Leanne, I do not know how I missed your question, but since this thread came back up the other day I re-read it all over agian and realise I owe you a recipe.
Have to say I miss Rogov teribly,
I loved my friendly arguments/conversations with him about original Jewish foods that we both grew up with, he in NY and I in Ukraine (the real source). I am sure if he was around we would have a good fight about the tomatoes too, but alas live goes on.
Here is my grandma's recipe past on to my mom and then to me.
No canning required, the pickling, that takes up to 2 weeks, has to be done at the room temperature. I recommend the kitchen, but as far away from stove as possible.
I buy a box of tomatoes at the farmers market. It fills in the 5 gallon pail that I bought at a restaurant supply store, but you can use an enamel-plated pot or even a large jar.
This is to pickle a large quantity of tomatoes; however you can scale it down to whatever quantity you have or want to make.
Tomatoes to fill your container
1-2 bunch of dill.
1 or 2 large hot peppers (depends on how hot you like your tomatoes, you can even put 3)
2 heads of garlic
2 stalks of celery (cut into 2-3 inch pieces)
Bay leaves – 3-4-5
1 tspoon black peppercorns + 1 tspoon capers. I just grab it with 3 fingers whatever comes out is good enough.
Wash the tomatoes, peppers and dill. Divide the dill in half. Cut into 3-4 inch long pieces. Put ½ on the bottom of the pail. Put in tomatoes almost to the top of the pail. Evenly spread pepper, garlic, bay leaves and celery throughout the tomatoes. Cover tomatoes with the other half of the dill. Fill the pail with water/salt mixture* just enough to cover tomatoes. Put cheesecloth folded in 2 or 3 layers over the tomatoes. Put a large, flat plate to cover the top. Place a weight on top of the plate. (I use a 1 liter jar filled with water.)
*For the water/salt mixture, use 80 grams (about a table spoon full) of pickling salt for 3 liters/1 gallon of water. Dissolve before adding to tomatoes. It will take about 3 gallons of water (about 9 liters). Keep tomatoes at room temperature for about two weeks. During that time, you will see mildew form on the top. Carefully take the weight and plate out and lift the cheesecloth so that you pick up all the mildew. Wash the cheesecloth, rinse the plate and jar and put everything back. You will have to do that frequently to avoid your tomato smelling like mildew.
In about two weeks, depending on how warm the room is, the tomatoes will be ready. If they are not, they might need a couple more days. Especially true for green tomatoes. When tomatoes are ready you have to take them out and gently rinse under cold water and put into a half or a gallon size jars. I keep them in gallon jars. Put pepper and garlic in the jars also. Strain the pickling juice; apparently it’s called brine (for those who do speak English) through a cheesecloth and pour over tomatoes.
I keep my tomatoes in the refrigerator. If everything is clean, they will stay clean the whole winter, if not they may have some mildew build up on the top. Then you should take out and clean it up again. It is not a problem in the end.
If you are making a small amount, just scale it down. You can make it in a gallon size jar, for example.
P.S. The spices and the greens that I put into tomato are really not carved in stone, or whatever the saying is. For example, back in Ukraine, we used to add things like horseradish leaves, leaves of the cherry tree and/or leaves of black currant. Last year I added green capers, but this year I did not have any. So, if you are going to do that more than once, you can experiment.
P.P.S. Though this recipe is great for any tomatoes, I prefer when they are just pass the green stage but not fully ripen, not red yet. They should be somewhat orange. They taste the best, in all the truth by far better than green ones. Like everything else in America there is a reason why things done the way they done. Green tomatoes will keep the longest. I think I finished my green tomatoes from the last year sometime late August of this year. While the red ones and the orange ones were really sour by June and I had to finish them right away. Also the red ones become very soft and do not have pleasant appearance compare to green ones. I always recommend people to try making orange/reddish/red tomatoes alone with the green ones so they will taste the difference.
You are what you eat.