Pickled Green Tomatoes & The Butcher and the Vegetarian

This year’s tomato track record isn’t all that bad yet and we’re immediately jumping on the pickling band-wagon. The current tomato plant count is 4 out of 20 died due to disease, which is much less than what we suffered last year.  In 2009, the whole nation suffered a tomato crisis where a late blight hammered many crops and home gardens.

Some tomatoes are more disease resistant than others, so with fingers tightly crossed, were thinking that the dead plants were the weaker varieties.

Too many green tomatoes to count!

Still, all the little green tomato globes hanging on the vines are examples of mother nature at her best. Different shapes, shades and sizes of green tomatoes are popping up everywhere and we can’t keep up with the count. If all goes well, these tomato babies will be plump, red , sweet, juicy and ripe in a month or so!

Again, our fingers are tightly crossed for a bumper tomato crop. The wait for the clusters to change hue is always rewarding because every day, they change a little bit in color, size and shape. Yes, we stalk our tomatoes every morning, like every good gardener should. 😉

The vines that did start to die back didn’t all go to waste. After treating the plants with organic neem oil and clipping back the weaker branches, some survived their initial scare and we were able to gather the green tomatoes and pickle them using Tara’s basic brine recipe.

Tara Weaver, writer of the lovely blog Tea and Cookies, had an easy and perfect basic pickling brine that can be customized in all sorts of directions. She suggested a sweet and sour option, which would be a refreshing take on our standard salty-sour brine. Like she says, play with your pickling brine and have fun.

If you’re a lover of great writing, then you probably are already reading Tara on her scrumptious blog. If  you aren’t reading Tara yet, then you’ll be treated to her gorgeous prose and brilliant collection of essays that instantly transport you along in her food travels. Everything that Tara produces is a must-read, an escape to a better place when you’re in need of something funny and uplifting.

Her award winning writing is like chatting with a good friend because she her visual, comforting posts, candor and raw honesty are real and genuine.

Tara’s newest book, The Butcher and the Vegetarian, is a lovely example of why this woman has so much talent in every single one of her writing digits. We were immediately connected to this book because the premise of the book was a mirror image of us. When we first met, I was a vegetarian and Todd was all about the meat (he grew up on a cattle ranch).

While I was feasting on grilled tofu, he was gnawing on his favorite t-bone. He’s forever my cowboy.

This fun, funny, intelligent and thought provoking book about food and life says it all in the title: “One Woman’s Romp through a World of Men, Meat and Moral Crisis”.  One would think that Tara’s book is a chick-flick on paper, a girl’s romantic Cinderella story about being swept away by an opposite, a knife wielding butcher.

But her book is so deep in her personal journey about eating meat for health reasons and she goes knee deep into the whole business and politics of meat. The culture of meat and its place in our current food chain are just  few of the topics she touches on in some eye-opening chapters.

This book needs to be made into a movie and it’s so good that we won’t be surprised that it will one day. Grab a copy and read it now before our predictions come true.

Happy Summer & Green Tomatoes to you all!


Pickled Green Tomatoes Recipe

Yield: 1 lb.

Total Time: 15 minutes

Serve these great pickled tomatoes as a side to grilled dishes or sandwiches. The basic brine was based from Tara's basic pickling brine recipe.


  • about 1 pound small, green tomatoes (washed, stems removed)
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup canning & pickling salt (can use sea salt or kosher salt, just make sure it fully dissolves)
  • 2 teaspoons celery salt
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • chili flakes (optional for a little heat!)
  • glass containers for pickling


  1. In a large enough saucepan, add water, vinegar, kosher/sea salt bring to a strong simmer, stirring until the salt has all dissolved.
  2. Sterilize your glass containers by submerging them in a pot of boiling water.
  3. Place tomatoes in glass containers and add hot bring until the tomatoes are completely covers.
  4. Allow the bring in the jars to cool, then cover and put in fridge. You’ll want to wait a few days for the to flavor develop before eating.
  5. The tomatoes can keep in the fridge for a few months, as long as no mold, scum, spoiling occurs. Check the jars regularly.
Recipe Source: WhiteOnRiceCouple.com.

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Recipe Note for Salt: All recipes containing salt are based on kosher or sea salt amounts, not table salt. If using table salt, reduce the amount used to taste.


{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }
  1. Sam

    Your pictures are very nice! I usually just take mine off the vine and eat with a little salt and pepper – pickling them was a nice new way to eat them! Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Todd & Diane

      Hi Sam! Eating the green tomatoes with salt and pepper sounds delicious, we’ve never eaten them like that before!

  2. Grace

    I have so much green baby tomatoes I picked in our garden. I’m going to pickle them for the first time. Can’t wait to see and taste them when they are ready. Thanks for sharing the recepies!

  3. Mary Ann Szymanski

    I live in Wilm Del, I had the most beautify and sweet Tom’s. And their comming still I went and picked picked some small green ones and making your resp.right now. Looking forward to tasting them.Thanks

  4. eric

    Yes this does sound good! From all over the internet, this recipe sounds like the one I am looking for. I do love tomatoes, but I would probably add some red tomatoes, a few onions, and will use some red tabasco peppers instead of the chili. But thank yall, and chances that I may come to you for a recipe again is VERRY likely

  5. Chuck

    I followed instructions but I used kosher salt. I would use 1/2 the salt the recipe calls for the next time as they are almost too salty to eat.

  6. Henry

    This looks like a good idea to help me use the bazillon cherry tomatoes I have growing right now .I see the recipe calls for 2 quarts of water but I’m thinking that should be 2 cups. I don’t think one pound of tomatoes would be enoughh for all that liquid Am I right? My Recipe for refrigerator pickles calls for 2 cups water to 1 cup vinegar and that is just right for 4 pints. Also I always put the lids on my pickles when the brine is hot and let them cool to room temp before refriging them. This cooling of sealed jars causes the lids to contract and after they are further cooled in the frig the lids are sucked down tighter than a drum. I usually need to use a spoon handle to pop the lids off. No germs are getting in these babies….Thanks for the recipe !!

  7. anya

    You can add a pepper for some hotness. broke in half it will make the brine wonderful. You can also pickle only in vinegar and water, or only in salt, but play with the herbs. Horseradish and celery sticks are a classic in my family. With some mustard seeds perhaps. My in-laws make this sweetly salty brine and they pickle together green tomatoes ( can be pickled even pink) and pears and cucumbers. Lovely mix

  8. Erin

    I’ve been wanting to make pickled green tomatoes for the first time this year as I have a TON of them left over from my garden. I’ve been reading about canning things a lot, since I’ve never done this before, and most of the recipes say to seal the jars using a boiling water bath. This one doesn’t. Isn’t it important to do that to kill any bacteria? Thanks for any insights!

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Hi Erin,
      We aren’t experts, so you’ll have to take this with a grain of salt (pickling humor 😉 ). Since these are refrigerated pickles, and have enough salt and vinegar, as long as the tomatoes stay fully submerged, they should safely preserved in the fridge for several months. For canning to be stored in a pantry or if it isn’t a salty, vinegary brine, you’d definitely want to sterilize and seal with a boiling water bath. And if the pickles or their brine gets moldy or funky, it is time to toss. Hope that helps. Good luck!

      T & D

  9. Rachael

    Love this, (naturally) and am for sure going to check out the book.

    One little note though…subbing a 1/2 cup of Kosher salt for 1/2 cup of pickling salt is going to yield vastly different results.

    Also…my tip for green tomatoes is to salt them and let rest for at least eight hours, then rinse before pickling. Why? Pre-salting draws out some moisture, which dilutes your brine.

    Can’t wait to try this otherwise! Thanks for sharing.


  10. Kitt

    (The recipe still says “celery salt.” )

    I just harvested a huge amount of green tomatoes. Time to pickle!

  11. Sue S

    Why do the tomatoes have to be stored in the frig?

  12. sara

    Hi! I just made 5 pints w/ this recipe. Did you by chance mean celery *seeds*? The recipe says celery salt. Looks like seeds in the pic, and seeds would make more sense to me than more salt.

    I hope the recipe is right; I just harvested my toms to the max for these…

    Please let me know. And thanks for the fun blog.

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Sara- yes! thanks for correction. The recipe correction should say celery seeds. thank you.

  13. Melissa

    Hi, this may be a silly question, but how would you adjust this recipe for larger green tomatoes? That’s all I have in my garden at the moment and would love to give this a try. Would you quarter them? Thanks for any help.

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Not silly at all. For us the cut would depend on what we were going to jar them in. If the tomatoes were still small enough to fit in a widemouth canning jar, we’d probably cut the tomatoes into wheels. They just look kinda cool. However if they were too big to fit that way, then probably in quarters or smaller. Mostly it is just an aesthetic choice. Don’t forget to set some aside to fry! The big ones are perfect for that!

  14. Mickie G

    I have a page with recipes for green tomato recipes and I would like to use (or reference) your recipe and an image to accompany it.
    Thank you for your consideration. MG

  15. Sonndapond

    It would appear we’re all thinking of pickles and chutney! Lovely photos as ever Diane and Todd. The green toms are so beautifully contrasted against the white and cobalt plates.

  16. Courtney

    fantastic photos and thanks so much for the “Tea and Cookies” recommendation. love great writing and great photos and am adding it to my morning reads. (in addition to your blog, of course.)

  17. kellypea

    I can’t believe I haven’t heard of pickled tomatoes before this. Clearly, I live under a rock. I do have my two large pots again this year with new resolve, though, hoping against the bloom rot I had last year. Glad to know there are other tomato stalkers out there 🙂 Lovely photos of your gorgeous green orbs!

  18. Tiina

    Ah, the green tomatoes look so delicious! We have red and yellow ones, but the only green ones around here are those that are still raw!
    And that book goes into my ever lenghtening TBR list right now!


  19. Terry L Eves

    Lovely recipe,and I love your website. But I do have one question. Is your quantity of green tomatoes correct in relation to the pickling ingredients? Nine cups of pickling liquid for one pound of tomatoes seems high.

    1. White on Rice Couple

      The recipe does leave extra pickling liquid. It is just a base recipe and you can save the extra in a sterilized jar for 2-3 months in a fridge. Tea (where the pickling recipe came from) talks about that in her post.

  20. Alex

    Beautiful shots and a lovely idea. Cannot wait for the tomatoes to start fruiting now

  21. Cindy

    Great blog! Your photographs are wonderful. I will definately try this recipe- we always end up with green tomatoes at the end of the season. thanks

  22. Brooke@foodwoolf

    I love Tara’s writing and can’t wait to read her newest book. Thank you for cajoling me to the book stands with the beautiful photos of tart green tomatoes! Yum!

  23. Lori Lynn

    I look forward to reading Tara’s book and blog.
    Grew up eating pickled green tomatoes. My dad loved them. And never heard of “fried green tomatoes” until I was an adult.

  24. mina

    i’m not sure about pickled green tomatoes but that book sounds fascinating. i just found you blog and i am in love with it. great work.

  25. PreeOccupied

    Those green tomatoes in the decanters look gorgeous. For a moment, I thought they were little eggplants (the first photo). ***** stars.

  26. liz

    I’ve been a longtime reader and never commented, but just wanted to say how much these photos jumped out at me. The color of the cutting board/wall and the freshness of the tomatoes in the brine – just lovely.

  27. sara

    i too, am a fan of Tara’s. You know its a great food blog, when you visit for the writing, whether you’re interested in the recipe or not. I can’t wait to read her book, its certainly on my list. Glad to know she has such a fan club, it is well deserved.

  28. Lia Huber

    I sweewaarre, everything you guys do is beautiful. That just seems so deliciously bold to pickle green tomatoes at the BEGINNING of the season. I always only think of doing it with my end-of-year tomatoes that don’t ripen. I had a similarly decadent moment in my own garden making this Asian Pesto (thought of you guys while making it too … and Heidi Swanson) the other day. I normally only make it end of season with all my crazy crop of basil, but haven’t had enough of a crop the last three years to make any at all. This year, with rockin’ new raised beds and a tree gone bye-bye, I had enough basil overflow to make pesto at the start of the season. Love it!

  29. Liam O'Malley

    These photographed beautifully… you have some great shots there. I’m sure they are delicious too.

  30. krissy @ thefoodaddicts.com

    wow! we’ve got a ton of green cherry & grape tomatoes right now too… we never thought about picking the green ones to pickle! what a great idea. thanks!

  31. A Canadian Foodie

    Wonderful photos – my plants got in only two weeks ago here!

  32. Cindy (Hard C)

    Howdy. Logistical question: when you say the tomatoes will keep in the fridge for a few months, are you referring to open jars, unopened or both? I haven’t yet delved into pickling, but my grandparents always send me several jars through out the summer and we store them in the cupboard until opening. Does it depend on the brine used? Thanks for your help (and beautiful photos)!

  33. Jessica

    I love pickles and tomatoes. The pickled green tomato is fantastic – your photos are awesome. What kind of lens do you use on these?

  34. Charles G Thompson

    Tomatoes are a very favorite food item of mine – especially nice, ripe late summer tomatoes. Those juicy, full-of-flavor ones. Yum. Pickling green ones is a nice option too. Thanks for the intro to Tara’s blog.

  35. Angela@spinachtiger

    Nice to know about this book. You make me want to purchase and read right now. When I met my husband I was also a vegetarian and he was such a good sport about it. I returned to meat, but not unenlightened. I still focus heavily on eating produce, mainly because I feel better. Thus the name..spinach tiger.

    Your tomatoes look lovely. A neighbor made the thomas keller tomato marmalade recently, a recipe I never would have thought appealing, until I tasted it. Then I couldn’t get it off my mind, so that might be a suggestion when your plants are running over.

  36. Barbara @ VinoLuciStyle.com

    So many of your posts take me back…to those days of being younger, married and growing amazing gardens. Now none of those apply and maybe it’s the tomatoes I miss the most!

    My youngest graduated from college in the past year so although ‘officially’ still living at home while in pursuit of a full time job, I’m basically the only one here on a regular basis so the size of my garden diminishes each year.

    Last year, I decided to forego the expense of watering any crops in my raised beds and turned them over to some more perennials and put tomatoes, basil and rosemary in pots. I was a bit disappointed when I saw few green tomatoes, much less any that would ever seem to get to a point of ripening.

    Then one day discovered why. Was it squirrels or birds or bunnies? Nope. It was my dog! I spied her standing at the pot with her front legs on the rim…grabbing at the few green little tomatoes left. Funny enough I couldn’t get mad and for me, a moment when I decided my time of raising my own was over!

  37. Pepy @Indonesia-Eats

    I’m so jealous to see these green tomatoes. I have to hunt around for these ones to complete my sambal lado (green chilies sambal)

  38. Jamie | My Baking Addiction

    I have never had a pickled tomato, but they sound quite splendid!

  39. Kat & Kim

    Just love green tomatoes. In Autumn in Niseko we take all the green tomatoes and make a delicious pickle we use year round to go with charcuterie plates as well as a green tomato chutney that can be used on sandwiches. Yum, yum !!

  40. Andrea Meyers

    Aren’t pickled tomatoes the best thing? I usually make them in autumn when frost is imminent and we still have loads of green tomatoes on the vines. Michael will eat them straight from the jar, but they are also good chopped and used as relish. I hope all your tomato plants survive and you get lots of tomatoes this year. 🙂

  41. Gay

    Great idea! I don’t have a tomato garden, but we had an avalanche of green tomatoes from the farmers’ market lately. I just ignored them. Will probably try this.

  42. Half Assed Kitchen

    This sounds amazing. But where does the sweetness come from?

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Half Assed Kitchen- the sweetness would come from adding more sugar to your brine.

  43. Patricia@TheTravelingTable

    I love pickled green tomatoes. Ours are only thinking about blooming at this time, and all the rain has me worried about the blight again this year too. So far so good…but it’s early here in the midwest. I go for the Bread and Butter style…sweet sour.

  44. Cheryl Hargraves

    Love the pictures, as always!

    I just got a recipe from my husband’s grandparents last night that requires green tomatoes, so I will be putting that together this week. I asked a few vendors at the farmer’s market today whether they thought they might have some to bring next week, but they said no. So, I will use some from my plants, as you have done.

    I just finished off the pickled carrots I made using your recipe, so I will have to make some more of them soon. 🙂

  45. Nisrine@Dinners & Dreams

    I love pickles of all sorts. These must be fabulous!

  46. Jessica @ How Sweet

    Pickled green tomatoes just sound delicious!

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