Kyrgyzstan 1985, I am 6 years old and watch how my mother cleans out the large 200 litre oak barrel that was used in last season’s fermentation. In this barrel were added copious amounts of shredded cabbage and carrots to make sauerkraut. In another barrel filled with brine, tomatoes, cucumbers and watermelons were placed, and beautifully decorated with dill crowns, cherry, blackcurrant, and long horseradish leaves.
Everything was stored in the cool food cellar for a whole year. And often, during cold winter days, I was sent down into the cellar to stick my hand in the icy water, through the thin layer of white top yeast and pick up delicious tomatoes.
The difference between pickled and lacto-fermented is that pickled vegetables are preserved by adding something sour, such as vinegar. Lacto-fermented vegetables produce their own acid with the help of lactic acid bacteria that are found naturally in the vegetables. The salt helps the vegetables to remain crispy, slows down the fermentation process and helps keep unwanted bacteria at bay.
In Georgia and other Eastern European countries, unripe tomatoes are often used. They keep their firm consistency and are served in wedges. It is great to use tomatoes that do not have time to ripen during our short Swedish summer. But it is also possible to take ripe tomatoes. Whatever tomatoes you take, they will be transformed into a tasty delicacy with the scent of herbs and garlic. Serve them as they are, as a seasoning for salads, or to make savoury salsa.
Here is the recipe from the book “Blue mountains, green food, orange wine. Recipes and stories from Georgia ” (available in Swedish – adlink here) written by Charlotte Dos Santos Pruth and me. We received a lot of positive feedback from our readers on this particular recipe.Print
- Servings : 4 1x
1 L glass jar
4 medium-sized tomatoes
2 dl chopped fresh coriander
2 dl chopped parsley
1 dl chopped dill
3 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon salt for the brine: 25 g (1 tbsp) salt without iodine per liter of water
Cut a cross on top of the tomatoes with a sharp knife. The cross should be deep enough to press in the filling without cutting through the tomatoes.
Mix the filling in a bowl: coriander, parsley and dill. Chop or press the garlic. Mix the herbs with garlic and salt.
Fill the tomatoes with the herb mixture. Put them in a jar.
Dissolve salt in lukewarm water. Pour the brine over the tomatoes until the edges. Put the top on. Keep in room temperature for four days, then move to the refrigerator or another cool place.
The tomatoes are good to eat even after the first fermentation at room temperature. They become lightly salted and fizzy. After another five days in the refrigerator, the taste will mature even more.
Extra! You can add some whole cherry tomatoes to fill the space in the jar. I call them tomato bombs – they explode like a taste bomb in the mouth.
This is a guest post. Any opinions expressed are the writer’s own.