Fermented Green Tomatoes

When my family gathered at my grandparents for family dinner, the meals were enough to give me a life-long pursuit of delicious, made-from-scratch food. My favorites were the pickled fruits and vegetables that accompanied the meals, cucumbers, beets, watermelon rind, and (my mouth is watering) green tomatoes. My grandma pickled the traditional way with vinegar.

Since learning to ferment vegetables, pickling them without vinegar, I experimented and came up with the most delicious, fizzy recipe for Pickled Green Tomatoes. We opened a jar yesterday and were WOWed by the flavor and texture.

Since the tomatoes are fermented rather than pickled with vinegar and heat, the contents of the jar are full of lovely, little, living organisms, mostly lacto-bacteria. My daughter had the bright idea of viewing these little organisms under the microscope. Let me just say they are cute and wiggly and very tiny.

And let me also say, YUM!

This is the perfect time of year to pickle green tomatoes as the last tomatoes linger on the vine. The perfect tomatoes to use are still smallish and very green. If they have started to turn, they do not taste good pickled. They taste downright awful. I found this out last year. Bleck.

These tomatoes were prepared today. They are bright when first placed in the jar, but will soften in color as they ferment.

Pickled Green Tomatoes
Makes 1 quart

7-8 small green tomatoes, freshly picked from the vine
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
2 tablespoons fresh dill, snipped
(OR 2 tablespoons dried dill weed
OR 1 tablespoon dried dill weed and 1 tablespoon dill seed)
1 tablespoon sea salt, preferably Kosher
4 tablespoons whey (if not available, use and additional 1 tablespoon salt)
2-3 cloves garlic (do not mince or crush)
filtered water

Wash green tomatoes well and place in a quart-sized, wide-mouth mason jar. Add all the ingredients except the water to the jar, stuffing the garlic in the holes. Add enough water to fill jar, but leaving at least 1 inch below the top of the jar. Cover tightly. Shake to stir ingredients. Keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage. For best results, allow to ferment for at least 1 month. When the jar is opened, the liquid will fizz. This is a good thing!

This recipe was adapted from other recipes found in the Nourishing Traditions cookbook by Sally Fallon.

amanda ∞

10 thoughts on “Fermented Green Tomatoes

  1. Lynn says:

    What fun memories this evoked for me. My grandparents put up pickles that my cousins have continued to this day…I can almost taste the tart taste while writing this. Your tomatoes look delicious and I love that your daughters’ curiosity took her to her microcope!

  2. Jordan says:

    Hi Amanda, love the site! Here in Michigan we have a local coney whose owner ferments green tomatoes and gives them to select customers. 🙂 He puts jalapenos in the mix so it’s spicy and they always turn out fantastic! He gave me his recipe and I just cut the last 15 or so green tomatoes from my garden to start some myself. His recipe is:

    Quarter (or halve if small) green tomatoes and put in a large jar (1-2 gal)
    Cover with 1-2 cups salt, make sure salt touches all the tomatoes
    Leave 24 hours
    Boil water to fill jar with any extra ingredients. I’m adding sliced habaneros from my garden, mustard seed, dill, and garlic.
    Pour boiling water over tomatoes/salt, seal jar
    Shake
    Let sit for 2-4 weeks or until you can’t handle it anymore and cave in to opening

    Should be good!

  3. Lisa Harper says:

    Wowee! I loved picked anything. I’m goint to attempt making these. I have similar memories of my grandparents’ meals. They canned all kinds of fresh veggies and fruits. Everything always tasted better at their house…even a plain ole turkey sandwich tasted special!

  4. Shannon says:

    I am SO glad I found this recipe! I just picked the last of my tomatoes to save them from the frost and I hate to waste them. I also enjoy Nourishing Traditions, but was sad that there was no recipe for pickled green tomatoes. Thanks again, I will be trying this tomorrow!

  5. amanda says:

    So right. Thanks for making that point. Don’t boil the water, folks, or the veggies will not ferment. I use room temperature filtered water. Let that good lacto bacteria live. It’s good for your digestive tract.

  6. unixrab says:

    Is the lactic acid bacteria in cultured buttermilk a suitable source of bacteria since I don’t have any whey on hand?

    THanks!

  7. amanda says:

    No. The milk solids of the buttermilk will make the fermentation process go funky. If you have no whey, just add 1 tablespoon more salt. Mmmmm. Enjoy.

    amanda

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