How to Make Tomato Pickle from Green Tomatoes

Tomato pickle ready to be added to glass jars
Tomato pickle ready to be added to glass jars

Do you grow your own tomatoes? Are you frequently left at the end of the growing season with a supply of unripe, green tomatoes, which you are forced to try to ripen off the vine? While fried green tomatoes are popular in some cultures or geographical areas, other people would prefer an alternative option to prevent the remains of their crop simply going to waste. That is where pickling the green tomatoes in a way that will see them last throughout the winter is such a favourable and cost effective option.

This sweet tomato pickle recipe is old, its precise age and origins no longer even known. It has, however, been "tweaked" in this instance in a couple of ways. The original recipe uses only green tomatoes in its preparation but simply to vary it a little, it has been made here from half ripe and half unripe tomatoes. The vinegar used has also been changed, from malt vinegar in the original recipe to apple cider vinegar. Why not give this idea a go and discover how enjoyable your homegrown tomatoes can be all year round?

Preparing the Ingredients for Homemade Tomato Pickle

The principal ingredients for homemade tomato pickle
The principal ingredients for homemade tomato pickle
The tomatoes are halved and then sliced
The tomatoes are halved and then sliced
The onions are peeled, halved and finely sliced
The onions are peeled, halved and finely sliced
The apples are peeled, cored and roughly chopped
The apples are peeled, cored and roughly chopped

Ingredients List

1 ½ lb unripe tomatoes
1 ½ lb ripe tomatoes
1lb onions
1lb cooking apples
½ lb soft brown sugar
15 fl oz cider (or malt) vinegar
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp sea salt

Preparing the Ingredients

It is best to have all the ingredients measured out and prepared before you actually start adding them to the pot. Remember that everything is going to be cooked down and combined so it is not necessary to be too precise when chopping the fruit/vegetables.

Peel the onions, half them and then finely slice each half. Wash the tomatoes and prepare them in the same way.

The apples should be cored, peeled and roughly chopped to approximately a half inch dice.

The vinegar should be measured out in a jug and the sugar carefully weighed.

The spices/seasoning can be measured straight from their containers to the pot.

A Proper Stock or Soup Pot is Essential when Making Homemade Tomato Pickle

It is vitally important when you are contemplating making this - or any - pickle, you ensure you have a pot which is large enough for the job. Remember, once your ingredients are chopped, they will take up considerably more space than they do when whole and your initial perception of whether a pot is large enough or not may be deceptive. Do you want to assemble and prepare all your ingredients for this tasty condiment, only to find that you can't fit them all in to your largest pot...?

Tomato pickle ingredients are all added to a stock pot
Tomato pickle ingredients are all added to a stock pot
The ingredients are carefully and thoroughly stirred
The ingredients are carefully and thoroughly stirred

Making the Sweet Tomato Pickle

There is certainly no great culinary finesse required in making this tomato pickle. It is simply a case of adding all the ingredients to the stock pot, stirring them carefully but well and turning on the heat. Keep the pot on a high heat until the liquid starts to simmer and then reduce. You want to achieve a moderate simmer throughout the cooking period, which will be around an hour and a half to two hours. Stir the mixture occasionally with a large wooden spoon.

While the tomato pickle is cooking down, you can use some of the time to sterilise the jars in which you are going to store it. The quantities in this recipe should provide enough pickle to approximately fill five 12oz glass jars. Remember that the jars must be heated before the pickle is added and they are sealed, irrespective of which type of jars/seals you are using.

When all the liquid has been evaporated from the chutney and it has considerably thickened, turn off the heat, carefully spoon it in to your jars and seal.

Tomato pickle carefully ladled in to jars
Tomato pickle carefully ladled in to jars

Serving your Sweet Tomato Pickle

The tomato pickle is ready to eat as soon as it has sufficiently cooled. It is delicious served with a wide range of meats and vegetables but is particularly appealing served simply with some cheddar cheese and crackers as a tasty snack.

Homemade sweet tomato pickle on cheese and crackers
Homemade sweet tomato pickle on cheese and crackers

Varying this Sweet Tomato Pickle Recipe

It is of course possible to vary this recipe in any number of ways. One option, where you like a little bit of heat to your pickle, is simply to add a teaspoon of chilli powder with the remainder of the spices. Experimentation over a period of time will, however, pay dividends in adapting this recipe to suit your personal tastes.

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8 comments

stessily 4 years ago

Gordon: Great photos + clear instructions = another great recipe! Really makes me wish, for about the millionth time, that I had planted tomatoes this year! I am so glad that you are my "neighbour" on hubpages and that you generously share your recipes over the hubpages fence in the hubpages back yard! :-) Voted up, useful, interesting, beautiful, awesome. Thank you for the time you put into your hubs and for the artistry of their arrangement. Well done.


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 4 years ago from San Francisco

This is so neat! How long does the tomato pickle keep? Should one keep it in the fridge or just store it in a cool dark place?


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 4 years ago from Central Oklahoma

This recipe makes my mouth water! How I wish now that I'd talked the neighbor with the green thumb into planting tomatoes in my flower beds instead of flowers! Naturally, this recipe *would* show up the year I live in a new state and don't know anyone with an abundance of leftover unripened tomatoes! Am bookmarking this hub for future reference!


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 4 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Hi, stessily. Thanks for your visit and comment and particularly for that wonderful neighbour analogy! That's a fantastic way of phrasing Hub activity, information exchange and friendship. I hope that you have a bountiful crop of tomatoes next year that you may try this idea and lots more recipes and serving suggestions :)

Thank you, Simone. The length of time it keeps depends on how well it is sealed. Any proper sealing method will easily allow it to keep through the Winter, stored in a cool, dark place. Only when the seal on each jar is broken should it be stored in the fridge and used within about a week. I remember as a very young child my parents making this chutney (the original version) in vast quantities and it lasting right through to being made again the following year!

JamaGenee, I'm sorry you are stuck without the tomatoes. I hope at least that your flower display was worth having. I hope that you do find a way to get the green tomatoes, if not this year then at least next, and that you enjoy this pickle as much as I have done all my life :)


tonymead60 profile image

tonymead60 4 years ago from Yorkshire

HI Gordon

too late with this recipe for me this year I'm afraid; I followed another recipe off hubs to make tomato jam. Sounds odd, but very tasty, I'm using it in my cooking to give a sweet and sour taste to things.

great hub as always Gordon well done.

Tony


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 4 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Cheers, Tony. The jam sounds interesting. Given that this pickle is sweet, it may not be that different. I'll bear it in mind for next year's tomatoes!


samiaali profile image

samiaali 4 years ago

Hi Gordon Hamilton, My answer to your first two questions are 'yes' and 'yes'! LOL This is a great Hubpage! Thank you very much. :)


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 4 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Hi, samiaali. I am above all glad that the page is useful to you. Thank you very much for visiting and commenting and I very much hope this pickle is something you try and enjoy.

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