refrigerate immediately before they get overdone.

Enjoy!

 

 

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43 Comments Add yours

  1. Ilze says:

    Accidently I read about your father. It is very nice that you are still making a table, we did the same for my grandmother for 10 years…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Ilze! I am doing it for every holiday now, the same I did when my father was sitting at the head of the table. It makes me feel that he is with us. My grandmother is always with me in everything I cook and bake – she taught me to love cooking!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Ilze says:

        The same with my grandmother!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on koolkosherkitchen and commented:

    We can’t have a variety of appetizers without something pickled. In this case, it’s pickled grape tomatoes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reblogging.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You are gorgeous, darling Dolly!!I love the wedding photos. And your father is a very handsome man!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! My husband agrees with you (about me, that is), but I think he needs new glasses. My father, may he rest in peace, really did look like a movie star, even in his 80’s. When I was little, I used to say that my dad was the biggest and the most handsome. I still think he was…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Nope, his eyesight is still good! He does!! That’s where you get half your good looks from, I’m sure your mother was beautiful too.
        You were right!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh, go on with you! My mother was a petite beauty, 4’11” but she had a personality of a lioness.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That’s where you get your feline grace from!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Gymnastics, then ballroom dancing.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Aha! That explains it!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Megala says:

    Nice pickle!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Megala, I am so glad you like it!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is my recipe for cherry tomatoes:

    1. Buy cherry tomatoes and fresh mozzarella
    2. Cut tomatoes in half
    3. Cut cheese into bite-sized chunks
    4. Sprinkle cheese chunks over tomatoes
    5. Add salt and pepper to taste
    6. Add approx. 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, if desired

    By my standards, this is an unusually complicated recipe (LOL). However, it makes for a nice light summer salad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Add some fresh basil leaves and fresh ground black pepper, and you got yourself Mozarella Caprese. As much as I absolutely love it, I can’t have cheese, so I’ve had to give it up.

      Like

  6. How wonderful to see the photos of you and your father. Bittersweet.

    LOVED your hat in your wedding photo. You look truly stunning.
    xx,
    mgh

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! It’s my father who looked like a movie star, though, and my mother was a tiny miniature beauty. 😻

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That was your MOTHER! Unbelievable. She looks so young I thought it had to be you.
        xx,
        mgh

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Whoa! I confused you with my rambling, didn’t I? I am sorry – brain on coffee break!
        That was MY wedding, and my mother OBM, unfortunately, wasn’t there already. I am also small, but still a couple of inches taller than she was and nowhere near as beautiful! She did look youthful, though, even during her last months, after chemo and the rest of it…
        I just mentioned her because I feel that beautiful genes on both sides just couldn’t help but combine to endow me with appearance that I shouldn’t be taking any credit for.
        Am I still being confusing? Brain hasn’t come back yet, I guess.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Perfectly clear now. I feel the same way about the gifts I inherited from my parents.
        xx,
        mgh

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Aren’t we the two lucky girls? Do you feel that way, too? Starts one thinking about those who have not been “gifted” like that and had to struggle on their own!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Yep – in addition to inspiring our gratitude, it gives us new ways to hear (and counter) those folks who take “credit” for advantages of birth and speak to others as if we all start life’s race from the same place!
        xx,
        mgh

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Oh,I don’t even think about them; let them stew in their own juices. I am concerned about those less fortunate and disadvantages,and I always celebrate their achievements.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. I wish I could step farther back myself – but I seem to get hooked by their generalized make-wrong. 😦
        xx,
        mgh

        Liked by 1 person

      8. My grandmother’s philosophy was that if more people think and do the right things, it will eventually offset the make-wrongs. She used to say, “Don’t worry about them, just do your thing.” At some point I had a prolonged hospital stay, and in those times hospital rooms would hold quite a few beds. I was in a room of 16. My grandmother brought me kosher food every day, but she couldn’t stand just feeding me when 15 ladies were given atrocious hospital fare, so she cooked every day for 16 people and went from bed to bed making sure nobody was left out. Some of those ladies started out as vicious antisemites, and ended up changing their opinions. Kindness works and love conquers!

        Liked by 1 person

      9. What an inspiring anecdote, Dolly. What did she fix? It would be a great intro to a blog article for making “crowd-food,” sharing one of those meals.
        xx, mgh

        Liked by 1 person

      10. I was there for a couple of months, and it was more than 40 years ago, and I was flying on painkillers most of the time, so I don’t remember. Probably the usual, something neutral, something nutritious, something sure to be liked by most. My grandmother made what you call “crowd-food” for every Shabbos, and a lot more for holidays, and so do I. Most of my recipes have been prepared for either a bunch of guests or the entire community. We all take turns doing that, but some people order sushi for 50 – 60 people, or catered trays of salads, fish, chicken, etc. I prefer to do it myself, and so far have never had complaints. Well, no, that’s not true. There was a complaint once, on Sukkot, when the guys gobbled up 25 lbs of grilled Russian hamburgers, and cried for more! I had to tell them that there is never not enough food, but there is sometimes too much vodka!

        Liked by 1 person

      11. Sometimes too much vodka – ha ha ha! You are a cooking dervish – as one who usually cooks for only myself these days, my hat’s OFF!
        xx, mgh

        Liked by 1 person

      12. We all do what we like to do, and I like cooking! 😻

        Liked by 1 person

      13. We all seem to focus most easily on what we like to do. I know a lot of people who adore cooking who didn’t really have the time to focus on it until after retirement, however.
        xx,
        mgh

        Liked by 1 person

      14. That’s my situation as well. 😻

        Liked by 1 person

  7. GP Cox says:

    Thank you – got it!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. GP Cox says:

        I will. I don’t really like okra any other way!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I don’t really like okra, so I’ve never tried to pickle it, but my husband says it was delicious when his mother made it this way.

        Liked by 1 person

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