A PICKLE RECIPE, COOKED UP BY A CANNY SCOT MORE THAN 100 YEARS AGO, NEVER GOES TO WASTE THESE DAYS.
Originating in Scotland more than 100 years ago, this family recipe for green tomato pickles is flflavoured with Indian spices.
THE SCOTS HAVE A REPUTATION for frugality and Sharon Forrest believes this trait prompted her great-grandmother, Isabelle Bryce (right), born in Scotland in 1875, to come up with this pickle recipe. “I guess there were plenty of unripened tomatoes at the end of the cool Scottish summer. My great-grandmother was notorious for being thrifty and this was a great way of using up the green fruit,” says Sharon, who’s the fourth generation of her family to make the recipe. When Isabelle emigrated to Australia, she brought the recipe with her and later passed it on to her son Wallace. “My grandfather, Wallace, liked to cook,” says Sharon. “My mother, Nancy, remembers helping her dad chop the onions and tomatoes in the kitchen of the weatherboard home her family rented in Richmond, Melbourne, in the 1940s. Mum showed me how to make the recipe when I was 11 or 12, and when my daughter, Hayley, was a teenager I got her to help me cut up the onions for the pickles.” While she’s very proud of this family heirloom, Sharon admits to tweaking the century-old recipe, cutting down the amount of sugar used and substituting raw caster for white sugar. She believes it’s essential to use a good-quality curry powder, which she now buys from a local Indian grocery store. A jar of green tomato pickles is always set aside to serve with Christmas ham, and Sharon says it’s delicious on corned beef sandwiches and with cheddar. When she put the pickles on a cheese platter at her daughter’s wedding a few years ago, one of the groom’s mates made her promise to save a jar for him the next time she made a batch. “I get these requests every time I pull out a jar at a family celebration,” says Sharon, who ends up giving away half of the tomato pickles she makes.
GREEN TOMATO PICKLES
Makes about 8 cups 2kg green tomatoes 1kg brown onions, peeled 2 tablespoons salt 500g raw caster sugar 2½ cups brown vinegar 2 tablespoons good-quality curry powder 1 tablespoon brown mustard seeds 1 tablespoon ground turmeric ½ cup cornflour Cut tomatoes and onions into 1.5cm chunks, then place in a large glass or ceramic bowl. Sprinkle with salt and stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and stand overnight at room temperature. Drain tomato mixture. Place tomato mixture, sugar, vinegar, curry powder, mustard seeds and turmeric in a large saucepan and bring to boil over a high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 1½ hours or until tomato is starting to break down and liquid is reduced by half. Combine cornflour and 1/3 cup water in a small bowl. Add cornflour mixture to pickle and stir to combine. Simmer, stirring, for 1–2 minutes or until pickle thickens. Ladle hot pickle into warm sterilised jars and seal immediately. Label, date and store in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months. Store in refrigerator after opening and use within 4 weeks.
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Do you have a recipe that has been passed down through generations? Send us your recipe, the story behind it and a photograph (preferably a copy or scan) of the relative who passed it on. Remember to include a daytime telephone number. Email Sarah Neil at email@example.com or send a letter to Heirloom Recipe, Country Style, Locked Bag 5030, Alexandria NSW 2015. Note: recipes may also be published online at homelife.com.au If you look forward to this page each month, you’ll love Country Style Heirloom Recipes, $16.99, a collection of 28 recipes and the stories of the people who made them special. Available at magsonline.com. au/country-style-specials