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Pickled green tomatoes, Italian style.

September 2, 2014

The garden was crazy this year, thanks to our big ol’ raised garden bed. So when things started to get super cray cray, I decided that the best thing to do once I had a harvest of more than just two tomatoes at once, was make salsa & bruschetta.

Beautiful green tomatoes.

But of course, sometimes you just see those green tomatoes hanging out there… and you wanna pluck ’em off & use them, too. They’re so cute & small & round. And then there’s all that fresh basil & oregano that’s just waiting for you to keep picking it…

A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

I picked three (clockwise from top): a San Marzano,  a German Johnson, and a tiny little Beefsteak. You can use as many or as little as you like. And it’s not a canned recipe- so you just plunk it in the fridge.

Also, there’s no way you CAN process it because you’re using white wine vinegar which is not 5% acidity. So please don’t process it thinking you’re cool & hip- it is not safe. Unless you use vinegar with 5% acidity.

This just reinforces the fact that you can pickle just about anything.

Pickled green tomatoes!

Really, this is a perfect way to use up all of those green tomatoes still sitting on the vine right before the first really cold night of the season. Might as well use ’em! And you can’t possibly make fried green tomatoes all the time. I know we’re nowhere near that right now, but hey. When you feel like picking the green tomatoes, you pick the green tomatoes. End of story.

Pickled green tomatoes- Italian style, with basil, oregano & garlic.


MAKES 2 HALF-PINT JARS- can be doubled or tripled


  • 1 pound smallish greenred tomatoes, different varieties are okay just so long as they’re all in varying degrees of maturity, but none too soft, ripe or too small/large; or about 3-4 small/medium tomatoes
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 rounded tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 4 sprigs fresh oregano
  • 4 large basil leaves
  • pinch of hot red pepper flakes OR 2 small red chili peppers (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • one small red onion, sliced (optional- I skipped it for this round)


  1. Wash the tomatoes thoroughly, remove the stem & “core” at the tops and slice them into chunks. Soak the tomatoes in the lemon juice in a small bowl for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, sanitize your jars & lids, keeping them hot.
  2. Combine the vinegar, sugar, hot pepper flakes and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Place the tomato mixture in the hot jars, making sure they’re packed as tight as possible (you can also add sliced onion in between tomato layers at this point if you like).
  3. Tuck in the herbs, dividing them equally among your jars, and spoon in the garlic. Ladle in the liquid, pausing to remove air bubbles & air pockets with a small rubber spatula or chopstick as you go. Fill the jars with the liquid, leaving 1/4″ headspace. Discard any extra liquid.
  4. Wipe rims and place lids & bands on. Let cool. Refrigerate immediately.

Pickled green tomatoes, Italian style.

Obviously, I used fresh herbs. If you’re using dried, remember this equation:

dried herbs = 1/3 the amount of fresh / fresh herbs = 3 times the amount of dried

And while I do think the juxtaposition of the red onion in between the green tomatoes looks awesome & adds great flavor, I just wanted to keep it green this time. A regular sweet onion variety or red onion can both be used. You don’t have to cut the tomatoes in chunks either; slices work too.

Pickled green tomatoes... Italian style! With basil, oregano & garlic.

You could also use a mix of different colored tomatoes, or tomatoes in varying states of maturity. Green, red, whatever. Or use some colored heirloom tomatoes sprinkled in for variety. The chili peppers obviously give it heat, so if you’re not into that & just want a fresh taste, leave them out. The red pepper flakes give off just a tiny bit of a kick, but you can leave them out too if you prefer.

Italian style green pickles.

Probably could’ve packed mine tighter/better, but oh well. They’ll be gone soon anyway. Enjoy!

Suggestions for use: use them on a salad, toss them with hot pasta (especially linguine), put them on a sandwich or hero, eat them right out of the jar, use the leftover brine as a salad dressing, use dill instead of basil/oregano for a more traditional “pickle” flavor, try using mint as well for a totally different spin.
Soundtrack: Paramore – “Ain’t it Fun”
Sources & credits: 8-oz. Ball/Kerr jars; available at, striped tea towel; vintage.
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