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Fermented Haole Koa Buds and Green Tomatoes


Do you love fermented foods? Adapted from Leda Meredith’s recipe for lacto-fermented green tomatoes in her book Pickling Everything, this recipe takes a further tropical twist with the addition of unopened haole koa flower buds. If you don’t have feral cherry tomatoes taking over your garden or in a wild space near you, any green tomato (seeds removed) can be subbed, just cut into chunks. So delicious!


24 whole allspice berries

8 black peppercorns

½ teaspoon mustard seeds

4 large garlic cloves, peeled

½ cup red onion, sliced

2 cups green cherry tomatoes, poked

¾ cup haole koa unopened flower buds, soaked

2 cups filtered water

3 tablespoons kosher salt (or non-iodized sea salt)


Place the unopened flower buds in a small pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10-20 minutes. The buds will change color from bright green to brown-green. Strain and let cool.


You can choose to first sterilize your jar by boiling or heating it in the oven but this is not necessary. In a quart-size mason jar, layer the green tomatoes, sliced red onion, mustard seeds, soaked and cooked haole koa flower buds, whole garlic cloves, allspice berries, and peppercorns.


In a bowl, combine the filtered water and salt. Stir to dissolve and pour over the ingredients in the mason jar, ensuring that all the green tomatoes and flower buds are completely covered. Save any leftover brine in a jar in the refrigerator for later use.


Place the jar to be fermented on a plate to allow for any liquid that may leak out. Put the canning lid on top without tightening the ring lid. You can use whatever fermentation vessel you choose.


Set aside away from direct sunlight to ferment at room temperature until bubbles begin forming at 2-7 days, depending on temperature and humidity, etc. Check the ferment daily, removing the lid and topping off with saved brine if the liquid level drops under the green tomatoes or flower buds, as you are being guided by smell. Once it has a pleasantly sour smell stop the fermentation by placing it in the refrigerator, with a sealed lid. The chilled Fermented Haole Koa Buds and Green Tomatoes are ready to eat at this point but can be stored in the fridge for a month or more.


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