I know you've been waiting to hear more from the green tomato oracle... Look!
After 90 pounds of them -- some pickled, some chutneyed, some marmaladed, some salsa'd, some fried -- there is one single green tomato left because all the rest have ripened on the kitchen windowsill. I'm sure this last green one will be orange by tomorrow. So there you have it: the green tomato transformation is almost complete! We have cared for each and every one of the misunderstood beauties!
Remember where we started from? The first 58 pounds of green tomatoes? I truly had no idea what I was getting myself into. Then there were the 30 pounds that came later... Ack! But now they've all been honored in some way.
You also may be wondering what happened to my first batch of sauerkraut, made in the Harsch crock... I had planned to wait at least a month, but I had a funny feeling about it this last weekend and opened the crock for the first time.
I was scared, and my heart was beating so fast. Nothing looked weird. It smelled very much like sauerkraut. I lifted up the weights and scooped some out into a bowl. It tasted like sauerkraut. It tasted great. The texture was proper and crunchy. I liked what the apples and kale did for the mixture. The flavor right now is refreshing but complex -- not too salty.
Most importantly, I am not dead yet! So hooray for making real, live sauerkraut!
Many folks recommend taking out enough kraut for a few days' use and letting the rest continue fermenting in the crock -- hence the half-filled jar in the photo. (Also, apologies, I'm not sure if sauerkraut is very photogenic, but I wanted to document that real sauerkraut was achieved.) I'd say I have enough for another month's use so maybe in a couple of weeks I'll take it all out of the crock and start again. From what I understand, the probiotics remain viable and healthful when they're refrigerated, but the fermentation process slows down substantially.
The goal is to have alive, fermented foods every day, year after year. Also, I see an advantage to having two of these amazing Harsch crocks. When one is occupied, it's out-of-service for other pickling projects. (Jennifer, the pickled green tomatoes you remember were made this way -- with just salt, no vinegar or heat processing.)
I'm pleased all around.