I am drowning in tomatoes. Crunchy, tart, green cherry tomatoes.
Correction, I was.
By the time you read this, I’m well on my way to Pagosa Springs, Colorado, via a 10-day-ish road trip through Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico.
But this road trip was the impetus for the mad harvest last week of my rogue tomato plants, which have been exploding with fruit all summer long.
When you’re away for 10 days, things on the home front can feel a little stressful.
Who will water the garden, who will weed the beds, who will check for pests and trim off the dead stuff and pluck all the ripe veggies so they don’t waste away?
When I saw the hundreds of green tomatoes hanging off the vines, just days away from ripening, my other thought was… Who will eat all of that?!
And so, just three days before I was set to leave, I spent a sweaty afternoon picking as many green cherry tomatoes off my plants as I could, hoping to preserve them so I wouldn’t come home to a mass of over-ripened, rotting fruit.
The final tally came to 55 pounds.
When you’re talking about cherry tomatoes, 55 pounds is a lot of tomatoes. I nearly tweaked my back hauling the harvest from the garden up to the house. (I know, I know—cue the violins.)
Related: Grow Tomatoes Like a Boss With These 10 Easy Tips
Since I didn’t have time to get creative and whip up some relish or chutney, I decided to pickle all of them, thinking I can always turn those preserved tomatoes into relish later on.
And because I was canning up a storm (32 quarts in all), I pickled them four different ways so I wouldn’t get too sick of them come next summer.
Read more: 8 Canning Tips and Tricks for Modern-Day Home Canning
Guess what everybody’s getting for Christmas this year?
Disclosure: All products on this page are independently selected. If you buy from one of my links, I may earn a commission.
4 Ways to Pickled Green Tomatoes
Makes 1 quart
1 pound green slicing tomatoes (or 1 1/2 pounds green cherry tomatoes)
For the Brine
1 cup white distilled vinegar (5% acidity)
1 cup water
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Basic Pickling Spice Mix
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon whole allspice
Dilly Garlicky Pickling Spice Mix
2 teaspoons dill seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
4 garlic cloves, peeled
Hot ‘n Spicy Pickling Spice Mix
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns *
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Curried Pickling Spice Mix **
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon whole allspice
3/4 inch fresh ginger, sliced into thin coins
Cut larger (slicing) tomatoes into 1/2-inch wedges, and cut smaller (cherry or grape) tomatoes in half.
In a small saucepan, bring all of the brine ingredients to a boil and stir until the salt is dissolved. Remove the brine from heat.
Fill a hot, clean quart jar with the pickling spice mix of your choice. Pack the jar tightly with the tomatoes.
Pour the hot brine over the tomatoes, covering them completely and leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
Stick a chopstick or “bubbling” tool into the jar and move it around to release any trapped air bubbles.
Wipe the rim clean, seal with a lid and band, and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes (adjusting the time for altitude as needed).
Quick tip: Due to limited space on my stovetop, I now use this electric water bath canner and I wish I’d found it sooner!
Canning often takes up all the space in my kitchen so no one else can cook while I’m in there. The electric canner makes it possible for me to move the water bath process to the end of a kitchen counter, dining table, patio, or anywhere I have access to a plug.
In the summer, I like to set up my canning station outside so I can also enjoy some fresh air while keeping the house cooler.
There’s a drain spout on the side so you don’t have to lift a huge, heavy pot to pour it out, but this spout is also great for dispensing drinks.
If you need to make a large batch of a hot beverage (spiced apple cider, for instance), you can heat it up in the canner and use it as a convenient, mess-free serving station (no more ladles going in and out of a slow cooker). Such a plus in my party book!
Store the jar in a cool, dark place. The green tomatoes will be perfectly pickled in about two weeks.
Add them to sandwiches, hot dogs, burgers, steaks, potatoes, or anywhere you would normally use relish. For a unique kick, you can even top off a Bloody Mary or dirty martini with a pickled green tomato garnish!
* Szechuan peppercorns can be found at well-stocked Chinese or Vietnamese supermarkets in the spice aisle.
** When making curried and pickled green tomatoes, bring the brine ingredients, brown sugar, and curry powder to a boil. Stir until the spices dissolve completely. Fill a hot, clean quart jar with cumin seeds, whole allspice, and ginger coins; pack the jar with tomatoes; then pour the hot brine mixture over the tomatoes.
Common questions about green tomatoes
Where to buy pickling and canning supplies
Ball Wide-Mouth Quart Jars | Ball 4-Piece Canning Utensil Set | Ball FreshTech Electric Water Bath Canner
This post updated from an article that originally appeared on August 29, 2011.
More green tomato recipes you might like
View the Web Story on pickled green tomatoes.
rachelAugust 18, 2014 at 11:26 am
Just wondering…I noticed a few posts that the tomatoes come out a little on the mushy side. Maybe if they were salted and left in the frig for a few hours to drain the liquid from them, they would turn out crisper?
Linda LyAugust 19, 2014 at 1:56 pm
No, these are meant to be soft pickles, not crisp pickles. For crisp pickles, you would need to skip the boiling water bath and simply refrigerate your jar after filling it.
RachelAugust 20, 2014 at 12:58 pm
I have made crisp pickles with a boiling water bath. There are tons of traditional canning recipes out there that produce crisp pickles and actually, I found a few canning recipes that require salting to green tomatoes overnight before proceeding to can. That said, I think it’s safe to say that salting the tomatoes beforehand, could be an option in your recipe. I just wish I had found the other recipes for canning pickled green tomatoes before using this one — I’m afraid I may have ruined about 10 pounds.
Linda LyAugust 20, 2014 at 3:33 pm
There are definitely plenty of crisp pickle recipes out there, and the level of crispness depends on the vegetable. I’ve made this recipe many times with various types of green tomatoes, and they sometimes stay firm and sometimes turn tender.
Salting the tomatoes helps draw out the moisture, but they still won’t be as crunchy as raw tomatoes after processing, if that’s what you’re after. If you don’t want to make refrigerator pickles (which will keep the tomatoes as crisp as they started out), you can try adding a product like Pickle Crisp before canning them.
Ned DragstonOctober 30, 2015 at 3:45 pm
This Rachel is a troll. Ban her!
Ned DragstonOctober 30, 2015 at 3:45 pm
Geez for someone who is tapping into someone else’s knowledge base and someone, btw, offering this up for free, you sure are rude.
rachelAugust 18, 2014 at 9:18 am
I want to do the curried version of these pickles…just wondering if you used a certain type of curry?
Linda LyAugust 19, 2014 at 1:57 pm
I used Madras curry, but any type of curry powder works — use your favorite!
Sashont CrispAugust 5, 2014 at 6:08 pm
I went with the pressure canner for a longer storage life… ended up mushy 🙁 Will have to try the boil method next time! Love the different pickling options though so can’t wait to try some of the other options. Thanks!
Linda LyAugust 6, 2014 at 5:13 pm
I’ve never used a pressure canner so I don’t know what kind of difference it makes, but I can tell you that I’ve kept a sealed jar of these green tomatoes (that were boiling-water-canned) for over two years and they were no different from the jars I opened sooner.
Concerned dadOctober 16, 2016 at 8:40 am
Pressure canning does not extend the shelf life of anything canned vs water bath. it is used when acid levels are not high enough and to kill potential bacteria and bad microbes at a higher temperature internally. Water bath temperature is boiling temp 212 degrees. Pressure canners get up to 240 degrees (both at sea level) Low acid foods such as meat and plain vegetables need this higher temperature but anything using vinegar becomes a high acid food (when proper measurements are used)
Linda Ly of Garden BettyOctober 17, 2016 at 11:52 pm
Apologies for missing this comment when you first posted it, but as Concerned Dad has already mentioned, pressure canning does not extend the shelf life. I hope you’ve had a chance to try the other pickling options and had success with the water bath canning!
Laura Lynn PiascikJuly 25, 2014 at 1:15 pm
wonderful site:) i might of overcooked, my tomatoes. they are mushier, but still look good :)t
Linda LyJuly 26, 2014 at 8:20 pm
Thank you Laura! These pickles aren’t meant to be crisp; mine turn soft after canning.
ChrisJuly 20, 2014 at 7:15 pm
How many tomato plants do you have to get 55lbs of cherry tomatoes?
Linda LyJuly 21, 2014 at 12:31 am
Three that were growing wild: http://www.gardenbetty.com/2011/07/rogue-tomatoes-overtake-the-farmlette/
ChrisJuly 21, 2014 at 7:10 pm
Thanks! I intentionally planted 62 tomato plants this year. I think I’m going to regret it… Thankful for the wonderful idea on pickling them!
Linda LyJuly 22, 2014 at 3:48 am
Wow! You will probably need these two posts, too. 🙂 http://www.gardenbetty.com/2011/09/preserving-tomatoes-by-freezing/ and http://www.gardenbetty.com/2011/09/tangy-oven-dried-heirloom-tomatoes/
DebbieJune 15, 2014 at 12:11 pm
I pickled green tomatoes and ours for the first time with your recipes. I packed the jars; but, after the hot water bath, I had at least an inch of space at the bottom of each jar … The tomatoes and okra are floating. I don’t understand this. Each jar made a ping sound as it seal while cooling. Why do I have space at the bottom of the jar, and how can I eliminate this?
Linda LyJune 17, 2014 at 4:05 pm
The tomatoes floating in brine are normal; it simply meant you hadn’t packed them in that tightly. When I pack my jars, I usually shake the tomatoes around a bit so they settle. As long as your jars are properly sealed, any tomatoes bobbing above the surface will be fine. Make sure you refrigerate any opened jars.
natalieMay 5, 2014 at 9:26 pm
Hey Linda, I am new to your site and really love it all! I did want to ask a random question about the basket the green tomatoes are in. where did you get this or was it self made?
Linda LyMay 8, 2014 at 10:35 pm
Thank you Natalie! The basket was a gift, but many corner grocers in San Francisco sell it (which is where mine came from). Online, I think it’s called an African market basket.
natalieMay 9, 2014 at 7:03 pm
Thank you Linda! Again your site it truly awesome!!!
Angie CamaJanuary 19, 2014 at 3:23 pm
Hello, these look delicious. Just wondering if they stay firm with the basic recipe? I don’t like it when they go soft 🙂
Linda LyJanuary 19, 2014 at 8:59 pm
No, these are soft pickles. If you want the tomatoes firm, you can skip the water bath canning and simply store them in the fridge.
NicoleJune 27, 2014 at 11:23 am
Do you stick them in the fridge immediately after you’ve canned them? Will they cure that way?
Linda LyJuly 2, 2014 at 2:50 pm
Once they’ve been water bath canned, they are shelf stable. I don’t refrigerate until I open the jars.
EduardoOctober 31, 2013 at 4:14 pm
Hello, great recipe!
I’m from mexico and down here the green tomatoes are called tomatillo. According to wikipedia, there is a difference between Mexican green tomato (tomatillo) and green tomatoes which appears in your photos. do you know if you can use them for this recipe?
Linda LyNovember 1, 2013 at 10:53 pm
Tomatillos are indeed different from green tomatoes here in the US (not to mention, we also have tomatillos that are purple instead of green). Our green tomatoes usually mean unripe tomatoes. However, I don’t see why you can’t substitute tomatillos in this recipe!
MareeOctober 18, 2013 at 3:47 pm
I have a great recipe for salsa which calls for pickling salt, but all I could find was pickle crisp. Would this be okay to use in my salsa recipe? Thanks?
Linda LyOctober 18, 2013 at 7:53 pm
No, they are not the same thing. Pickle crisp is calcium chloride, a firming agent. Pickling salt is a salt without any additives or anti-caking ingredients. I use pickling salt in my own salsa recipe: http://www.gardenbetty.com/2013/09/summer-means-salsa-spicy-fermented-salsa-that-is/
StaceyOctober 17, 2013 at 11:00 am
I want to try the garlic dill ones but I don’t have any dill seeds. Would just the regular dill weed ‘leaves’ work? If so, how much? Would I just sub them out 1:1?
And if I did the curry ones, would it work with ground cumin? I have the whole allspice but not whole cumin.
Thanks! I can’t wait to try these! We have all kids of green tomatoes and I’d rather not just let them sit in the garage to ripen, aka rot. 🙂
StaceyOctober 17, 2013 at 11:01 am
I should clarify on the dill – dried dill that most everyone has in their cupboard is what I’m referring to. Thanks!
Linda LyOctober 17, 2013 at 4:04 pm
I have never subbed dried dill weed for dill seed, but I’d guess you need to use at least 2-3x more dill weed to impart the same flavor. However, keep in mind that heat brings out the flavor of dill seed more; with such a long processing time, I’m not sure dill weed (which is more delicate and herb-like, instead of spice-like) would hold up flavor-wise. You’ll have to experiment with this.
For the curried recipe, yes you can use ground cumin, but you’ll need to taste the brine and add more ground cumin until the flavor’s to your liking. Start with 1/2 the amount of cumin seeds called for.
ildiOctober 9, 2013 at 4:53 am
Thank you so much for the recipes! You are amazing!!!
NicoleOctober 4, 2013 at 4:03 pm
This recipe looks excellent. Can you can these using a pressure canner? What # pressure and for how long?
Linda LyOctober 4, 2013 at 4:42 pm
Unfortunately I’m not familiar with pressure canning; you should consult with your canner manual or state extension for the proper procedures.
NicoleOctober 4, 2013 at 5:58 pm
No worries; thanks again for the recipe.
mikeOctober 4, 2013 at 2:33 pm
I’m trying out the basic and the hot and spicy recipe for my first foray into pickling. I’ll let you know how it goes…in about three weeks! 🙂
mikeOctober 25, 2013 at 12:46 pm
I’m back! After 3 weeks, I declare it a success. The pickled ones tasted as expected but the hot and spicy? Very tangy with a subtly hot aftertaste. Thanks for the recipes 🙂
Angie CamaJanuary 19, 2014 at 3:20 pm
Hello, did the tomatoes stay firm?
mikeJanuary 20, 2014 at 8:46 am
Hi Angie, yes they did. The tomatoes were firm and sliced well without smushing, so pretty successful overall.
JennAkOctober 4, 2013 at 11:52 am
Love your site! Thanks for the recipes. I did three of the four (didn’t do the spicy one). I brought them to work and the garlic dill was a hit! I had enough tomatoes for 12 pint jars and 4 quart jars. I will definitely be using the garlic dill next year! Thanks again!
Linda LyOctober 4, 2013 at 1:59 pm
You’re welcome! Glad you enjoyed!
NoraSeptember 21, 2013 at 5:58 pm
Awesome—I appreciate the variety —
Katie LagerstromSeptember 15, 2013 at 9:09 pm
Thanks for sharing. I just processed a round of the dilly variety. The hardest part is having to wait to taste them. I really appreciate 4 options with basically the same instructions. It encourages me to experiment with my own combos.
Camille MartinSeptember 13, 2013 at 9:02 pm
I cant wait to try these! I have about two pounds of green tomatoes left that my mom dropped off (Her friend gave them to her from her garden). I already made a garden relish with green tomatoes, peppers, onions and cucumber but still have about 2.5 pounds left of green tomatoes and these looks delicious. What would you suggest to have with these?
Linda LySeptember 16, 2013 at 6:44 pm
Lately I’ve been enjoying pickled green tomatoes in homemade tacos with grilled meats. They’re also good in potato salad (and other mayo-based salads).
Camille MartinSeptember 16, 2013 at 7:31 pm
I made three jars of this so cant wait to see how they taste. I just made some homemade tortillas and topped them with beans that i cooked with some tomatoes and onions I had mashed and a tablespoon and a half of homemade taco seasoning and with that I put some homemade hummus and some homemade garden relish(Super sweet and tangy relish that just made this dish go from ok to amazing) and sweet and sour pickled red onions and cucumber and lettuce. It was delicious! I cant wait for the three weeks to be up so I can try these pickles!
TriciaSeptember 9, 2013 at 2:51 pm
Will this work with sliced or quartered regular size tomatoes? Frost is coming and I have tons!!! The curry version sounds wonderful.
Linda LySeptember 9, 2013 at 3:51 pm
Yep! I make jars and jars of these with whatever green tomatoes I have at the end of the season.
AmberSeptember 6, 2013 at 7:05 am
I made these and they were fantastic! I did NOT cut my tomatoes and they were just fine! I left them for about 3 weeks before cracking them open. My favorites were a combination of the basic pickling spice + dill and garlic. SO GOOD! I had never had pickled green tomatoes before and I’m so glad I tried them. Thank you!
Linda LySeptember 7, 2013 at 2:57 pm
I’m so glad they turned out great for you! These are some of my favorite pickles, ever.
cathySeptember 5, 2013 at 9:48 am
Did you slice them to fit more per jar or is it a necessity? If I leave them whole, do I need to pierce them?
Linda LySeptember 7, 2013 at 2:56 pm
I sliced them so I could fit more tomatoes in the jar. But no, it isn’t necessary. They will absorb the brine just fine!
TeriJuly 30, 2013 at 3:48 am
These look just like some of the ones a friend of ours use to can and they are SOOOO good. I have looked everywhere for a recipe like it. You could just eat them right out of the jar, yum! I was wondering. Do they have sort of a tart taste? I hope so cause that would be perfect. He also added a couple cloves of garlic. I am going to try them today.
Linda LyJuly 31, 2013 at 2:47 pm
It depends on how tart your green tomatoes are to begin with, but usually they just pick up whatever flavor you’re pickling them in.
JoyJuly 28, 2013 at 8:54 am
There are different types of curry. What type do you recommend?
Linda LyJuly 28, 2013 at 2:47 pm
I use an all-purpose curry powder that’s not too sweet (and leaning a little toward the hotter side). The dominant spices in mine are turmeric, cumin, coriander, ginger, and pepper. I’d say, go for a high-quality curry that you like, as the tomatoes will just pick up that flavor.
Harold CochranJuly 7, 2013 at 1:10 pm
Just tried the garlic recipe. I had a a crazy amount of patio tomatoes. The taste was awesome. I used garlic from a jar. Smell was overpowering, had to place in zip lock bag. I also experimented with the szechuan peppers recipe, not hot at all. Any suggestion on a spice that is hotter? Add jalapeño?
Linda LyJuly 7, 2013 at 10:59 pm
If you want something really fiery, try adding whole chilies or double the red pepper flakes.
Linda LyDecember 23, 2012 at 11:27 pm
Looks like you’ve got all the right ingredients for a green tomato salsa there!
Z MonkeyDecember 11, 2012 at 2:56 am
Nice site, I was looking for a green Tomato picking recipe and found this. Hot and Spicy sounds right for me. I’ll give it a try…
Linda LyDecember 11, 2012 at 3:04 am
Hot ‘n spicy is my favorite one!
Z MonkeyDecember 13, 2012 at 4:05 am
This is my late fall harvest. My fall Tomatoes didn’t do very well, didn’t have enough time for them to ripen before the first freeze. I’m going to start some winter vegetables here within a week or so, after I clean out the frozen plants.
ReneeNovember 10, 2012 at 7:09 am
When I search for green tomato at the site, I don’t find this recipe. When I search for green tomato asian recipes I find it. Quirky search engines eh?
ReneeNovember 10, 2012 at 7:10 am
Should have said, the second search was by google, not on this site.
Linda LyNovember 11, 2012 at 3:53 pm
Bizarre? I just searched for “green tomatoes” on my blog and the post showed up on the second page of results.
ReneeNovember 12, 2012 at 6:46 pm
IDK but I had to go to google and search there instead to find the post. Love your photos btw. Very nice blog. 🙂
Linda LyNovember 20, 2012 at 5:59 pm
Whatayear2009October 29, 2012 at 11:44 am
Will processing them in the boiling water cause the tomatoes to become mushy?
Linda LyOctober 30, 2012 at 7:18 pm
The tomatoes do become soft, but not mushy. I’ve canned them using both the boiling water bath and refrigerator pickle methods, and I prefer the softness that the boiling water bath brings.
If you need to can them in a boiling water bath, you can try adding calcium chloride (Pickle Crisp) to maintain the crispness; or you can simply put the jar in your fridge without processing it. I’ve had an unprocessed jar in my fridge for three months and it’s still good!
Suegeiger53October 28, 2012 at 11:06 pm
I found these recipes to late, I live in ND and we really had an early frost this year, so had to pick all green ones. I really am going to love to make the dill garlic ones, all other recipes I found always call for sugar, which some family members don’t care for. Thanks so much, storing this one on Pinterest till next summer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oakley DoggerOctober 25, 2012 at 10:37 am
Wow! I’m glad I stumbled upon your blog. Beautiful photos and great info! I just started a balcony garden. I received a packet of tomato seeds. I really have to try this. Any advice on starting these tomato seeds?
Linda LyOctober 26, 2012 at 10:10 pm
Unless you live somewhere super warm, I wouldn’t recommend starting tomato seeds until spring. Even in my zone (10b) they grow very slowly over winter because of cooler weather and decreased daylight. Try some fall-friendly plants for your balcony, like greens or peas!
bcannonOctober 20, 2012 at 1:41 pm
Would these work as “refrigerator pickles” if I dont want to can them?
Linda LyOctober 20, 2012 at 2:37 pm
Yes! Just let the flavors develop over a few days in the fridge before you eat them.
paulaOctober 18, 2012 at 6:57 am
after putting jars in bath fifteen minutes the lids did not pop?
Linda LyOctober 13, 2012 at 6:25 pm
At higher altitudes, water boils at a lower temperature so you have to compensate for that by increasing the canning time.
In general, add 1 minute more per 1,000 feet for recipes that call for less than 20 minutes of processing; add 2 minutes more per 1,000 feet for recipes that call for over 20 minutes of processing.
So… if you were to can these pickled green tomatoes, which call for 15 minutes at sea level (where I live), you would actually need to process them for at least 21 minutes (I personally would round up to 25 minutes to be assured of a safe seal).
CharityOctober 7, 2012 at 10:47 am
Ooooh, I’m so exited to make these with my glut of tomatoes this year. I’m planning to make bloody mary mix and roasted tomato salsa with the red ones, but anything that is green….bring it!
Linda LyOctober 13, 2012 at 5:45 pm
If you make bloody mary mix with the red tomatoes, pickle the green ones to use as a garnish for your bloody marys! It’s sooo tasty.
Kasia LuciaOctober 6, 2012 at 6:44 am
Can you explain adjusting the water bath time for altitude? I am new to canning. I live at 6,035 feet above sea level.
HonestlySeptember 22, 2012 at 4:12 pm
I came here for pickling recipes, but seeing that picture of you with the surfboard, I’d like to take a bite out of your ass.
Georgia1009August 19, 2012 at 7:52 am
This sounds great; can you add tomatillos to them also?
Linda LyAugust 19, 2012 at 10:25 am
I don’t see why not! Sounds delicious!
Jjvking2uJuly 23, 2012 at 8:00 am
could I use canning salt instead?
Linda LyJuly 25, 2012 at 9:46 pm
Jjvking2uMay 4, 2012 at 7:00 pm
I could’nt find any actual cherry tomato seeds but found small tomato variety, should be ok to use if i slice them? & thanks for sharing recipes that were’nt really spicey;)
Linda LyMay 4, 2012 at 10:53 pm
You can use any tomatoes that are still green and unripe. Just slice them up or cut them into small wedges to fit in your jar.
CallieOctober 22, 2011 at 11:24 am
Made a quart each of your garlic dill and curried picked cherry tomatoes – can’t wait to try them. Hope you enjoyed your road trip!
Linda LyOctober 22, 2011 at 10:09 pm
I just had the garlic dill pickles the other night as a side to some grilled steak… so tasty. Beats store-bought pickles for sure.