As long as gardeners stayed on top of their watering, this summer was a good one for growing tomatoes in Philadelphia (as well as up and down the east coast). We had a ton of heat, which turned bushels of tomatoes sweet and red. I got more than 10 quarts of grape and cherry tomatoes from the three plants in my tiny community garden plot alone.
However, out in the Pacific Northwest, gardeners were not so lucky. They didn’t get nearly enough of the hot nights and sunny days that make for ripe tomatoes. My parents got nary a red tomato and while they’ve picked a bunch to slowly ripen in the garage, they’ve still got a slew of green tomatoes that need to be dealt with.
For those of you who are suffering from a fate similar to my parents’, with mountains of green tomatoes heaped upon all available surfaces, I offer up this little recipe. My proportions are based upon a single pound of green tomatoes, for as abundant as they are out west, I had a heck of a time finding enough out this way to fill even two 12-ounce jars. A friend out in Lancaster County sent me a few of her spares, but they’ve been entirely absent at my regular haunts.
I’m grateful to have these though, and I hope that those of you who are swimming in greens find the time to put a few jars up this way.
Pickled Green Tomatoes
- 1 pound green tomatoes stemmed and cut into wedges
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pickling salt
- 2 teaspoons dill seed
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon peppercorn
- 2 bay leaves
Place the following into the bottom of each hot, ready-for-canning jar:
- 1 teaspoon dill seed
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon peppercorn
- 1 bay leaf
- Combine vinegar, water and salt and bring to a boil.
- Pack green tomato wedges into the jars. Pour brine slowly into the jars. Use a wooden chopstick to remove the air bubbles and add a bit of additional brine if necessary. Wipe rims, apply simmered lids and screw on bands.
- Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes. When time is up, remove jars from canner and let them cool on a towel-lined countertop. When jars are completely cool, remove rings and test seals by grasping the edges of the lid and lifting the jar. If the lids hold fast, the seal is good.
- Store in a cool, dark place for up to one year. Pickles are good to eat after one week of curing. They are particularly good with sandwiches and stews.
You’re right about the pacific northwest getting shafted on the tomatoes this year! I live in Silicon Valley and got over 100 pounds from my garden last year…lucky if I got 20 this year. Drats. There’s always next year, right?
I’m a huge fan of pickled green tomatoes… This year 10 of my 20 tomatoe plants mysteriously became cherry tomatoe plants lol mix up at the nursery most likely…I made slews of pickled green cherry tomatoes… I however add, a slice of jalapeno, a stick of celery, and slices of onion yum yum yummmy!!!
is there any way you could email me that recipe to can green cherry tomatoes.I have about a gallon i had to pick before frost.One time i ate some somebody got from the omish and they were delicious and i would like to try it.
do you pickle your cherry tomatoes whole or slice them in half? I have some I want to pickle and can not decide whether ti do them whole or not.
Looks lovely. Except in Seattle this year we don’t need the small batch version of the recipe…
Perfect timing! In Berkeley my son harvested today and it’s sad to report that there’s slot more greens than ripened tomatoes. And the weather is becoming downright foggy and chilly. End of season. These pickles will be a great way to salvage the summer, thanks very much!
Yeah, we have tons. And the fruit just keeps developing. I have more green tomato recipes here: http://culinariaeugenius.wordpress.com/2010/09/25/its-not-easy-being-green-tomatoes/ .
I made pickled tomatoes earlier in the season, and I must say, I’m not sure how I feel about them. It’s not something I ate growing up. I’ll have to try your recipe.
this is great advice especially for a newbie! cheers kari
I do feel badly about all the tomatoes we’re getting, while the Northwest gets nothing. The only thing that makes me feel better is that last year it was the exact opposite. I may be able to find enough green tomatoes out there to try this. I’m still canning the red ones too.
Thanks! I’ve been looking for a good green tomato recipe. This will wipe out my tomato crop for the year. My chickens will get the ones the bugs took just one bite out of and left the rest to rot! It was a great year for tomatoes in the East…sorry for the lack of them in the Northwest…but, when given green tomatoes, you make pickles!
I’m in the mountains of San Diego. What we really had an overwhelming batch of this year was grrrrrr-ound squirrels. I got some red tomatoes from my 6 hanging planters, but the squirrels got almost every single tomato off my 7 ground plants well before they turned red. However, they rejected most of the cherry tomatoes which never did turn red. I picked them and went straight in the house and used your previous pickle recipe, added bayleaves and used fresh dill and came out with 6 pints and also did 2 pints of baby asparagus which was sitting around and added a few baby carrots to fill those jars. My only dilemma was that while I found reference to cherry tomatoes, nobody said do you cut them as well? I took the chance and dilled them whole — we can only wait and see I suppose. Next year I hope to have a squirrel-proof greenhouse!
My apartment manager (and yes, I’m in Seattle) has a wonderful container garden spread about our parking lot, but I don’t think I’m allowed to pick any of the oodles and GOBS of green tomatoes just sitting back there wanting to be pickled! Boo! Perhaps if I send him a little email suggesting he pickles them…maybe he’ll be nice and let me have some? 😉
Love your site! How timely that you are posting this. I pickled green tomatoes last year using the recipe in the updated Ball Complete Book of Home Canning and found them to be soft, but very tasty. I thought perhaps waiting three or four days before canning was the problem, so this year (on 9/17) I picked 6 pints worth of green cherry tomatoes and canned the same day. After sitting for a week they were tasty but soft. I suspect the processing time in the Ball book of 15 minutes is too long. In addition to the garlic and fresh dill called for in each jar, I added some additional spicing ingredients per jar: fresh bay leaf (I have a tree), 1/8 tsp mustard, coriander, & celery seeds, 3 whole allspice, pinch of red pepper flakes and a combo of white & black peppercorns. I noticed you processed for 10 minutes; can you comment on the firm/soft texture? I still have plenty of green tomatoes on the vine and have actually had several pounds of ripe ones in the past month here in sunless Seattle.
i don’t even want to tell you how many green tomatoes i’ve had! but they’ve all gone the way of salsa and jam. next year, however, if i’m just as unlucky in the tomato camp, i’ll be making these! xo
I just made pickled green tomatoes from my garden last week. I never made them before so hopefully they’ll be good, but honestly anything tastes good pickled.
How do they taste? I’m about to have a LOT of green tomatoes (it was 38 in Chicago last night, I probably should have pulled them already), but my Joy of Pickling book says they have kind of a bitter flavor and I don’t want to make something I’m not going to like…
Could anyone with knowledge tell me whether it’s dangerous to can tomatoes with the skins? My son said he did just that, and it freaked me out. I, personally, have never heard of such a thing. So, is it dangerous, or just foolish, and not dangerous? Maybe I should just get him a juicer for Christmas…
Julie, it’s not dangerous to can tomatoes with the skins on. They typically get tough and/or bitter when canned, which is why they are typically removed.
Help! When is it time to pick the green ones? Our weather has cooled down and we’ve had a couple nights of near to or at freezing weather. It’s supposed to warm back up, though, but I’m wondering if I should go ahead an pick them or hope for a little more warm weather. We’re at 6,000 feet, and the high for the next week is predicted to be 75, which we may not hit.
So what do they taste like? Crisp? Soft? Sour? Bitter? Trying to decide if I want to try this or not…
oh, i have a lot of green tomatoes out of my london garden, i was just wondering what to do with. i’ve made mincemeat and have plans for chutney, but i think this looks gorgeous! i missed pickling cucumbers, so this will make up for it!
I was a total glutton for fried green tomatoes this summer and since I’m on the east coast we really didn’t get too much in the way of green tomatoes, now I’m wishing I’d saved at least a couple to make these! I was also so focused on making jam that my piddly little stores of dill pickles are quickly fading and we have barely made it into autumn. Next year.
I’m just throwing it out there, but I wonder if you could serve just a touch of these with a strong flavoured meat, kind of like a chutney..
Would it be okay to use halved cherry tomatoes in this recipe as long as the amounts are the same? I imagine they’d cook faster and maybe be soft/slimy. Is that all I’d need to be concerned about?
Tara, they would definitely cook faster and I am afraid that they might have a softer consistency than you’re after.
My mom won the ‘best in show’ recipe at the Minnesota State Fair in the 1970s with her Green Tomato Pickles. She had garlic and a couple of red peppers (the long skinny ones) in each jar, along with the dill, celery, and maybe a slice of green bell pepper. These were a bit on the hot side, and we enjoyed watching the judges at the county fair during judging time. They’d open the jars, of course, and taste a pickled tomato from each one. The reaction was “WOW!”. Usually green tomatoes are pickled with just dill or garlic. These with the red pepper give you quite the kick!
I have searched all pickled green tomato recipes & have not found the answer to this. this will be 2nd time pickling small green cherry tomatoes. Taste good but soft, not firm. Has anyone added pickle crisp or similar to recipe to get crisp texture? I also still use the method of soaking cucumbers in lime water before pickling, so considered that. We wash cucumbers 3 times, once every hour to remove lime water.
A little alum also helps to keep them crisp. You can find it in the spice aisle. Trying this recipe and some others for green tomatoes this year. We had an extremely wet spring this year and my tomatoes did not go into the ground until June 6th or so. Now we are having damp weather and cold nights so I am harvesting all of the tomatoes in fear that they will rot if left unpicked. So LOTS of green ones. More green than ripe this year.
You can add one grape leaf to the jar, I do that with pickles to help keep crunchy.
This year I got four bags of green tomatos, I think I’ll try your way to have some very good tasting little treats. Can’t what to try them. Thank you for tbe resipe
Just used your recipe!! Thank you much 🙂
I made these the other day and they look great, but I have a question. One of the jars seems to have some movement in it. I keep seeing some of the spices moving around and some air bubbles floating up — is this jar no good?? This is my first pickling experience and I’d prefer not to poison my husband (or myself!) HELP! 🙂
I grew up in Eastern Europe. Cold winters meant we canned everything in Summer. I am particularly fond of my mom’s pickled green tomatoes. Your recipe evokes memories. It was just as simple and delicious as you describe it. I do remember however that folks in those days some 35 years ago often did not slice the tomatoes before pickling. Thank you for bringing back memories. I never tried pickling anything but now with your recipe I will, since I have just about 1lb of green tomatoes from my amateur garden. Take care. V
This recipe looks FABULOUS! I had never pickled or canned until last night. Everything went well and I’m now set with 4 small jars of pickled green tomatoes! I truly wish, however, that I had come across this site and recipe FIRST because I am not a big fan of the flavor I got out of these. WAY too much salt and celery seed… but I minimized a large batch recipe and it just didn’t translate well…. so what I am going to do is bookmark this and try your recipe out with next year’s green tomato harvest! THANK YOU SO MUCH:))
or maybe I’ll ask around and try to get another batch of green tomatoes to do now hehehe…
Hi! I was looking at this recipe for a possible 4-H project. I was wondering, what do you do with pickled green tomatoes? Thanks!
Ella, there’s no particular thing you do with pickled green tomatoes. Essentially, you just eat them. They’re good with cheese, with sandwiches or with soup.
Just tryed them today so far they look good in the jars
I am looki9ng for an old fashioned receipe for pickled green tomatoes. I have not had any for years. I pickled some about a year ago and they are just not the same. Feel free to message me if you think you have anold fashioned receipe.
hi, i do not have a boiling water canner, can i make these without one?
I made this recipe over the weekend. I filled two 12-oz jars with the green tomatoes but needed to make two batches of the brine in order to have enough liquid to cover the tomatoes. Did I do something wrong – or did others encounter this same issue? I’m new to pickling and preserving.
If you needed a full cup of liquid for each jar of pickles, you didn’t pack the tomatoes tightly enough into the jars. The 12 ounce jars only 1 1/2 cups, so if you had to double the brine, that means that in the end, you only had a 1/2 cup of tomatoes in each jar.
NO Claudia! I encountered the SAME problem! I just made a large batch of brine the second time and tripled the recipe to ensure I had enough.
no Claudia I had to make several batches of brine, next time i’ll just make a bigger batch
I made green tomatoes, after a week opened a jar and they were mushy. What did I do wrong?
Pickles processed in a hot water bath often lose their texture some. There’s no way to retain the crispness of raw veg in preserves food.
Does anyone have a green tomatoe receipt that the tomatoes stay crispy??????
I need some help! I’ve pickled green tomatoes both as salt-fermented brined pickles and as vinegar canned pickles. I think I prefer the firmer texture of the fermented ones. But no matter what I’ve tried they have been so bitter as to be inedible. I’m not talking about sour, which I like. I know that many people conflate them. These have a horrible bitter astringent flavor that just can not be eaten. What am I doing wrong?
I am not a fermentation expert, so I can’t really guide you here. I’d suggest you reach out to someone with more fermentation knowledge than I.
Could this be done with whole, green cherry tomatoes? I have a pound of them, and they would a super fun addition to a cheese board! Thanks!
You can certainly use those tomatoes.