How to pickle green tomatoes and keep them crunchy.
Ok, I admit it. We go crazy for the pickled whole green tomatoes. And boy, do I have a nice recipe for these.
We can’t make it through the winter without pickles. We like to make our own pickles and we are using the same recipe that’s been in my family for 4 generations now.
Of course, it was improved over time and we’ve finally come to a final version which never fails us and gives us that satisfaction of mastering this skill of fermenting.
Canning or fermenting might sound intimidating at first, but it’s actually very simple once you understand the process.
The whole pickled green tomatoes are still our no. 1. We’ve made a video of our family recipe, but if you prefer the written version, scroll below the video. Although I would watch it, it’s a nice one.
Watch how to make fermented green tomatoes at home - VIDEO RECIPE
Some things you need to know about fermenting if you're a beginner.
This is a natural process. It takes time so don’t expect your pickles to be ready overnight. Depending on your temperature conditions, they should be ready in about 2-4 weeks.
It’s imporant to pickle the veggies fresh, while they are firm and crisp. So when you have them, pickle them in the same day.
The best way to store pickled green tomatoes is in a cellar or basement. If you don’t have that in your house, pick the coolest, darkest place you have. Not the fridge :). That would take way too much time. And space.
A tip if you want to ferment more veggies. Have your basic ingredients in home when pickling season starts. The following items can be kept in your house for a long time and it’s very handy to have them around for adding them to any pickle jar you will make. Pickles like a temperature between 5-15 °C (40 – 60 °F).
Those “fixed ingredients” to have at hand during pickling season would be: the spices (mustard seeds, peppercorn, dry bay leafs, dry dill stems and flowers or just dill seeds, dry sour cherry twigs – if you can find these …they’re not mandatory anyhow) and the brine ingredients – coarse salt without iodine and white wine vinegar.
Pickles can be stored in any container you have around. Plastic or glass are the most common ones. They don’t need to be sterillized for this way of preserving. Just make sure you clean them with water and dishwashing liquid. Normally, we use larger containers.
The brine for fermenting pickled whole green tomatoes does not need boiling. We’ve never done it and never had any problem. Just make sure there is no air inside the jar. That’s when you can get in trouble and mold can appear on the surface. Don’t be afraid of the white stuff on the surface, in case you get that, it’s just yeast and you can remove it. But do be afraid when you get coloured mold. Better don’t eat the pickles inside that jar.
Let's go over the ingredients for those delicious whole green tomatoes pickles.
Adjust the quantities if you want more.
The amounts descried below are suited for a medium jar. So multiply those in case you’re planning on making more.
We never ever make only one jar and we usually preserve pickles in larger containers. The veggies do not need exact quantities. Just make sure that the green tomatoes are the main veggie. Spices… do not overdo it. The brine is what really matters. When pickling, it’s crucial that the veggies are fresh and firm.
⭐ VEGGIES that go best with green unripened tomatoes when pickling:
☑ fresh and firm green tomatoes • 0.5 kg (US, UK: ~ 1 lb)
☑ carrot • 1 piece
☑ celery root • ¼ piece
☑ horseradish root • 1 piece – HELPS WITH PRESERVING THAT PICKLE CRUNCH
The carrot, the celery root and the horseradish root can be peeled and sliced as you wish.
⭐ SPICES recommended for pickling unripened tomatoes:
☑ mustard seeds • 1 tsp
☑ peppercorn • 1 tsp
☑ bay leaf • 1 piece
☑ dry dill stem with seeds • 1 piece (OR dill seeds • 1 tsp, OR fresh dill • 2 stems with leaves)
☑ celery stem with leaves • 2 pieces
⭐ BRINE 1 L – the ideal brine for pickling immature tomatoes:
The following quantities are for 1 litre (US: 1 qt; UK: 0.9 qt) of brine. It’s important to be precise with these, so when multiplying try to keep up with the math. Use coarse salt without iodine. Yes, sea salt works fine, as long as it doesn’t contain iodine. That’s also essential. White wine vinegar works fine.
☑ water – 1 L (US: 1 qt; UK: 0.9 qt)
☑ vinegar – 30 ml ( US, UK: 1 fl. oz.)
☑ coarse salt without iodine • 40 g (US, UK: 1.4 oz.)
Whole pickled green tomatoes. The step by step recipe
Place all the ingredients inside in no particular order. At the end make a sort of protection for the veggies not to escape the brine. I regularly use dry dill stems and or celery leaves. You can also use plastic sticks or wooden skewer for this purpose. Pour the brine and make sure you completely cover everything. Don’t let the air touch your veggies. Yes, it’s as simple as it sounds.
Put a lid on it. Place them in the cellar or in a dark place with a cooler temperature in your house. Check on them once a week or so, in case the brine has dropped complete it. It’s a good idea to save some of the left brine exactly for this purpose.
Hope you enjoyed reading our pickling story and congratis if you’ve made it to the end of the article. If you want, check out our more intricate recipe: Pickling Green Tomatoes for Advanced Picklers.
I have more recipes for pickling and I’m linking them below:
- Homemade pickled sweet and sour cucumbers recipe
- Homemade pickled cauliflower
- How to pickle whole cabbage heads at home
Cheers! Stay well!