Recipe: Pickled Green Tomatoes

The first time I had a pickled green tomato, I unequivocally declared, "this is the best olive I've ever eaten!" Wrong. So. Wrong. It was a tomolive... or a pickled green tomato... and yes, it was in a bloody mary. Keep reading and I'll divulge how you can make your own. 

Picking a green tomato

Picking a green tomato

We've had a lot of rain here in northern Virginia this summer. Actually, "a lot" is an understatement. It's a daily deluge. Forrest Gump would describe it as rain that seemed to come up from the ground... Our tomato bushes are so heavy that they break from the weight in heavy storms - yes, even if they're tied up and supported. The rain is also causing tomato blight. Its never ending over here, just trying to keep them on the vine long enough to turn red. Oy vey. 

After one of these downpours, we had a lot of tomatoes down. I was not going to throw them away, so I made pickles.  If you prefer green tomato pie, here's a recipe to try. Word of warning, if you don't like Sour Patch Kids, you may not like it though...


Pickling is one of my favorite ways to use those green tomatoes still on the vine right before first frost. Also, I'm going to preface this by saying, you want to make your pickles the same day they come off of the vine. If you wait, they'll be mushy pickles with wrinkly skins. And well, do you know anyone who likes wrinkly pickles (except a Playboy bunny or Anna Nicole)? Oh my... well back to our regularly scheduled program now.


I much prefer green cherry tomatoes for this recipe because of the ease of snacking and canning. However, you can slice large green tomatoes too. I have used quartered tomatoes and round slices. It really depends on how you intend on using them. The round slices would be great on a burger and the quarters work well with Korean pot roast. (I'll post the recipe for this soon. And, for those of you who will point it out, I got the recipe from my friend who is Korean American and  he calls it Korean pot roast.) 

I'm sure by this point you've scrolled through hoping to urgently get to the recipe, so here goes. 


Pickled green tomatoes

  • 4 pint canning jars
  • 4 pints of green tomatoes, cut (or not cut) to your preference
  • 8 sprigs of fresh dill
  • 8 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 40 black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp of yellow mustard seeds
  • 4 cherry peppers, pitted
  • 2.5 cups of distilled white vinegar
  • 2.5 cups of water
  • 3 Tbsp of picking salt
  • 1/2 tsp of calcium chloride (a.k.a. pickle crisp)

Prepare your jars, lids, and bands and hot water bath. While this is going, make your brine by combining the vinegar, water, and salt over medium heat in a non reactive saucepan. Once your jars are ready, you will place 10 peppercorns, 2 garlic cloves, 1 cherry pepper, 1/4 tsp yellow mustard seeds, and 2 sprigs of dill in each jar. Then fill the jars with the green tomatoes. Then top each jar with 1/8 tsp of calcium chloride granules. Then pour the hot brine into the jars over the green tomatoes. Run a wooden chopstick around the jar to remove any air bubbles. Then wipe the rims of the jars with a clean dry cloth. Place the lids and bands on each jar and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool for 24 hours before storing. 

If this is your first time canning or need a refresher, I recommend reading up on the hot water bath process. Click here to read all about it.

What is your favorite recipe for green tomatoes?