Farm To Table

Pickled Green Tomatoes- Quick Canned or Shelf Stable

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Green tomato pickles are an easy way to use up all of your unripe tomatoes at the end of the season. They have so many uses too.

Sliced pickled green tomatoes in jars.Pin
Pickled Green Tomatoes

As the end of the growing season approaches and the threat of frost is imminent, it’s a good idea to pick all of the rest of the tomatoes in your garden. Yes, even the green ones.

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You can use green tomatoes in lots of ways other than Southern fried green tomatoes (although they are yummy with the right sauce too).

We end up with so many green tomatoes that we really have to get creative. These green tomato pickles are one of those recipes.

New to canning? Start with our comprehensive article on “How to Can Everything“. It will walk you through all of the dos and don’ts related to canning.

What you need

  • green (unripe) tomatoes
  • fresh garlic cloves (optional)
  • fresh onion slices (optional)
  • bay leaves
  • peppercorns
  • oregano
  • kosher salt, sea salt or pickling salt
  • vinegar (apple cider vinegar or white vinegar. You can use white wine vinegar, champagne and the like but they are so much more expensive.)
  • mustard seed
  • dill seed
  • sugar – just use regular white granulated sugar
Ingredients for making pickled green tomatoes. See details in recipe below.Pin
Ingredients for making pickled green tomatoes. See details in recipe below.

How to quick can green tomatoes

Quick canning is the easiest method to preserve tomatoes. There is no processing the jars and the color of the tomatoes is much more appealing.

Step One

Wash the tomatoes well in a colander to remove all of the dirt.

Washed green tomatoes in colander.Pin
Wash tomatoes well.

Step Two

Add vinegar and water to a large pot.

Then add salt and sugar.

Cut cherry tomatoes in half or just leave the tiny ones whole.

Various cherry tomatoes in large stockpot.Pin
Add vinegar, water and salt to pot.

Step Three

Slice larger tomatoes crosswise or cut into wedges.

Halved green tomatoes on board.Pin
Halve larger tomatoes, remove core.

Step Four

We make separate jars with the cherry tomatoes and whole tomatoes.

Halved tomatoes in pot .Pin

Step Five

Crush garlic with the side of your chef’s knife. Slice onion thin.

Crushing garlic with the side of a chef's knife.Pin
Crush garlic,

Step Five

Add onion, garlic and spices to jars.

Load fruit into jar. Leave a ½ inch headspace.

Onion garlic and spices in jar.Pin
Add onion, garlic and spices to the jars.

Making shelf stable pickles

If you would like to store your pickles in the pantry, they will need to processed in a water bath canning pot.

Proceed with instructions above. Set up your canning pot and get the water boiling before starting the pickles. The water in your canning pot can take 45 minutes to come to a boil.

Process your jars of pickles for 15 minutes for under 1000 feet. Adjust for altitude. (See notes in recipe for adjustments for times). Remove the pot from the heat, let the jars sit in the canning pot for 5 more minutes. Then remove the jars with your jar lifter to the counter. Leave undisturbed for to 12-24 hours.

Test lids for seal. Press down in the center of the lid. If the lid flexes up or down, the jar hasn’t sealed and should be stored in the refrigerator and consumed first.

Sliced green tomato pickles in jars.Pin

Frequently asked questions

Are green tomatoes safe to eat?

Yes, indeed. Green tomatoes are not only safe to eat, they are surprisingly delicious when you pickle them.

What do green tomatoes taste like?

Green tomatoes taste like a tart, tangy red tomato. They are firm and stay crispy when pickled, unlike ripe tomatoes, if they are quick canned (refrigerator pickles).

Which varieties of tomatoes are best to pickle?

Any red variety of tomato will work for picking. Don’t use the heirloom green tomatoes, like Green Zebras, Cherokee green or Evergreen tomatoes unless they are unripe at the end of the season.

They need to be hard and unripe. Cherry tomatoes and slicing tomatoes will both work fine.

How do you use pickled green tomatoes?

We like to serve green tomato pickles on our charcuterie boards and grazing platters. Use them to spruce up your macaroni or potato salads.

Serve them as you would cucumber pickles with burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches and wraps. Top tacos, crostini or Spanish rice for a fresh tang. We actually love them to accompany of fried perch, fried smelt and fried bullhead recipes. Even our smoked catfish. They are the perfect side.

How to keep your pickles crunchy

We find that the pickles that we process in the water bath canning pot are not as crunchy as we would like. We normally quick pickle these tomatoes.

Always store the quick pickled tomatoes in the refrigerator for extra crisp.

Don’t harvest the green tomatoes once you have had a frost. The frost will make them mushy.

Use firm, freshly picked green tomatoes. If you don’t have time to pickle them, store them in the refrigerator for a day or two.

If these tips don’t produce the crispy pickle that you desire, use pickle crisp, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Jars of pickled green tomatoes on white board.Pin

Helpful tools

More pickle recipes

Green Tomato Pickles are an easy way to preserve the plethora of green tomatoes that you have at the end of the growing season.

Half pint jar with halved green cherry tomatoes.Pin
Pickled green tomatoes

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I hope you enjoyed the recipe today.

Enjoy. And have fun cooking!

Binky's signature
Close up of jars of pickled green tomatoes.Pin

Green Tomato Pickles

Green tomato pickles are an easy way to use up all of your unripe tomatoes at the end of the season. They have so many uses too.
See Step by Step Photos Above!Most of our recipes have step by step photos and videos! Also helpful tips so that you can make it perfectly the first time and every time! Scroll up to see them!
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Processing time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 5 pints
Calories: 181kcal
Author: Beth Neels
Cost: $2

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup Salt kosher or canning salt
  • ½ cup Sugar
  • cups cider vinegar
  • cups water
  • 1 clove garlic per jar
  • 1 small onion, sliced use 4-5 slices per jar
  • 1 teaspoon dill seed per jar
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seed per jar
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns per jar
  • 1 leaf bay leaves per jar
  • 3 pounds green tomatoes

Instructions

  • In a sauce pan, add salt, sugar, vinegar, and water. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat.
    ½ cup Sugar, 3½ cups cider vinegar, 3½ cups water, 1/4 cup Salt
  • Wash tomatoes well to remove all debris.
    3 pounds green tomatoes
  • Halve cherry tomatoes or leave small ones whole. Slice or halve larger tomatoes.
  • Although you can raw pack these tomatoes, if you blanch them first, they will not float as badly. Blanch for about 4 minutes, until tomatoes turn a pasty olive yellow.
  • Sterilize jars.
  • Add garlic clove, onion slices and spices to each jar.
    1 clove garlic, 1 small onion, sliced, 1 teaspoon dill seed, ½ teaspoon mustard seed, 1 teaspoon peppercorns, 1 leaf bay leaves
  • Pack tomatoes into hot jars, within a 1/2 inch of top of jar.
  • Pour hot canning liquid into jar leaving ½" headspace. (If you're quick pickling, there is no need to worry about the headspace.

For Shelf Stable Pickles

  • Remove bubbles with a chopstick or bubble tool.
  • Wipe rim of jar with wet towel. Attach hot lids and tighten bands finger tight. Return to canning pot.
  • Process jars for 15 minutes per pint, adjusting for altitude. Allow to rest in hot water 5 minutes after turning heat off.
  • Remove jars from canning pot and let sit on counter overnight.
  • Check seal in the morning, if lids flex up and down, when pressed in center, jar is not properly sealed. Store any that didn't seal in refrigerator.
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Notes

***Makes about pints pickles.****
These pickles will stay crispier if they are quick canned or refrigerator pickles but then they must be stored refrigerated. 
Refrigerator pickles will last at least 6 months stored in the refrigerator, unopened. 
Note: Water bath canned pickles will last at least one year, if stored in cool, dry place.
See more FAQs in article above the recipe.

Nutrition

Serving: 1pint | Calories: 181kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Sodium: 5711mg | Potassium: 700mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 1754IU | Vitamin C: 64mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 2mg
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Originally published November 29, 2022.

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16 Comments

  1. Best article I’ve found!! First timer here and I want to make sure I don’t mess up. For #6 in the instructions, it says add garlic clove, onion slices and spices to each jar.
    1 clove garlic,1 small onion, sliced,1 teaspoon dill seed,½ teaspoon mustard seed,1 teaspoon peppercorns,1 leaf bay leaves.

    Do I put that much of each item in a pint jar or quart jar or ??

    Thanks in advance. LeAnn

    1. That is confusing LeAnn. A program that we use adds the quantity from the ingredients listed. You just want to use a couple slices of the onion in each jar. Thank you! Let us know how you like them.

  2. 5 stars
    I used this recipe and these are the best pickled tomatoes I’ve ever tried! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe!

  3. 5 stars
    I love this since it uses all the tomatoes that may not have had a chance to ripen over the season. We can just pull this out anytime of the year to enjoy!

  4. 5 stars
    Such a tasty, easy way to use those end of season tomatoes! (I mean, a person can only eat so many fried green tomatoes, am I right‽)

  5. 5 stars
    I never know what to do with my leftover green tomatoes at the end of the season. Bookmarking this for next year!

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