A First Try at Home Canning ~ Green Tomato Pickles

I had a plethora of green tomatoes left on the vines, and with the unseasonally warm autumn, I let them stay right up until the bitter end. Happily my weather-watching paid off, because the very day after I picked these, we had the first frost.

green tomato slice

green tomato slice
slice of green tomato, in varying autumn light


I went out to get some more mason jars for my dry goods, and right there on the shelf above I found a beautiful Granite Ware hot-water canner and a little canning kit. For $12, I could not pass it up. The kit consisted of the 21-qt canner with lid and a rack to hold seven quart-sized jars, a wide-mouth funnel, a pair of jar-lifting tongs, a magnetic lid-lifter, and a tool to remove air bubbles from packed food. I decided to try canning my own green tomato pickles.

The recipe was very basic, with no sugar. Only the tomatoes, salt, vinegar, water and pickling spice (and yes, I cheated this first time and bought ready-made pickling spice!). I haven’t cracked open a jar yet, as it needs to cure. If they taste any good I will post the recipe later. Meanwhile, here is the process in photos. It was alot of fun, if somewhat time-consuming, and I definitely intend to try more home-canning.

getting ready to can
getting ready ~ tomatoes, jars, bands and lids all washed in hot soapy water, rinsed and dried

tomatoes ready to slice
clean tomatoes ready to slice

sliced green tomatoes
two and one-half lbs of green tomatoes were sliced, about 1/4″ thick

green tomato pickle ready to cook
the sliced tomatoes were layered with kosher salt and pickling spices in a large, non-reactive pot. vinegar and water was carefully poured over, and the whole cooked about fifteen minutes, until fork-tender

filling the jars
using the wide-mouth funnel, cooked tomatoes and liquid were ladled into sterilized pint-sized jars. tops and threads were wiped clean, and sterile lids applied and fastened in place with the dry, sterile bands

pickles in water bath
the jars were transferred to the rack of the canner, and lowered into the hot-water bath, which must cover the jars by 1 to 2 inches. water was brought to a boil, canner covered and the jars processed in the boiling water for ten minutes

green tomato pickes out of the water bath
when ten minutes was up, the rack was lifted and the jars allowed to cool slightly before removing with the jar-lifting tongs. they were set on a clean towel to absorb heat and prevent cracking. after 24 hrs, the seal was tested (making sure the lid would not spring back when pressed). now the pickles are ready to be stored in a cool, dark place for up to one year


I also bought some no-sugar-needed pectin — naturally sweet yellow-tomato jam might be next! 🙂

Oh, and How ‘Bout Those Sox!!!! 🙂



  1. Siri said

    Hmmmm.. love the pics dear.. nice post..:))

    Thanks so much Siri, glad you enjoyed! 🙂

  2. Nabeela said

    That indeed looks fun! Do let us know how they turn out

    It was fun Nabeela — you would really enjoy this. I will let you know, for sure 🙂

  3. Indira said

    What a game! Congrats to Sox’s fan(s). 🙂

    Green tomato pickle looks great, Linda. What is in that pickling spice? I can see from photos, red pepper, black pepper, cloves, and is that mace?

    It was an exciting game, and good spirit-booster around here; thanks, Indira 🙂

    You have a good eye! The ingredients are: cinnamon, allspice, mustard seed (this must be yellow, hardly caught any in the mix) coriander, bay leaves, ginger, cloves, chiles (there’s your red), black pepper, mace, and cardamom.

    It was quite fragrant, but not like homemade would be 🙂

  4. sra said

    Linda, that second photo is lovely. It reminds me of this book called Greengage Summer, by Rumer Godden, and the edition I read had a cover in a similar colour. Would you believe me if I said the colour, even more than the blurb at the back, made me reach for that book? It was a great read, and your photo reminded me of the nice time I had reading that book.

    Hi Sra, I do believe it — sounds like something I would do! I’m glad you got a good memory from the photo 🙂

  5. padmaja said

    Linda!! I love green tomatoes and i had in abundance this summer. i gave to all my friends here along with the simple recipes like dal, chutney but we didn’t know about this pickle or else!!mmmhhh may be next year!!!

    Hope you can try some next year, Padmaja! I’ve made dal too — no chutney yet but would like to try that! 🙂

  6. indosungod said

    The pickling process looks so interesting, I would love to try sometime, the tomato pickles look great, how about a few green chilies in there Linda 🙂

    I wonder whether we could ever grow enough brinjal for canning, ISG! 😉 I knew you would like some chiles in there — I want to try an Indian flavored tomato pickle, so will add extra chiles in that for you 🙂

  7. Asha said

    YAY!! Red Sox won!:))

    Great idea. I have a bunch left on the vines too. Got to make some kind of curry and clean up the yard. At last it’s getting cold here!:)

    Did you win Suvir Saran new book? Congratulations! I just got it from Library, lot of fusion cooking!! Enjoy your’s. Happy Monday!:)

    Thanks Asha, hooray for the Red Sox! My son was so happy about that. I did win one of the Suvir books — very excited to read it. It’s below 30 mornings now, so yes, time to get out and clean up the garden and hunker down for winter, and nice warming soups and goodies like that! Have a great day, yourself 🙂

  8. Nice one Linda….Now I know what ur last post was :-)) We had crazy answers right :-)))
    Nice post………..Pics look great 🙂

    Hi Sirisha, I loved everyone’s guesses! Glad you enjoyed the canning pics 🙂

  9. Seema said

    Linda – Great pickling of Tomatoes. Nice to see the process & sure your gardening efforts are paid off!! Sure your family loves dishes from your own garden of veg !
    Great pictures.. that was a hard guess!! We are ready for the next 🙂

    Thank you Seema, I was sure happy about that garden this year 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the pics — I love those guessing games! 🙂

  10. sandeepa said

    You have some enthusiasm Linda…the process pics are great.
    I just pureed mine and froze them in ice tray, now I have cubes & cubes of pureed tomato 🙂

    Glad you enjoyed, Sandeepa, thanks! Did you puree green tomatoes? I wish I had enough ripe ones left to freeze. I made chutney out of the last big batch 🙂

  11. Helena C. Rådström said

    What a lovely harvest! I wish we could grow green tomatoes here too! We love to make our own pickles/sauces as we think they taste better than store-bought. My husband even wants to make his own ketchup after watching the River Cottage series! Continue the lovely work, Linda!

    Thanks for your kind comments, Helena! I will have to visit your blog to find out where “here” is 🙂 I actually found a recipe for green tomato catsup — may try that yet! 🙂

  12. mandira said

    we should do a virtual canning party Linda! That’ll be fun 🙂 And how about the sox! That was so much fun last night. I remember the first time Patriots won the series, everyone was out on the streets and lot of partying late into the night. Ahh, the good ‘ole days 😉

    Hi Mandira, these New England teams have such a long history of breaking hearts, it’s nice to see them finally winning for a change! What shall we can for our party? 🙂

  13. Mishmash! said

    Linda, hats off to you, dear 🙂 Neat idea and I am sure it will be good this way.

    Thanks Shn — have never tried so can’t be sure, but it’s an old-fashioned recipe so I hope it works! 🙂

  14. bee said

    we bought jars and theya re staring at us ‘cos we didn’t can anything. i’m still intimidated by it. your canned tomaotes have a very pretty colour.

    Hi Bee — it was a bit intimidating to me before I tried it. I found a super-easy step-by-step canning tutorial at freshpreserving.com — that helped. I like the green tomatoes in all their colors, fresh and cooked — thanks! 🙂

  15. sharmi said

    this is indeed a very good idea. it must taste divine! a little hard work but worth the effort right?

    Most good things are worth that extra effort, yes, Sharmi — thanks very much! 🙂

  16. Srivalli said

    Linda…everything looks so wonderful…lovely green tomato slices!…this is a wonderful post…can’t wait to see if this works out fine!

    Thank you Srivalli — I can’t wait, myself. The tomatoes were every shade of green! 🙂

  17. Suganya said

    Now that will give me a sense of pride. I will be beaming proudly the whole day.

    Thank you Suganya — it’s always fun to try something new and hopefully this one will be successful in the end 🙂

  18. Helena C. Rådström said

    Oh, dear! I get so caught up in the reply, I even forgot to mention the “here”! Well, now you know… thank you for visiting 🙂 And I look forward to the catsup! 😉

  19. vineela said

    Hi Linda,
    Saw your comment at my blog.thank you dear.Actually ,i became mom {“first time” }6 months ago and now my little cute one will keeps me day and night busy.Thats why iam away from blogging.
    My mom makes instant chutney with green /red chillies,onion ,salt ,green tomatoes frying in little amount oil.
    But pickle sounds and looks great.
    Do we need to store these bottles in fridge??
    Thanks for sharing.

    Hi, Vineela dear! So happy to hear from you and with such wonderful news, too! Congratulations and all the best to your family. I am sure that little bundle of joy will keep you *very* busy indeed! 🙂

    If you process the pickles in the boiling water bath, and they seal properly, you can store in a cool dark place for up to a year. If they don’t seal, you would have to keep in the fridge, yes. I would like to try that chutney of your mom’s, too! Thanks for passing by and hope to see you little more often 🙂

  20. VegeYum said

    Oh these look so good. I wonder where I can get green tomatoes from? I don’t grow them at the moment – apartment living does have some drawbacks.

    You might find a friend with a garden who is willing to share some! Sometimes you can get them at a farmer’s market as well — especially if they have a big crop and a late warm autumn 🙂

  21. Cynthia said

    Send me a bottle! 🙂

    I would love to dear 🙂

  22. tammy said

    go sox! How ’bout a green tomato picalilly recipe?

  23. noeline said

    hi noeline, thought this might interest you.

  24. noeline said

    i guess i did irt the wrong way. should have typed in my name and address.oh well, hope you get it anyway.

  25. Katie said

    I made this recipe . . . we had so many left over green tomatoes from our plants. I added some of our home grown peppers to it too. I wonder how it will turn out . . .


    • Cindy said

      I may try this one Patsy. Our 69 tomatoes plants are still going and its 11-3-12. N. California weather was good for tomatoes this year. I have canned every tomato receipe I could fine and so tired of tomatoes! Thanks for the recipe.

  27. […] mouth-watering pictures for this Green Tomato Pickles recipe make it a tempting idea. The author made hers by this simple […]

  28. Trish Smith said

    I am looking for a recipe which included green tomatoes, peppers, vinegar, salt to can. Nothing I have seen so far has anything to do with it.

  29. Chris Muir said

    Hi, I see this post started some time ago but it appears to still be active. So I just have to ask, how did those pickles work out?

    I salt everything from eggplant to zucchini as a preliminary way to remove moisture and enhanse firmness / crispness; but I always rinse the vegies well befor proceeding with the recipe. I imagine that leaving the salt in the actual canning liquide might have yielded a very salty pickle.

    To be honest, I hadn’t seen all the recent activity! The pickles turned out great. Proportion of salt was very low considering how much vinegar was used. Not too salty at all. Thanks for stopping.

    • Cindy said

      Mine were wonderful but added white onions and garlic!

  30. Marvin said

    Loved the ‘post’, but was wondering why you didn’t include the spec’s of the recipe. Had never done pickled green tomatos and your post got me startedtwo weeks ago. HAd a ton of green tomatos this year and searched out various recipes — didn’t find yours. Have tried two of the four I printed out, but would like — I think– to try yours — any ideas where I can find it??

    Hi Marvin, I hope you get some great pickles with your green tomatoes! I’m sorry I don’t really have a recipe for this — I kind of made it up as I went along 🙂 Best wishes!

  31. cinrafter said

    We had picled all our green tomatoes (69 plants) in late November and placed them in boxs, covered so they were dark and cool in the barn. We has tomatoes thru Febuary!

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