Pickled Green Tomatoes

If you grow your own tomatoes, make a point of culling enough hard unripened fruit to make this unusual pickle. I keep it hidden away from temptation until the late autumn, when it is brought out to set off the earthy flavours of game terrines and pies.

Ingredients

  • 1.4 kg/3 lb small green tomatoes
  • 100 g/4 oz salt
  • 900 g/2 lb granulated sugar
  • 300 ml/½ pint white wine vinegar
  • 1 vanilla pod or 1 cinnamon stick

Method

Wash the tomatoes and put in a pan. Add the salt to 2.25 litres/4 pints cold water in a separate pan and stir until it has dissolved completely, then bring to the boil. Pour enough over the tomatoes to cover. Simmer for 10 minutes then drain and peel the tomatoes.

Place the sugar, vinegar, vanilla pod or cinnamon stick and 150 ml/¼ pint cold water in a pan large enough to take the tomatoes as well. Stir over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to the boil. Add the tomatoes and simmer very gently for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool in the syrup for 8 hours or overnight.

Strain off the syrup into a separate pan and bring it to the boil again. Boil for 10 minutes, and add the tomatoes. Simmer for a further 5 minutes, then remove from the heat. Pack into clean jars and seal while still hot. Store in a cool, dark place for at least a month before using.

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