As a child we used to get green tomato pickles from Williams Chicken near my Grandmothers. They would be floating in a large plastic tub of brine and they were sour and delicious. My brother was mildly addicted to them. Even though I understand his obsession with them, I still do not fully understand the night he created, "Green tomato stuffed hamburgers". Let me just suggest you never attempt to make them and leave it at that. Although I have to admit the vegetable soup with the egg poached in it he made another time was worse, maybe it was the addition of the melted stinky cheese.
Several years ago I consulted the Ball Blue Book and tried to make green tomato pickles. Some folks liked them, but for me it did not match my memory of pickled green tomatoes. This summer when I was making lacto fermented pickles I realized the pickled green tomatoes we all loved where lacto fermented, not vinegar, salt and water. The folks from Flack Family Farm told me to use the same procedure I would use for any vegetable. Then they thanked me for giving them an idea for using their green tomatoes.
The good news is this method of pickling couldn't be easier, no boiling water bath canner, no hot brine. Plus lacto fermented foods are super foods, in modest quantities anyway. They improve vitamin absorption and correct the environment of your digestive system. The down side is after 3-4 days at room temperature they have to be stored in the fridge. The basic procedure comes from the Nourishing Traditions cookbook. Although there is no recipe for green tomato pickles in the book. It is better to make the pickles with homemade whey as they are lower in salt and it works more consistently. Whey is really simple to make using full fat yogurt that active yogurt cultures. The only downside to making it with whey is you have to plan ahead, and have yogurt in the house.
Lacto Fermented Green Tomato Pickles
For 1 quart (make as many or as few as you wish to store)
1 wide mouth quart preserving jar
enough green tomatoes to fill the jar to 1 inch below the lid (only use tomatoes that are totally green, the ones that made you crazy at the start of the summer)
1 dill head or 1 fresh dill sprig or 2 Tbsp dried dill or dill seed)
1 hot pepper with the stem pulled off (optional)
1 large or 2 medium or 3 small cloves of garlic
1 Tbsp canning and pickling salt
4 Tbsp homemade whey (or substitute an additional Tbsp of canning and pickling salt)
Wash the tomatoes and remove their stems and place in the clean wide mouth jar to 1 inch below the rim. Add the garlic and hot pepper between the tomatoes and add the salt and whey, if using. Fill the jars with water to 1 inch below the rim and screw on the lids. Store at room temperature for 3-4 days (3 days when kept at 72°) before placing on the top shelf of your fridge. They can be eaten after the 3 - 4 days but are better after a month of storage. It's normal if the brine is fizzy or there is white foam floating on the top. If the pickles go bad the smell will be completely off and you won't want to eat them.
As a full disclosure thing, the green tomatoes in the photo are not fermented yet. When done they will be more of an olive green color. I just wanted to post this while there were still green tomatoes for people to use.