This refrigerator green tomato pickle recipe helps you perfectly preserve green tomatoes in a tangy, salty brine for a month in the refrigerator - ready to use as a delicious condiment! Make these easy pickled green tomatoes with just 6 ingredients and a foolproof easy-to-follow method.
It's essential to sterilize the jars when pickling to avoid early spoilage. To do so, first, pre-heat the oven to 325ºF/160ºC. Then wash the jars (and lids) in hot soapy water. Finally, rinse well.
Place the jars (not including any rubber or plastic parts) in the pre-heated oven for around 10 minutes or until the jars are completely dry.Alternatively, some dishwashers include a sterilize function that cleans and dries for you!
Step 2: Prepare the tomatoes
Wash the green tomatoes well and dry them with a paper towel.
Chop them down to size. Depending on the size of your tomatoes, this will differ. For larger tomatoes, I like to cut wedges. For smaller tomatoes, you can cut them in half or even leave them whole (poked with toothpick/knife).
Step 3: Prepare the pickling liquid
Prepare the pickling liquid by combining the vinegar, water, and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until the salt dissolves. This usually only takes a couple of minutes. Then remove the mixture from the heat to cool for several minutes.
Step 4: Transfer the ingredient to the jar/s
When adding the various ingredients to the jar/s, I like to layer things slightly. First, add a handful of the green tomatoes to the bottom of the jar, then a whole garlic clove (or chop it into several smaller pieces), and a bay leaf. Repeat with the remaining tomatoes, garlic, and bay leaf. Then add the oregano and peppercorns.Make sure to use a jar where you're able to pack the tomatoes tightly while keeping at least ½ inch headspace at the top of the jar. You can use one larger jar or several smaller ones.
Pour in the pickling liquid, making sure to submerge the tomatoes entirely while keeping ½ inch/1cm headspace.
Secure the lid on the jar and allow it to continue to cool down at room temperature before transferring to the fridge for at least 24 hours of pickling before enjoying!
How to Store?
Store the pickled green tomatoes in the fridge for up to a month in the airtight jar. Make sure to use clean utensils to remove the tomatoes to avoid early spoilage.You can also water bath "can" the pickled green tomatoes for longer-term storage (up to 18 months), though I don't usually do this as I usually only make a batch large enough to last a month.If you want to water-bath can the green tomato pickles, I think that 12-15 minutes in a water bath would work well (depending on your altitude, this will differ); however, it's best to refer to trusted sources on the method such as the USDA or NCHFP guidelines.
Re-using the pickling liquid: when making refrigerator pickled green tomatoes, you can re-use the pickling brine. To do so, remove all the add-ins (herbs, peppercorns, etc.) and re-boil the liquid, then add new add-ins and use as normal.
Feel free to add sugar: I often add sugar to my pickling brine to balance the harsh vinegar and tangy flavor. While it's not necessary, it can help balance the acidity of the tomatoes. You can even use a sugar-free sweetener if preferred.
Make sure to pack the tomatoes tightly: if they start to float at all in the liquid, add a few more tomato wedges to pack them down firmly.
Choosing a jar: make sure to select jar/s that "just about" fit the tomatoes, with a ½ inch headspace. You don't want it to be too large, or the tomatoes might float above the brining liquid. While the jar doesn't need to be a specific pickling/canning jar (since these are refrigerator pickles), make sure it has a strong seal.
Using green cherry tomatoes: if your tomatoes are small enough to be pickled whole, make sure to use a knife, fork, or toothpick to "stab" them a few times. That will allow the pickling liquid to permeate the skin and get to work pickling them.
What do green tomatoes taste like? Unsurprisingly, since green tomatoes are unripe red tomatoes, they taste like most unripe produce - more tart and acidic than the ripe version, with less juiciness and a firmer, crunchier, "robust" texture.
Is it safe to eat green tomatoes raw? Of course. While green tomatoes are unripe red tomatoes, they're still perfectly safe to eat. However, they are more acidic than regular tomatoes, so you may want to eat them in moderation.
Use unripe tomatoes: the green tomatoes you need are unripe red tomatoes not varieties that are bred to remain green even when ripe. For this particular batch I decided to experiment with slightly underripe green zebra tomatoes (which remain green when ripe) just to see the results as they're all I have at the moment.
There are several optional add-ins to these green tomato pickles, including:
Spice: jalapeño or serrano would work well. Alternatively, red pepper flakes can be used – but a little goes a long way, so be sparing!
Sugar: I often add sweetener (granulated sugar or a liquid option like maple/honey. Even a sweetener like stevia would work) to balance some of the tang of the vinegar mixture. I recommend adding 1 tablespoon sugar, to begin with, and increasing to personal taste.
Sweet pickled green tomatoes: you can substitute the pickling spices with just sugar and cinnamon (sticks) for a sweeter version that you can use in place of tart green apples in dishes.
Check the blog post for lots of serving suggestions and more top tips!