How to pickle green tomatoes?

Some people may have never heard of pickled green tomatoes, but where I come from, they are very common and are canned as many other goods for the winter. Earlier this year I planted some tomatoes in my miniature garden and most of the summer we enjoyed this red, plump, delicious vegetable (or fruit)… I think it’s a vegetable! 🙂 Right now, they are not getting ripe because of the cold, so last Saturday my hubby picked them for me. I didn’t expect he would come back with a huge basket like this. I just couldn’t let them go to waste! On the other hand, a nostalgic part of me wanted to relive the memory of preparing canned goods with my mama and my grandma, who are now long gone…

This recipe is enough to pickle about 7-8 lbs (3-4 kg) of green tomatoes.


  • 2.1 quart (2 liter) water
  • 1 quart (1 liter) white vinegar
  • 4 tbsp salt
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • peppercorn medley
  • bay leaves
  • horseradish root (peeled, quartered lenghtwise into 3 inch sticks)
  • carrots are optional (peeled, quartered lenghtwise into 3 inch sticks)

Also needed:

  • jars (1 quart or 1 liter) and lids
  • 1 large stock pot
  • sheet pan
  • tongs

1. Wash and dry green tomatoes, set aside.

2. Wash the jars and lids with soap and water, rinse. Fill a stock pot with water and let it boil. Submerge jars and lids into boiling water for 5 minutes to sterilize. Grab them with tongs, drain the water and set upside down on paper towels.

3. When all the jars a dry, turn them up, set them onto a large sheet pan. Pre-heat the oven to 350 F (175 C) and place the jars (lids not) in the oven for about 10 minutes to heat them.

4. In a large stock pot, combine water, vinegar, salt and sugar. Let it boil until sugar and salt dissolves.

5. Take the jars out of the oven. Fill them tightly with the small green tomatoes. If your tomatoes are big, quarter them before putting into jars. Don’t overfill! Also place 2 bay leaves, 1 stick of horseradish and 1.5 tsp of peppercorn into each jar. Take 2 carrot sticks and place them cross-wise on the top of the jar (to press the tomatoes).

6. Pour the water-vinegar mixture into jars to cover the tomatoes. (Jars and liquid both, need to be hot). Cover with plastic wrap for a while. When they have cooled down, put the lids on.

7. Store in a cool, dark place. It takes about 6 weeks for green tomatoes to pickle. Use them just as you would use pickles.