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.

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Dear Shirley,
Just what the doctor ordered! I’m going to try this recipe out. Hubby will love it! Me too!
Gosh, I love this blog. I get so inspired!


Jo, I feel the same way. I absolutely *LOVE* this blog!! There is so much that is wonderful and inspiring here. Shirley – I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the articles you have written here. You have no idea how you have helped me grow and be happy.

Greta J.

I am so glad you posted this recipe. We didn’t have much of a tomato crop this year but my mother in law gave me a bag of green tomatoes from her garden and they’re small so I was wondering what I could do with them. Now I know I will make sweet tomato pickles.

Andrea Wills

I am interested in the green tomato olives you mentioned and the green tomato mincemeat. I have quite a few of the very small grape tomatoes and I think they would be wonderful for the olives. I remember my mother making green tomato mincemeat but don’t have the recipe. So yes please share the other recipes if you will.

Caitlyn (temporarily living in Japan)

I definitely will be making these. I wanted to tell you that I have tried almost all of your other recipes and always have great success. I also find your recipes very easy to follow. I am a very new cook and I appreciate the way you explain each step. Thanks for all the wonderful info.

Gerda Bekerman

I know a traditional German recipe for pickled pumpkin , which uses about the same pickling liquid and spice mixture . So , I know these tomatoes will be delicious . The pickled pumpkin was used with venison roasts the way we use cranberries here . Happy Pickling !