Pickled Green Cherry Tomatoes

Beautiful little green ‘yellow pear’ cherry tomatoes waiting to be pickled…

Because there really is no such thing as a garlic clove that is too big.


When I got home from our vacation I didn’t toddle over to our garden immediately.  I started doing laundry furiously.  I don’t mean to say that I was doing it quickly.  I mean to say that I was furious that I had to do more laundry.  I know I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating.  I tried to clear out the wrappers and crumbs and sand that had invaded the van.  I scratched the dogs behind their ears, made a few meals, sat and finished “The Hound of the Baskervilles”, listened to my kids’ talk about how their second-cousin informed them there was a new generation of Bionicles being released just in time for Christmas, checked my email and did other various and sundry things before remembering that I had some plants that probably needed my attention.  I pulled on my barn boots and ambled out to the garden.


HOLY WUH!  In one week it seemed the entire garden had been taken over by monster heirloom cherry tomato plants.  I did some quick mental calculations and realized that there was no possible way we could manage to eat all the cherry tomatoes that were coming on.  A little more silent math and it was also plain that even freezing the excess ripe fruit for use in soups and stews would leave us with more tomatoes than my non-wasteful heart could bear to ignore.  What to do with all those gorgeous heirloom cherry tomatoes?  Pickling to the rescue!


A quick scan of the pantry revealed that I had everything else necessary for pickling some green cherry tomatoes; white wine vinegar, garlic, dill seed and weed, bay leaves and non-iodized salt.  Score!


Since dill pickled cherry tomatoes are one of the easiest things to pickle, I managed to pack my jars, make my brine and turn out dinner at the same time.  All you have to do in order to prep for this is to carefully wash and stem each cherry tomato, boil your brine, peel one clove of garlic for each pint of tomatoes, and sterilize your jars and rings.  With a dishwasher in the house, the sterilizing of the jars is the easiest part of the whole proposition.


With that gorgeous color, crispy and juicy texture and vibrant flavor dill pickled green tomatoes are a little burst of summer when added to a mid-winter salad.  But dill pickled green cherry tomatoes are even better.  They’re everything that is good about a pickled green tomato in a super cute bite-sized package.  In addition to being delicious on salads, they stand alone as appetizers that manage to be simultaneously elegant, flavorful, simple and adorable.


If you’re overrun with cherry tomatoes that you don’t want to kill off with that looming first hard frost, give these a try.  I think you’ll thank me!



White Wine Vinegar Pickled Heirloom Green Cherry Tomatoes


Feel free to play with the flavors in this recipe.  You could substitute tarragon for the dill and have a very French pickle.  You could toss in some dried or fresh habaneros with the dill and have Green Cherry Bombs.  Get creative!  As usual, I’m giving you this recipe in a per-jar scalable format.  Make as many or as few jars as you wish.  I recommend making at least as much brine as the recipe gives below and possibly more.  Extra brine keeps well in the fridge.  It’s very frustrating to have to prepare and boil another batch of brine for the sake of 1/4 cup shortage.  You can always make more later or use the extra brine to brine meats or in salad dressings.


Before starting your brine, have your jars and lids prepared.  For an easy explanation on how to sterilize and prepare your jars, lids and rings, click here.




For the Brine:

  • 3 1/2 cups white wine vinegar
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup pickling salt (Any non-iodized salt will work well here.  If your salt is superfine, reduce amount by 1 Tablespoon.)


For each pint jar:

  • 1 large clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons dried dill seed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried dill weed
  • Small, firm green cherry tomatoes, carefully washed and stemmed (You can use small, firm green standard-sized tomatoes that are halved or quartered if you cannot lay your hands on the cherry tomatoes.)


In a medium sized, non-reactive saucepan combine all brine ingredients over high heat.  While waiting for brine to boil, fill your jars


In each jar, place a garlic clove, bay leaf, dill seed and dill weed.  Pack the jar tightly to within 1/2″ of the top with the green cherry tomatoes.  Pour boiling brine over the tops of the tomatoes to within 1/2″ of the rim of the jar.  Wipe rims, position lid over the top and screw rings on just until they hold but do not wrench them on too tightly.  (For more information on why this important click here!)


Place jars in the canner and fill with water to cover jars by at least an inch.  Cover canner and place pan over high heat.  Allow water to come to a rolling boil, leave lid on and boil hard for 15 minutes.  When the 15 minutes are up, shut off heat, remove lid and allow the jars to sit in the hot water for an additional 5 minutes.  Remove jars to a cooling rack and allow to cool, undisturbed overnight.


When jars and their contents are completely cooled, wipe down with a clean, damp cloth, remove rings and store in a cool, dry place for up to 3 years.  The pickled cherry tomatoes will be ready to eat in 6 weeks.   Bon Appetit!


  1. says

    From an old-timer, and a long-time canning enthusiast, GOOD JOB.

    The early Fall season just wouldn’t be complete without breaking out the canner and a box of jars!

  2. Rebecca says

    ECM- The boys sold all their goodies at the farmer’s market today, so I’m thinking I’m off the hook on Bionciles for now. Why, drat them, must they come up with a new generation every 3 weeks???

    DocChuck- Thanks! I grew up canning, and loving canning, and have continued on my own (now that’s been quite a few years!) I’m hoping my kids inherit my love for it like I did from my parents and Grandparents. …And you’re spot on about the canner. I actually had to buy more jars this year. The horror! The only problem with canning is that all of our drinking glasses disappear until we start eating jam and pickles :-)

  3. says

    My wife and I love to can with our granddaughter on her supervised visits. We usually make jam with her.

    What do you do with those beautiful canned heirloom cherry tomatoes?

  4. Rebecca says

    DocChuck- We serve them on salads, on pickle plates, tossed into pasta salads and with sandwiches. In short, we treat them much like pickles (although I’ve never put a cucumber pickle on a tossed salad :-)

  5. RebekahHomemaker says

    I have zillions of green cherry toms that went through a frost here in KY… are they still good for pickles or just for compost?

  6. Rebecca and/or Val says

    Rebekah- Was it a frost, hard frost or a freeze you had? If they’re still in good shape texture-wise (i.e. still suitable for fried green tomatoes were they full-sized tomatoes) and they don’t look mottled (unless they’re an heirloom variety that looks mottled in color normally) they should be fine! The way I look at it the pickled green tomatoes take very little effort and time and expense (basically spices and vinegar) so you’re not going to be out very much if they don’t turn out. That’s just my opinion, though. I know everyone has different levels of acceptable risk in the kitchen. :-)

  7. says

    Yikes…that is a lot of work! We canned 46 jars of sauce this fall. Then we got to thinking….what are we going to do with so many? We gave them out in Christmas baskets. They were a big hit especially with the postmaster…LOL

  8. Vanessa says

    I don’t know if you still check this but I’ve canned green cherry tomatoes many times, with many different heirloom varieties and they never stay crisp. they get mushy and deflated. what am I doing wrong?

    • says

      Sheri- Mine had a lot of snap to them when you bit into them. They were softer on the inside than a raw green tomato, but that’s bound to happen when you cook any vegetable. Give them a try on a small scale and see what you think!

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