Citizens, at this time last year, the mighty Generalissimo – TFD Himself! – had the pleasure of visiting Moscow for the first time! While there, I sampled pickles of the widest imaginable range, each more delicious and crunchy than the last! 🙂 Pickled tomatoes were amongst the most delicious, and it is this recipe and technique I wish to share with you today!
As written on happykitchen.rocks, where I first found the foundation recipe for my own:
They are nothing like pickled tomatoes you buy in a shop. The key agent in Russian pickles is salt and not vinegar and that’s what makes them special.
The whole canning story has its deep roots in Russian history. People were canning food they couldn’t save for winter, so that they don’t get in trouble during six months of cold and snow. There is a saying: “Prepare the sled in summer, and the cart in winter”, meaning “while it is fine weather mend your sails”.
It was a good idea to plan your nourishment ahead. It still is but it’s not hard to find fresh food all year round any more. Nevertheless, canning is still widely popular in Russia. Some do it out of necessity, some are just used to do it every year, some like to enjoy healthy zakuski (appetizers) in winter rather than consume processed food, and some are like me: nostalgic and enthusiastic about trying new things.
Homemade pickles have significant health benefits: they enhance the vitamin and enzyme content of vegetables being pickled as well as improve the digestibility of the food you eat along with it!
It makes them perfect for holiday meals when you eat a lot of heavy food. Moreover, the pickle juice can save your hangover mornings as it restores your salt and electrolyte balance, making you feel better.
Like all good pickle recipes, it is imperative that you use leaves of a certain type in the recipe – specifically, those rich in tannins that help to both flavor the pickle and most importantly to keep them crisp. Oak leaves are the classic in Russian pickles, and I have added in herbs and a good hit of spice from horseradish and a touch of chili.
These are not difficult to make – just be sure to keep your hands scrupulously clean while making them and NEVER reach into the jar with your fingers, lest you contaminate the brine with bacteria that will ruin the pickles.
Battle on – The Generalissimo
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