I get green tomato pickles on my mind every time I walk past the tomatoes on the vine in my backyard these chilly days. I’ve been reading about pickles, too.  One of the best books I’ve found is Linda Ziedrich’s The Joy of Pickling.  It’s not only thorough, it’s also very well written (I was hopeful from the beginning when I saw that the book opens with an epigraph from an excellent Salman Rushdie novel).  I liked also that she immediately simplifies the subject by saying there are basically two kinds of pickles, fermented pickles and vinegar pickles.  Fermented or natural pickles use a brine to encourage good bacteria to create the acidity.  Vinegar pickles can work faster and tend to have more of a sweet-sour profile, whereas the fermented pickles don’t rely on sugar to balance the acidity.

My favorite kind are the fermented ones, because I like to put beneficial microbes to work on food, part of the wonder of the kitchen.  (The ones at right are naturally fermented and flavored with garlic and bay, photo by Donna Ruhlman.)  But ever since making Michael Symon’s pickled chillis, I’ve loved the possibilities of the vinegar pickle.

It’s fall, and time to put stuff up, and this weekend it’s going to be pickled green tomatoes.  Here’s Linda’s Curried Green Pickle recipe, along with some links to other interesting green tomatoe recipes. If you don’t grow your own, inexpensive green tomatoes can be found now at Farmer’s markets.  Thanks for the recipe, Linda, and for the excellent book!

Curried Green Tomato Pickle

Makes about 3 pints

This green tomato pickle, with its unusual spices, is one of Linda’s favorites. According to an old Mennonite cookbook, the recipe is French in origin. Linda, a freelance writer and editor near Scio, Oregon, likes to use these to accompany grilled meats, but they’ll go with any rich grilled, braised or roasted meats.  They’d also be a great acidic component in a sandwich.

  • 2 1/2 pounds fleshy green tomatoes, such as paste types, sliced 3/16 inch thick (about 2 quarts tomato slices)
  • 1 medium-size onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons pickling salt (1.15 ounces sea or kosher salt)
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  1. Combine the green tomatoes and onion in a large bowl or a crock. Add the salt and mix gently. Let the mixture stand at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours.
  2. Drain the vegetables, rinse them, and drain them again. In a large nonreactive pot, combine the vinegar, sugar, and spices. Bring the mixture to a boil and add the vegetables. Bring the contents to a boil again, then reduce the heat. Simmer the vegetables gently, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes, or until the vegetables are just heated through. Pack the mixture into pint mason jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace, and close the jars with two-piece caps. Process the jars for 10 minutes in a boiling-water bath.
  3. Store the cooled jars in a cool, dry, dark place for at least 3 weeks before eating the pickle. After opening a jar, store it in the refrigerator.

A few other pickle recipes:

Pickled Green Tomato Relish from All Our Fingers In the Pie

Green Tomato Caramel Pie from Biscuits and Such

Green Tomato Chutney from Healthy Green Kitchen

Pickled Green Tomatoes from Homesick Texan

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24 Wonderful responses to “Pickled Green Tomatoes!”

  • Jason Sandeman

    Thank you for showing us this book. I am going to the store tonight, so I am going to pick myself up a copy. (If it is available here in Canada.) My favorite pickle remains the kosher dill pickle, the properly fermented one. The second is homemade sauerkraut. Babbi used to make it with a bucket, cabbage, salt, and an old heavy plate. Just divine.

    I also am a weird guy who likes pickled herring. Okay, almost anything pickled gets my vote!

  • Jenna

    !!! I was just looking to do that and looking at the Martha Stewart recipe online, can you explain how pickling salt works?

  • Julia

    It’s a great book, for sure! I was going to make these this year, but opted for something different. Now I wish I had more green tomatoes!

  • Charles Curran

    Chilly Days? It’s been in the 90′s here all week. Eat your heart out.

  • Kristen England

    The curry has me thinking. I’m wondering how well subbing out Cider vinegar for Cane vinegar would work. Seems the cane would be more similar to the other ingredients, no? Thoughts Michael?

  • Luanne

    There is some discussion in our neighborhood about pickles. One neighbor doesn’t think you need to heat the liquid or process the jars, while i say that breads bacteria and he’s going to kill us all! After 2 weeks the pickles were still bubbling away, which to him means they’re still ‘cooking’. He uses little cucumbers, hot chilis, garlic, dill, salt & vinegar. Claims the recipe is from gennerations before him in Ohio. Dare i eat the pickles? Oh and the garlic sometimes turns green.

  • Luanne

    There is some discussion in our neighborhood about pickles. One neighbor doesn’t think you need to heat the liquid or process the jars, while i say that breeds bacteria and he’s going to kill us all! After 2 weeks the pickles were still bubbling away, which to him means they’re still ‘cooking’. He uses little cucumbers, hot chilis, garlic, dill, salt & vinegar. Claims the recipe is from gennerations before him in Ohio. Dare i eat the pickles? Oh and the garlic sometimes turns green.

    • ruhlman

      The jars do need to be sterilized if keeping at room temp for any length of time. Kept in fridge, not necessary.

  • Rich Sims

    Michael, i don’t get it when you say, put the microbes to work and watch kitchen magic. Help

    • ruhlman

      When you use just salt, the bacteria naturally present feed on sugars and generate acid which preserves and flavors the veg

  • luis

    I am really down with chef Simon’s use of vinegar. It is simple and useful in the home kitchen and very tasty. Vinegar pickling is a good thing. I tell you, Michael Simon’s book is teaching me things that I like. I may get Linda’s book as well. Even though I … don’t cook for the masses…But perhaps some day… in retirement… You never know what’s around the corner. One thing. It won’t be for the money….it would be for the sanity.

  • Maven

    I make green tomato chutney and pickles every year with the last of my summer tomatoes. My pickle recipe also has cauliflower and peppers (red and orange) in it which makes for a nice looking host/hostess gift over the holidays.

  • Sarah S.

    I am seriously tempted to try pickling the hundreds of green cherry tomatoes I’ve got out back. I’m thinking they’d be great little cocktail snacks…

    • Cali

      You should! Can you imagine how great they would be skewered with a red, hot-house cherry tomato and a mini marinated mozzarella ball at a Christmas party?

  • MessyONE

    I’ve been using that book for just over a year now, and I love it. Every weekend I go to the farmers market and if there’s something that might make good pickles, I get some. So far, I’ve pickled fennel, peppers, onions, beets, turnips, mushrooms, green beans, cucumbers (of course) and probably a couple of things I’m forgetting right now.

  • bill bush

    I had a big patch of grape tomato green ones left just a couple of days before frost, so I made the non-processed refrigerator style pickles, after having done a big jar of Jim Lahaye’s pickles from MY BREAD a month ago. They taste so good that I tried an Emeril recipe for refrigerator-style sweet pickles (they were cooked, but not jar-processed) and two different recipes from Cooks.com for vinegar pickles. I can’t devote more space than that to storing pickles in the fridge, but I do hope they turn out to be good. They are beautiful in the jars.

    My sister has my mom’s recipe for sweet pepper chow-chow, a relish we always had to go on pinto beans when I was a kid. Gotta learn to do that one for sure.

    I’m going to grow some little gherkins next year and try some fancier pickles. We’ve had two very hard frosts in a row now, down around 28 degrees the last two nights, so no more pickles or peppers this year. Time for the seed catalogs!

    I’m re-reading RATIO during the cold months this winter, too. More kitchen experiments!
    Best to all,
    Bill