Reader question… “Wish you had an easy sweet pickle recipe for green tomatoes! I have tons of them and even though they will ripen if wrapped in newspaper and stored in a dark spot, I sure would like to use up some of these green beauties. Any suggestions?” –Jo

How about green tomato refrigerator sweet pickles? I found this recipe years ago… handwritten by somebody (I don’t know who) in the margin of a vintage cookbook. I have made these pickles several times and everyone likes them. I changed the spices (see below) but followed the rest of the recipe. To use up more of your green tomatoes… how about green tomato “olives,” green tomato “figs,” green tomato “mincemeat”… ???

6 to 8 medium green tomatoes, cut in thick slices (a larger quantity of smaller tomatoes works just as well)
1 red or green bell pepper (red is prettier!), cut in thin slices or chopped
2 medium onions, cut in thin slices or chopped
pickling salt or kosher salt (don’t use regular table salt… it will cloud the pickling liquid)

2 cups white or cider vinegar (I prefer cider vinegar)
2 1/2 cups sugar

I use the same spices for these as for the cucumber refrigerator pickles in these amounts…

2 teaspoons of celery seed
2 teaspoons of mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon of ground mustard

The original recipe uses 1 teaspoon ground cloves, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon and 1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice.

Make layers of tomatoes, peppers and onions in a large glass bowl and sprinkle each layer with salt.

Don’t skip the salting step… the salt removes moisture from the tomatoes, peppers and onions that would dilute the pickling liquid… pickles made with a diluted pickling liquid will NOT “pickle.”

Cover the bowl and leave at room temperature overnight or for at least eight hours. Rinse the tomatoes, onions and peppers briefly to remove any excess salt. Drain well.

Combine the vinegar, sugar and spices in a stainless steel pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and boil until the mixture has been reduced by about one-third. Add the green tomatoes, peppers and onions to the liquid and cook until they are tender and the liquid is thick and syrupy. This will take at least an hour, maybe more.

Cool, transfer to jars, and refrigerate. It will take several days for the flavors to fully develop. The original recipe states that these pickles will last in the refrigerator for at least two months.