Monday August 15, 2011

When I think of carefree childhood days I think of pickled green tomatoes.

I know.  It’s strange.  It should be something like, butterscotch candies, banana pudding, or Snickerdoodles.  But some of my favorite childhood memories are wrapped around pickled green tomatoes and the girl who taught me to love them.

I was a town girl.  My best friend Kerri was a country kid who lived in a sweet brick house with white dormers, flowers growing around the windows, and a wreath hanging on the front door.  We ran wild through the orchards and the wheat fields around her house.  For one whole year we lived, ate, and breathed Anne of Green Gables and Little House on the Prairie.  We went everywhere in our bib overall dresses, sun bonnets dangling down our backs, and our “Best Friends” lockets hanging from our necks.  Kerri’s mom was (and still is) a gourmet cook, who’s kitchen was always full of wonderful smelling foods.  Kerri shared her mom’s love of cooking and recipes.  That girl would eat anything!  One of her great loves was her mom’s homemade, canned, pickled green tomatoes.  I was skeptical at first, but if Kerri was eating it I was going to at least  give it try.  I was hooked from the very first bite.  We would eat an entire jar in one sitting; savoring every hot, sweet, and sour bite.     

A few weeks ago I noticed my tomato plants were loaded with green tomatoes, and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them.  I called up Kerri’s mom Colleen, who happily gave me that very same recipe.

My mom (who is my canning guru) came for the day to help me pickle the tomatoes.  We took our baskets out to what’s left of the garden, and loaded them up with green tomatoes.

We put the kids to work right away.  They helped peel garlic, twist the tops off the tomatoes, and scrub the tomatoes and celery.

They were never far from our side.

Eliza being Grammy’s helper.

The tomatoes were washed and cut into quarters.

We packed the jars and boiled the apple cider vinegar brine.

The canning took up every corner of the kitchen!  The boys stuck close to Grammy while Eliza wandered off to “love on” the poor kitty.

For one of the batches we used some of my small pear-shaped tomatoes.  I love the look of the little tomatoes in the jars!

Grandpa showed up just in time for lunch and to keep the boys busy while mom and I poured the hot brine over the tomatoes and water bathed the jars.  They played legos while we finished up the canning.

Now I have enough pickled green tomatoes to satisfy my cravings for a long time!  Just looking at them makes me smile   Not only does it bring back fond memories for me but we made fond memories in the process…

Now it’s your turn.  Humor me for a moment, and tell me about the food that brings you back to your carefree childhood days.

~ April

26 thoughts on “Monday August 15, 2011

  1. WakeUpLaughing

    I’ve never had Pickled Green Tomatoes, but I’m betting I would like them.  I LOVE Fried Green Tomato Sandwiches. My dad would make those. My grandma would can Dilly Beans (pickled green beans) and Pickled Watermelon Rind. I’ve made the Dilly Beans, but I haven’t had Pickled Watermelon Rind since I was a kid. I’d love to have it again. My other grandma would make homemade chicken and dumplings. I’ve never had any as good as hers.

  2. purpleamethyst76

    What a great post.  I would love to try your pickled green tomatoes.  Sounds so yummy. Good job!

    I’m thinking about the cookies my aunt and I would make together (she’s less than 2 years older).  My Grandma would allow us free reign in the kitchen and we would mix up snickerdoodles, eat half the dough raw, burn some and scrape the bottoms off with a fork, and bake the rest to perfection.  Happy days.  :)

    Thanks for the yummy domestic post, April.  Now I’m off to go fry donuts with my Ethan. 

  3. mytoesareblue

    ohhh those sounds so intriguing. i love the idea of you guys playing little house on the prairie and anne of green gables…i love that!!!

    what foods from when i was young did i love….well i liked stroganoff, and tatertot cassarole…my grandma always made us rice with chicken.

  4. grace_to_be

    i love anything pickled..  just finished eating some pickled beets for dinner! :)

    favorite summer food. hmm.. not sure if it’s food – but just today emma was eating twizzlers and i remembered how my brother and i would ride down to the corner store and i’d buy a pack of them w/ some kind of drink… i liked biting the ends off to make a straw and would sit and sip on that drink, eating those twizzlers for hours it seemed! :)

    fun post~  you and your mom doing this together made me smile at the thought! what a great memory. 

  5. MartinTreehouse

    Those pictures brought back memories! Lovely. Fried green tomatoes and fresh red tomatoes on mayo and bread brings back heaps of memories for me… that was our main food during the summer! That and cold soup made with bread, milk and a fruit… mmmmmm.

  6. WildWomanOfTheWest

    I love coming here. 

    Let’s see, this totally reminds me of when my dad would can any and all veggies from the garden. He would mix everything together.  It never looked very appetizing to me.  ~and I dreaded whenever it was dad’s turn to cook, and he would drag down those veggie mix jars from the cabinet.  I always opted for bread and butter those nights.

    Your pickled tomatoes look wonderful!

  7. Carsonsmom2

             I’ve never heard of them, but would love to try them! I love anything tomato. Childhood food memories…def. homemade popsicles. My mom made at least a dozen huge batches in a summer and we loved them!

  8. bamsniko22407

    My mom makes the best homemade sugar cookies with a perfectly matched homemade icing.  They always showed up at any and all special occasions and holidays.  I have actually recently picked up the recipe from my mom and have been working towards making sugar cookies just as well as she did. 

    Another savory memory is of Chirstmas bon bon’s.  They were peanut butter dipped in chocolate and just divine.  Mom only made them at Christmas which made it all the more special.

    On a side note, I LOVED Anne of Green Gables growing up!  She’s still one of my favorite books to dive back into.

  9. Iloveaholiday

    OH, I would love to have the recipe. I’ve never tried this.  We always had huge gardens growing up and worked tirelessly canning/freezing all the goodies. My Mama and I would have an assembly line going in her tiny kitchen.  We did this for so long that everything became routine and we enjoyed many conversations over beans, peas, tomatoes~you name it.  Oh and corn! My fondest memory of corn was when my aunt and uncle came to help “put up corn” one day. My Daddy, Uncle and husband took his old pickup truck to the field and filled the bed with corn.  They set up shop under the oak tree and shucked it. I would run the pan fulls of corn inside where we would wash, blanch and cut the corn off the cob.  Since it was so much, I decided to count and see just how many we handled that day.  The grand total was 1200 ears!  It makes me tired all over again just thinking about it! :)  I love making memories like this with our children.  

  10. perelandra30

    You make me miss my grandmother’s corn fritters.  When I was a girl and had the esteemed privilege of staying overnight with my mother’s mother, Gram would make corn fritters for breakfast.  I remember waking up to the smell of the corn frying in the hot fat.  That smell alone would get me out of bed and into the best of moods for the whole day.  I haven’t had corn fritters since she passed away in 1989. Just thinking about them makes my mouth water.

  11. Elizabethmarie_1

    What a fun post. I loved seeing your canning pictures. I have not canned one thing this summer yet!  I will though…=)
    What a lovely memory. And I can just imagine you in your little overall dress and hat eating green tomatoes…Oh how I used to and still do Love Anne of Green Gables!

    Ok, favorite childhood food……I guess I would have to go with meatballs….recipe created by my Grandpa. They are one of my favorites. The recipe remains top secret. When you marry into our family, you are allowed to see the recipe, but only if you promise to keep it in the family! =) 

  12. TrentTribe

    I introduced our daughters to Anne of Green Gables two Christmas’s ago.  Oh what fun to relive that bit of girlhood with my girls.  :)   The tomatoes look delish.  My mom and mother-in-law are so wonderful to can for me and in addition I try to get in some canning of my own (hasn’t happened this summer and may not with my growing belly).  A fave summer treat for me was cucumbers!  Loved to lightly salt them or dip them in ranch dressing.  A daily treat for me growing up. 

  13. quiet_hearts

    Love this post.  And I’m sure I would love your tomatoes, as I love all sour and pickled things.  And did you mention that they’re hot too?  Yum!

    Like Meg, a food that makes me remember summer at home is bread soup: bread cubes, sugar, milk, and fresh fruit.  My Mom called it ‘Farmer’s Summer Supper Soup” and we would eat it on a hot, busy day when we came in from the garden…with bananas or strawberries or peaches or whatever we had on hand.  My family turns up their noses at it and I’m not sure I care for it much myself anymore, but it was WoNdeRfuL as a kid. :)   Sour cucumber dills also remind me of home.  We ate jars and jars of those.

    How nice to make memories canning with your mom.  Mine used to live next door, but my parents moved south and I miss them both a lot.

  14. sewscrapsing

    rice pudding….we had a lot of it from “free rice” when Mom was going through school and on assistance.  It’s still my goto comfort food.  I have to really watch out, b/c it’s not exactly low anything and I can eat it for breakfast, lunch, or supper.  Or a midnight snack or a late afternoon snack or…you get the picture =)  John would love me to try these, he is on a kick where he eats the watermelon rind and they are begging for me to make watermelon rind pickles like in the little house books.  In my spare time?  maybe i should make some spare time.  Enjoy!  

  15. ABAHM

    Love Anne of Green Gables…I just reread the series.  I like picturing you and your friend having that summer of Anne and Little house! 

    I remember baking Apple strudel coffee cake for weekend breakfasts, my grandmother making us crepes for dinner when she would watch us, and frozen bananas at the harbor covered with chocolate and sprinkles!

  16. foreveranoatneygirl_n2Hisown

    i think this could work for a project post quite nicely, my dearie!! i LOVE to see jars lined up with all the goodness of summertime…seriously, those jars of pickled tomatoes are just beautiful!
    favorite summertime food? hands down, corn on the cob. we’d pick it by the truckload and my brother and i would drive the ol’ farm truck up the road and park at the busiest intersection, sell off the whole lot, and then go home with our pockets full of cash…many, many a summertime supper consisted of corn on the cob and only corn on the cob…my husband thinks i’m a little ‘odd’ when i want to serve only that for supper. but, to me? it’s both delicious and the sentimentality of it is memories sweet to feast upon as well.

  17. appalolly

    I can’t think of a food right now, and I can say that I have never had pickled green tomatoes, but I think I would like them.  I am a fan of pickled almost anything.  And your childhood with your friend…sounds SO fun. Every girl should have a best friend like that!

  18. lifeisadance

    The “green tomatoes” title grabbed me right away, because here in the south fried green tomatoes are a favorite. :) I’ve never heard of them canned, but I bet they’d be really good! Do any of you have southern roots? :)

  19. redladybug18

    Took me a minute to think of it, but it’s chicken pot pie.  I loved it growing up. It takes so much work to make it though, now I only make it probably once every 6 months :)   We do everything from scratch.  I remember growing up, while my brothers and sister would be doing school, I’d make lunch every day for them out of cut up pieces of paper and it’d always be pot pie :)

  20. georgene

    April… I have green tomatoes in my fridge. Can you post the exact recipe? I would so appreciate it.

    I have fond memories of green tomato pie from my childhood and made it this month.

    Love you and loved seeing your mom! I miss her!


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