In a perfect world, we would wake up to a balanced breakfast consisting of cultured grass-fed butter spread on sourdough rye bread, a pair of over-easy pastured eggs from our ladies in the barn and a tall glass of raw milk. For lunch, we would feast on a large garden salad grown in sustainable and rich, luscious soil along and we would wrap up our day with chicken soup made with home-made egg einkorn pasta and chicken stock.
Unfortunately for us, life is anything but perfect. Most mornings, I alternate between oatmeal and eggs…again. For lunch, it’s almost always leftovers from the night before. And dinner, well, let’s just say that’s the only meal my family is looking forward to because they know it will be
But there is one thing I can count on during the summer and fall months and that is the jars and jars of cultured veggies from this easy sauerkraut to these more audacious green tomatoes. Cultured veggies are a staple around here and for good reasons. Traditionally, culturing versus canning vegetables was the prefered method of food preservation because it allows the process of lacto-fermentation to produce prolific beneficial bacteria and thus avoids the use of vinegars. Therefore, you’re consuming plenty of probiotics just by feasting on fermented foods. You see, our great-grandparents were ‘crunchy’ even before ‘crunchy’ became a word. The downside to lacto-fermentation is that once your goodies ferment, they do need to be stored in the refrigerator or a cellar like your great-grandma used.
So, on those busy summer days between pool fun and bike rides, I can rely on these cultured tomatoes to provide not just our vegetable serving but also the probiotics for a healthy gut.
These can also be a tad more fancier with added carrots and thinly sliced jalapenos. But I kept these simple with just garlic and dill. As far as the brine, I always suggest that the brine be more salty than your preference because the tomatoes will absorb the salt and remember, that is how they are preserved is because of the salt content?!
Start by bringing water to a boil. Add the salt and combine well until the salt is dissolved. Set aside to cool.
Wash your tomatoes and slice them in half but not through. Leave a small part intact so they will hold in the jar during fermentation. Spread them out on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with celtic salt.
Finely chop dill and mince garlic. Combine the two together.
Generously spread the garlic/dill mixture on each tomato piece.
Put garlic and spices on the bottom of the jar. Bring the tomato halves together and place them carefully in the jar.
Pour the chilled brine over the tomatoes and set to ferment for 2-3 days at room temperature. During those first few days, keep checking to see if the tomatoes have enough salt and tang to them. If they are not salty enough, simply pour a 2-3 cups of brine into a jar and add another tablespoon of salt. Stir well and pour back into the tomato jar. If it needs more tang, simply let them stay at room temperature for one more day. Tomatoes should be ready in three days, depending on the temperature of your house. After they have been cultured, they should be kept in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.