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How to Make Tomato Pickle from Green Tomatoes

Updated on April 26, 2015
Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon loves cooking and experimenting with food. He loves making new dishes, particularly with unusual or underused ingredients.

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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