I remember my grandpa making his own pickled green tomatoes and banana peppers in a crock in our kitchen. They were fantastic so I recently asked my uncle Gary, my grandma's brother, if he had the recipe because I'd heard he did. And he did. I was going to keep it to myself but why not spread the love. By the way, I did some research and as I thought, it looks like this recipe is very much a southern Italian thing. My great grandpa Joe Franco must have taught his son, my grandpa, how to make it. This recipe knocks it out of the park. The pickle guy at the local farmer's market does an okay job, but pales in comparison to this. I hope I can keep the tradition going. Here's what uncle Gary had to say:
Chip (my cousin) makes the famous Paul's Italian "recipe" more often than I do, so he might be able to help you more than I, but, here goes;
First you MUST have a good, seasoned, crock or churn.Paul had a good one and Ruth may still have it. I think 1 or 2 gallons is ideal. You need the following:
Green tomatoes (NO pink in them)
Sweet Banana Peppers
Hot Banana Peppers
PLAIN Salt not iodized.-box (Chip covers the veggies completely, like it snowed)
Garlic cloves peeled and sliced
Anise seed and/or Fennel seed (use both!)
Glass plate--not plastic-to fit inside the crock
A CLEAN River rock
Slice the tomatoes 1/8" thick
Remove seeds from peppers and slice lengthwise (WEAR RUBBER GLOVES! THE HOT PEPPERS WILL BURN YOUR HANDS OFF!!!!)
Place three layers of tomatoes, one layer each of the peppers on top of tomatoes. Add a few slices of garlic. Sprinkle tsp of fennel seed and 1/2 tsp of Anise seed. Salt liberally 1/3 to 1/2 cup.
Repeat this process until the crock is 2/3 full or you use all your ingredients.
Place the plate upside down directly on the pickles, place the rock on the plate for weight. Cover with cheese cloth and a dish towel. Place in a cool, dark place and do not disturb for two weeks. Good luck on that one!
After two weeks, take out a few tomatoes and peppers, wash with cold water and cover with a little olive oil. If they taste good to you, empty the crock, wash them in cold water, cover with a thin layer of Olive oil, and pack in jars. You can refrigerate and they will last a while--maybe 3 months.
This concoction is very tempermental. Sometimes they will turn soft and be no good. Sometimes they will mold badly and you cant use them. The brine is UGLY, so dont let that bother you and a little mold usually is ok--just wash them good.
Your Uncle Lou insisted you had to make them in the sign of the bowels--check your Farmers Almanac for that one. Uncle George believed you had to make them in the dark of the moon. Paul and I believed you should make them when you had tomatoes and time (Ha!! That's my grandpa). He had a much higher success rate than I did.
Some people add various other ingredients, ie, green apple slices, green pepper slices, or cucumbers. I didn't like any of those.