The Scent of Summer

Whenever I smell a fresh picked tomato, I’m instantly teleported back to my childhood summers.

My father would plant a gigantic garden every spring filled with different varieties of tomatoes, hot peppers, eggplant, corn, okra and everything you could imagine.

Every summer we would wait for the first red tomato and be so excited to taste it, usually we would just brush the dirt off and take a bite into the sun warmed delicious tomato.

I remember the heat of the summer sun beating down on all the plants, but the most distinctive scent was the tomato plants.

We would have so many big green tomatoes that we couldn’t resist picking some and making fried green tomatoes and also pickling some to eat with sandwiches, grilled meats and cheese and crackers.

The traditional way to make fried green tomatoes is by slicing the tomatoes, dipping in flour, then egg , then dredging in cornmeal and frying in oil.

The only thing I did differently is , I skipped the cornmeal and used Panko crumbs instead for a lighter, crispier crust. I also cut the tomato slices 1/4” thick to ensure a tender, cooked through center.

I love these fried in my cast iron pan with about an inch of olive / canola oil combo until brown and crispy.

A combination of fresh horseradish & mayo as a dip or just your favorite marinara sauce is Devine!

If you have never tried picked green tomatoes,you have to make them! They are just pickled in a simple brine and refrigerated, no canning procedure at all!

Early Girl tomatoes
Simple refrigerator pickled tomatoes

To make the pickled tomatoes ……

Wash and sterilize mason jars in boiling water. In a large pot, just place mason jars in boiling water and let in the water for a few minutes. Set jars aside on a dish towel to drain and cool.

Make your pickling liquid …

2 cups water, 2 cups vinegar, 2 1/2 tablespoons of pickling salt or coarse salt , 2 bay leaves, 3 cloves of garlic, 2 sprigs of oregano & 2 Tablespoons of whole pepper corns. Bring solution to a boil and let it boil 2 minutes. turn off heat and let cool.

Cut cleaned tomatoes into bite sized wedges and stuff into the clean jars. I like to add purple onion slices, peeled garlic cloves , a cayenne pepper to each jar , a bay leaf and extra peppercorns.

Top with the pickling liquid and seal your lids.

Let the tomatoes sit in the refrigerator for one week to let all the flavours marry. These will keep for a month in the refrigerator.

First green tomato! Early Girl.
The tomato stalker.

I hope you are enjoying all the sights, sounds and smells of summer! Eat well & enjoy!

Xoxo, Erin

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