Here’s a fun and tasty way to preserve your tomato bounty. Pickled Grape (or Cherry) Tomatoes are delicious in salads, in a sandwich, on a cheese or charcuterie board or just for healthy snacking right out of the jar!
With the tomato season beginning to wind down, you may be like us and wondering what more you can do with the cherry or grape tomatoes that have been in overload status.
Here’s a very unique way to extend the harvest and enjoy them all winter long!
The inspiration behind this recipe:
A personal chef client of mine who was getting ready to move gave me a jar of pickled red tomatoes from Eastern Europe last year that someone had given her. She’s allergic to tomatoes and I love anything tomatoes so of course, I accepted! I was excited to try them because along with loving anything tomato, I love anything pickled! I also had never heard of pickled ripe red tomatoes. Pickled green tomatoes–sure–but never pickled ripe tomatoes.
One bite and I was obsessed and had to make!
In researching how to make pickled tomatoes, I was inspired by this recipe for Russian Grandma’s Pickled Tomatoes at Happy Kitchen Rocks. Pickling ripe tomatoes is somewhat of an old-world thing to do which fascinated me even more.
What are pickled tomatoes like?
I canned these in a water bath so these pickled tomatoes are on the softer side like a cooked tomato, but they’re infused with a salty, vinegary brine and the flavors of dill, onion, garlic and the kick of cayenne pepper.
You can also do them without the hot water bath to store in your refrigerator so that will keep the texture more on the firm side. However, you’ll need to enjoy them within a month or two.
How to make Pickled Grape Tomatoes:
- Start with approximately 8 pints of large, ripe but FIRM grape tomatoes. Do not use overly ripe tomatoes! You can also use mini plum tomatoes or regular plum tomatoes. (Use wide-mouth quart jars if using regular plum tomatoes.)
- Prep the other ingredients:
- Cayenne Peppers
- Oak Leaves (DO NOT EAT)
Wait, what? Oak leaves?
Yes, oak leaves.
It’s common to add some leaves such as oak, grape, horseradish or black tea leaves to fermented pickles to keep them crisp. For tomatoes, it’s believed they help keep the tomatoes from splitting or bursting. I don’t know if that is true or not because my tomatoes still split a little bit but I love the “old-worldliness” of it. (The splitting didn’t affect the taste or texture at all.) Just make sure your leaves are fresh and no insect is setting up shop on it!
Oak leaves have the highest level of tannins of all the above leaves which can produce an off-taste, so only use part of the leaf in each jar. I cut small oak leaves into three pieces and large leaves into four. Please do not eat the oak leaves!
- Using a small skewer, poke two holes in each tomato, one hole on each side of the stem end. This will also help to keep the tomatoes from bursting and it also helps to get the delicious pickled flavor inside the tomato.
- Pack clean, sterilized jars with all the ingredients.
- Make a brine of:
- Two parts water
- One part white distilled vinegar
- Bring it to a boil then pour it over the tomatoes.
- Seal the jars and process covered in a hot water bath for 10 minutes for long-term storage -OR- let cool and refrigerate.
That’s it! Let the tomatoes “pickle” for a week or so before enjoying. You’ll love them on salads, on a cheese or charcuterie board, on or with sandwiches or just eating them right out of the jar! And the brine is good enough to drink! Evidently, heavy drinkers in the old world used it for a hangover cure!
Be sure to try my other pickle and preserved tomato recipes:
- Quick Pickled Beets with Dill
- Quick Pickled Brussels Sprouts with Jalapeno
- Pickled Ramps
- Tomato Confit
Pickled Grape (or Cherry) Tomatoes
- 8 pints large grape, cherry or small Roma tomatoes
- 20 large cloves garlic - halved if large (2 per jar)
- ½ large onion - cut into 8 pieces
- 10 fresh cayenne or other small hot peppers - cut in half (may also use dried)
- 1 bunch fresh dill - or dill flowers
- 3-4 large oak leaves - cut into 10 pieces
- 6 cups water
- 3 cups white vinegar
- 3 heaping tablespoons pickling salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Gently prick the tomato skins with a toothpick or small skewer twice on opposite sides to prevent cracking.
- Pack tomatoes, garlic, onion wedges, cayenne, dill and oak leaves evenly into sterilized jars leaving ½-inch headspace at the top.
- Combine the water, vinegar, salt and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let the brine simmer 3-4 minutes to ensure salt and sugar are dissolved.
- TO SEAL JARS: Bring enough water to cover the pint jars to a boil in a large pot or canner.
- Ladle brine into the filled jars to within ¼-inch of the top. The brine should cover the contents of the jars.
- Wipe off the tops with a paper towel or a lint-free kitchen towel. Place the lid and rim on the jars and tighten.
- Place the jars in the water canner so they are completely submerged. Process jars in the canner for 10 minutes, starting the timer as soon as you put the jars in the canner.
- TO REFRIGERATE: Fill with hot brine, let cool, put on lids and refrigerate.
These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you're using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.