Sweet Green Tomato Pickles

Green tomatoes on a wooden table
Number of Servings: 
6 wide-mouth pint jars
Recipe Source: 
From Canning for a New Generation by Liana Krissoff $27.50, Stewart, Tabori, & Chang, 2016)


  • 4 pounds green tomatoes (unripe)
  • 34 cup pickling lime (see note)
  • 6 cups distilled white vinegar (5% acidity)
  • 2 12 cups sugar
  • 2 Tbsp pure kosher salt
  • 1 tsp celery seeds
  • 12 cup minced celery (about 2 ribs)
  • 2 Tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 12 small sweet onion, very thinly sliced into rounds (optional)


Preparing the Tomatoes

  1. Cut the tomatoes into 14-inch rounds, cutting out the tough core in the top slices.
  2. In a large bowl, combine 3 quarts cold water with the pickling lime and add the tomatoes. Cover the bowl and set aside at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight.
  3. Drain in a colander, rinse well, and cover with cold water. Let soak for 1 hour, then drain. Repeat the soaking and draining two more times to remove all of the lime; do not skip this step, as it’s necessary to remove all of the lime so that the pickles will be acidic enough for preservation.

Canning Process

  1. Prepare for water-bath canning: Wash the jars and keep them hot in the canning pot, and put the flat lids in a heatproof bowl.
  2. In a wide, 6- to 8-quart preserving pan, combine the vinegar, sugar, salt, celery seeds, celery, and ginger. Bring to a boil, then add the drained tomatoes. Return to a boil and cook, gently pressing down on the tomatoes to keep them mostly submerged, for 15 minutes. The tomatoes will become somewhat translucent.
  3. Ladle boiling water from the canning pot into the bowl with the lids. Using a jar lifter, remove the hot jars from the canning pot, carefully pouring the water from each one back into the pot, and place them upright on a folded towel.
  4. Drain the water off the jar lids.
  5. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the hot tomatoes to the jars. (If you’d like, insert a round of onion or two between some of the tomato slices.) Ladle in the hot syrup, leaving 12 inch headspace at the top. Use a chopstick to remove air bubbles around the inside of each jar.
  6. Use a damp paper towel to wipe the rims of the jars, then put a flat lid and ring on each jar, adjusting the ring so that it’s just fingertight.
  7. Return the jars to the water in the canning pot, making sure the water covers the jars by at least 1 inch. Bring to a boil, and boil for 10 minutes to process.
  8. Remove the jars to a folded towel and do not disturb for 12 hours. After 1 hour, check that the lids have sealed by pressing down on the center of each; if it can be pushed down, it hasn’t sealed, and the jar should be refrigerated immediately. Label the sealed jars and store.


Use wide-mouth jars, and tomatoes no larger than 3 inches in diameter, so you can neatly stack the slices in the jars. If your tomatoes are bigger, slice them, then cut into quarters.


Liana Krissoff

Liana Krissoff, a freelance recipe tester, editor, and writer, is the author of STC’s Secrets of Slow Cooking and Hot Drinks for Cold Nights. Krissoff lives with her husband and daughter in rural Carlton, Georgia. To learn more, visit her blog.