Pickled Cherry Tomatoes

4.34 from 9 votes
1 hour
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Here’s a fun and tasty way to preserve your tomato bounty.  Pickled 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!

Photo of pint jars of Pickled Grape Tomatoes with fresh tomatoes and dill scattered around.

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.

Pickling and canning cherry tomatoes is 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 them!

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 cherry 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.

Close-up photo of pickled tomatoes in small white bowl garnished with dill/

How to Make Pickled Cherry Tomatoes:

  • Start with approximately 8 pints of large, ripe but FIRM cherry (or 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.)
Photo of multicolored grape tomatoes in white antique colander on white background.
  • Prep the other ingredients:
    • Garlic
    • Onion
    • Cayenne Peppers
    • Dill
    • Oak Leaves (DO NOT EAT)
Photo of ingredients for pickled tomatoes.

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 them!

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!

Then…

  • 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.
Photo showing how to prick the tomatoes with wooden skewer before canning.
  • Pack clean, sterilized jars with all the ingredients.
Photo of grape tomatoes in glass pint jar before brine is added.
Top down close-up photo of tomatoes and other ingredients packed into glass pint jars.
  • Make a brine of:
    • Two parts water
    • One part white distilled vinegar
    • Salt
    • Sugar
  • Bring it to a boil then pour it over the tomatoes.
Photo of brine in saucepan being stirred with wire whisk.
  • Seal the jars and process covered in a hot water bath for 10 minutes for long-term storage -OR- let cool and refrigerate.
Photo of finished Pickled Grape Tomatoes in glass pint jars.
Photo of Pickled Grape Tomatoes in glass pint jar with fresh dill and tomatoes scattered about.

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!

Enjoy!

Close up photo of opened jar of Pickled Grape Tomatoes and some in small white bowl.

Be sure to try my other pickle and preserved tomato recipes:

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Pickled Grape Tomatoes - Close-up shot of pickled tomatoes in small white bowl garnished with dill

Pickled Cherry Tomatoes

4.34 from 9 votes

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By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
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!
Prep Time 50 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Pickles and Relishes
Cuisine East European
Servings 10 pints
Calories 99 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 8 pints large grape, cherry or small Roma tomatoes
  • 20 large cloves garlic - halved if large (2 per jar)
  • 1/2 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

Instructions
 

  • 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 1/2-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 1/4-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.

Notes

PLEASE do not eat the oak leaves!
Whether you refrigerate the pickled tomatoes or can them, wait 7 days before enjoying.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 99kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 145mg | Potassium: 938mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 3171IU | Vitamin C: 56mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 1mg

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.

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4.34 from 9 votes (8 ratings without comment)

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13 Comments

    1. Hi, Teri, Thanks for your question. You shouldn’t need that much more time–perhaps another couple of minutes but no more than 15 minutes as you don’t want mushy tomatoes. Thanks again and hope you enjoy!

    1. Hi, Stephanie, Thanks so much for your question. I’m not aware that it’s possible to purchase oak leaves. I just went out into my yard and looked for some good, insect-free oak leaves. You can use a piece of a grape leaf or something much easier to find would be a bay leaf. Thanks again and hope you enjoy!

  1. The text says make brine with two parts water and two parts vinegar. To me, that means equal amounts. The recipe calls for twice as much water as vinegar. six cups to three cups.

    1. Hi, Diane, Thanks so very much!! And they say people don’t read the text/narrative on food blogs. So glad you did. It’s 2:1 – two parts water to one part vinegar per the recipe… unless you like it more tart. Thanks again and hope you enjoy!!

    1. Hi, Breanna, Thanks so much for your question. Yes, you probably could as it’s not a lot of sugar. Perhaps make the brine with a little less vinegar and a touch more water. Thanks again and hope you enjoy!