Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Brine Fail

Remember a bowl of those green tomatoes from our last post? I brined them. The short story - not that good.

I decided to spice the brine up with some ginger, dried chilis, clove, peppercorn, and fennel. Then I put tomatoes in at various stages of cutting. Some I chopped in half, some I cut incisions, and some I left totally alone.

Just about everything went wrong. The brine had too much going on. When the taste did come out in the tomatoes, it was reminiscent of cough syrup. Weak cough syrup mind you, but cough syrup all the same. On the plus side, the tomatoes didn't get mushy.

You really have to put some cuts into the veggies. I could not taste any of the brine on the tomatoes I left alone, which in retrospect doesn't displease me at all, but that still meant I was chewing boring green tomatoes. I'll put it out there right now, not my favorite. Something to remember for the future - cut up your stuff.

Last thing to boot - the jar that I was brining things in developed a crack (no idea how), so brining the green tomatoes was it's last adventure before being recycled. We had some good times with that jar. We originally got it and others to store cookies for our wedding. We made homemade cookies as wedding favors. Well, actually I should say that Chrissie made the cookies. The jar survived three moves, but I guess it couldn't survive this.

Chrissie was reading about green tomatoes last week and she told me an interesting tid-bit: all tomatoes have the same nutritional value regardless of ripeness. That's something for a silver lining at least.

If there ever is a next time on the brining, I'm going to have to use more salt. I also really want to add some sort of savory in there too, but I don't trust putting anything fatty or oily in there. I think it'll go rancid. Lately, my solution for this predicament is to add MSG, but I'd rather not resort to that because I don't want to be known as "that MSG guy." I will admit though, it's pretty tasty.

PS - there probably will be a next time on brining because that's how you make sauerkraut and that's something I really want to do. Point of interest, most commercially, mass produced sauerkraut is made by altering the cabbage with a mix of chemicals. I'm always disappointed when I open up a bag of kraut that I get from the grocery store shelf and I think that's the reason why. It just doesn't have the same something-something that traditionally made kraut does.

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