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Tomatoes? Or Scary Halloween Prop

No, this is not a Halloween prop…

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 these are real green tomatoes, in various stages of ripeness…

 

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in the process of fermenting.

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Quite stunning, as a kitchen accessory, if I must say so. 

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Last year, when I was putting up my harvest of tomatoes, it really hit me exactly how much heat it takes to process tomatoes to preserver them through traditional canning methods. 

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My favorite method of preserving tomatoes, roasting, still recommended pressure canning them — or putting them into the freezer.

 

 

 

 

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That’s a lot of heat. fermented tomatoesdsc_0349

So this year, armed with my new-found knowledge of fermenting, I am using lots of salt, (6 tablespoons per quart of water) to preserve these gorgeous specimens, at room temp — for about 3 days. Maybe 4, if I’m feeling brave. I pierced them with a pin to ensure the brine reaches the interior of the tomato. 

This is by far my biggest fermentation project ever — the hardest part was finding a vessel big enough to hold them, and then, finding a “weight” to keep everything under the brine, to prevent mold.

The payoff? Intense, fresh flavor, all winter long… loaded with vitamins. 

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I’m using latex-free plastic gloves and a rubber band to keep things air-tight — the larger jar needed a ziplock bag, secured with a rubber band. I’ve used a cup and bowl, with water to help weigh everything down. 

No vinegar is involved in this preservation method – I’m activating the bacteria in the tomato to create a cultured environment, and release the vitamins in the fruit. Tomatoes are risky in the fermenting world — as they have antimicrobial qualities… Beets, you can ferment for weeks, for example… but not tomatoes. 

After 3-4 days, I’ll be moving these fermented tomatoes to the fridge, (How! Their size! I would love to have a “cold” root cellar like my Grandma had!) to be used in chimneys and sauces. After a few weeks, I’m told they should go to the freezer. Mushy, yes… but isn’t that what you need for a sauce? 

In the freezer, I’ve learned, the tomatoes will lose their “probiotic” but they will taste amazingly fresh. Fermenting brings out flavor and nutrients — and it preserves that fresh flavor and nutrients. 

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