I adore tomatoes, I love their smell straight from the vine, almost a nettle like scent, a bit sharp, something once encountered never forgotten. It takes me back to Musselburgh and my Dad growing tomato plants every year in the back porch. There was a forest of plants and strict instructions on their care. I used to be in charge of pinching out those pesky sprouts and harvesting the bounty. The smell, the smell of those tomatoes in the sun, that nettly aroma on the instant of picking.
I love tomatoes raw with just a sprinkling of salt and pepper, I love them tossed in salads (especially a Greek salad), I love them cooked into everything from pasta sauces to tomato soup.
Idgy hates tomatoes. How can my gorgeous girl hate something so amazing? Easy my friends, because her father hates them. I blame my X for many things in life; global warming, the state of the nation, the credit crunch, my weight issues, the cat’s neurotic behaviour, the crapping chickens – you name it I have a tendency to throw all blame in his direction, and why not he is an X and he must have some use in life, blame collecting is his.
He can’t stand fresh tomatoes but of course eats them cooked in anything you can imagine. This he passed on somewhat callously to my darling daughter. Funny how these things happen.
Anyway it has in no way dampened my ardour for the juicy little globes that to me are one of the most important ingredients in my fruit bowl. I would be lost without them.
So any way of preserving my beloved tomatoes is a good thing in my book. This summer I have been blessed with an abundance of tiny toms from my little tumbling basket that hangs outside HQ. A fiver well spent back in the spring I’d say!
Although I made various jams and relishes with them I wanted to save some in all their gorgeous beauty, just as they are, not squished up and cooked.
Pickling was the way to go, but a fast simple pickling that would keep them at their best and give me a bit more time with them.
I just had enough 150g (5oz) of tiny toms to fill my chunky 350ml (just over half pint) jar. Just double up the recipe to suit what you have.
- 150g/5oz baby tomatoes in all colours but not over ripe
- 1 clove garlic thinly sliced
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 6 black peppercorns
- 6 coriander seeds
- pinch of sea salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 200ml/7 floz white wine vinegar
- Sterilise your jar (I used a 350ml sized jar) by washing in hot soapy water and drying in oven for 30 mins or by putting through a hot wash in dishwasher.
- Wash and pat dry tomatoes and prick all over with a skewer or fondue fork (this is to let the pickling liquid get right inside them faster)
- Pack tomatoes and sliced garlic into your jar.
- Place all other ingredients in a non-reactive pan (stainless steel/enamel etc but not copper) and bring almost to the boil.
- Let it simmer for 5 minutes then remove from heat.
- Pour pickling liquid over the tomatoes and pop on the lid.
- Store for 1 week before using to allow the flavours to mature.
- This will keep for up to 6 months in the fridge.