Right now the garden is just bursting with produce! One of the crops that is producing buckets full almost daily are our cherry tomatoes. And while we absolutely love them, the plants are producing more than we can eat in a day. As a matter of interest, if you have the opportunity to grow heirloom black cherry tomatoes, I highly recommend that you do. They are by far our favourite tomato of the season. We got ours from The Cottage Gardener.
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Freezing wasn’t really an option for me when it came to preserving our cherry tomatoes. While I’m sure they would freeze well, we simply don’t have the space this year and the priority is the paste tomatoes.
Side Note: If you freeze paste tomatoes you will have two awesome by-products to this process. When they thaw all the water pools at the bottom so I just snip the corner off the bag and drain all the water out (less boiling time in your pot!) Secondly the skins slip right off which means no blanching either. Even if you only freeze them for a few days before you use them, that’s all the time they need.
But I digress..
Back to the cherry tomato dilemma. Having so many tomatoes I decided I would risk losing some of them to a lacto-fermented based experiment. Turns out it was not a loss at all and instead it was an amazing success!! In fact I will be making two more batches tonight because they are so delicious. They are fizzy and tangy and full of flavour (not to mention healthy gut-promoting bacteria).
If you are familiar with fermentation you will also know that this is a preservation method as well. Cherry tomatoes are a short ferment (2-4 days) and once they are done and to your flavour satisfaction, you put on a lid and store then in the fridge. They will keep this way (as long as the tomatoes remain under the brine) for a very very long time.
- quart/1 litre sized mason jar
- enough cherry tomatoes to fill your jar
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2 sprigs of rosemary (other spices are an option too… this is only limited to your imagination!)
- 2 cups of water
- 1.5 tbsp of sea salt
- fermentation weight (optional)
- Pickle pipe (optional)
- Ensure your jar and fermentation weights are thoroughly washed and sterilized (this is to avoid introducing foreign bacteria to your ferments).
- Wash your cherry tomatoes, peel your garlic and gather your rosemary.
- Measure out 2 cups of water and add your sea salt to it. Stir until the salt dissolves.
- Fill your jar (leaving at least one inch of headspace) with your garlic, rosemary and cherry tomatoes. An optional step is to poke each tomato with a toothpick which would allow the brine to enter the tomato. I haven’t found this step necessary, but some folks like to do this.
- Pour your salt water over the tomatoes ensuring that all the fruit is covered with the brine. This is where a fermentation weight comes in handy!
- If you are using a mason jar lid to cover your ferment ensure that you burp daily. If you are using a Pickle Pipe you can skip this step.
- After 2-3 days taste your tomatoes and decide if you want to ferment them for the 4 full days.
- Once they are fermented, transfer to the fridge for storage. They will store this way for up to a year.
About Pickle Pipes
I have not been asked to write a review on my Pickle Pipes, I am telling you about them because of how much I love using them! They are definitely not “necessary” when it comes to the world of fermenting but I have had so much fun and much better luck since I got mine that I definitely feel the need to tell folks about them.
The Pickle Pipe is a silicone lid that fits over a wide-mouthed Mason jar. It has a one way venting system which vents the gas that is produced during fermentation while keeping out oxygen. This completely eliminates the need for burping or maintaining water levels. It also drastically reduces the chances of mold, especially if you combine it with fermentation weights.
Constructed out of soda-lime glass (same stuff they use to make Mason jars), the handmade fermentation weights fit into your mason jar perfectly keeping each vegetable under the brine. This basically eliminates the possibility of mold completely! I love the system and can’t wait to add to my collection so I can ferment more than 4 jars at a time.
Thanks for reading and happy fermenting!