Green Tomato Pickles


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Green Tomato Pickles

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Due to school closures because of COVID-19 in the spring of 2020, I finally had time to start a vegetable garden. This was something that I had wanted to do for years, but by the time I was out of school in June and had the time, it was too late in the season to begin. As a side note, the fact that school buildings were closed in no way means we teachers were not working hard to try to continue the education process for our students. The pandemic did change how we taught, though, giving me more time to finally begin my vegetable garden. This story is specifically about my tomato plants and the green tomato pickles I made from them.
I originally began my tomato plants from seeds on my kitchen windowsill in April. In mid-May, when they were about 8 inches tall, I transplanted them to a raised garden bed. This was my first experience growing a garden, so I overdid it with the number of vegetables I attempted to grow in my 4’ x 4’ space. Besides the tomatoes, I planted green beans, carrots, onions, beets, squash, zucchini, and cucumbers. The tomatoes and squash took over and that was all I got.
For some unknown reason, the first set of blossoms on the tomato plants didn’t produce any fruit. Late in the summer, I finally started to see some fruit, and it was early September before I was able to harvest any. At that point, though, they exploded with fruit. I live in the high desert north of Los Angeles and our weather is not quite as mild as the rest of LA County. We go our first freeze in mid-October. At that point I harvested about 5 lbs. of green tomatoes. A friend of mine had the same issue and decided to make green tomato salsa. I decided to make green tomato pickles.
I used a combination of recipes. I have a Little House on the Prairie Cookbook that I experiment with from time to time, but I modified some of the spices that recipe called for because I wanted dill pickles. So, I played around with it until I had what I wanted. They were excellent!
Then I did one more thing that I had never done before. I experimented with hot water bath canning so that I could preserve them longer. I ended up with eight jars of green tomato dill pickles, some of which made their way into Christmas gift baskets for friends and family. All of this was because I had more time on my hands due to COVID-19 and California’s Stay at Home order.

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This item was submitted on August 8, 2021 by Deanna Schaefer using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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