Crispy Green Tomato Pickles

by Daisy

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As the days grow shorter, my tomatoes just aren’t ripening. And, I suppose, the SEVENTEEN STRAIGHT DAYS OF RAIN we’ve had haven’t helped much. If you decide to pull ’em green like I have, pickling is a one way to preserve them.

These are tangy-sweet, with a good crisp texture. I usually put them up in half-pint jars for gifts. People are amazed you canned a green tomato.

I save some for myself because I like them on peanut butter sandwiches. Go ahead, make a face. It’s good.

Rinse off the lime thoroughly for the crispiest pickle.

Green  Tomato Pickles

7 pounds green tomatoes

2 gallons water

3 cups lime

Slice tomatoes. Mix water and lime and pour over tomatoes. Soak all for 24 hours. Drain off all the lime water and soak in fresh water for 4 hours, changing water every hour.


5 pounds sugar

3 pints vinegar

1 teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon whole cloves

1 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon celery seed

1 teaspoon mace

1 stick cinnamon

Bring to a boil. Pour over tomatoes and let sit overnight. The next day, bring to a boil again, slowly, and simmer 1 hour.

Seal in hot, sterile jars.

9 pints

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary September 28, 2009 at 9:53 am

Let them laugh … Peanut butter and pickle (and hot pepper) sandwiches are AWESOME!

Anna Browne September 28, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Is the 3 cups of Lime the juice you would get if you squeezed limes, or the white alkaline stuff?


Tomato Lady September 28, 2009 at 4:05 pm

The latter. Not the juice. Although, mmm, I could use a limeade . . .

Rebecca September 28, 2009 at 5:25 pm

Sounds great! Did you do this with a water bath, or with a canner? How long does it need to process?

Tomato Lady September 28, 2009 at 7:51 pm

Rebecca–They are a delicacy around here. I use a water bath and process for 10 minutes.

Tomato Lady September 28, 2009 at 7:52 pm

Mary–You’ve got that right!

jan September 29, 2009 at 6:17 am

Sounds good. Think I will give it a try. We have been eating fried green tomatoes about once a week here, but still have lots of little greenies out there!

Tanya Walton September 29, 2009 at 10:18 am

17 days of rain……we haven’t seen a drop on weeks….how I pray for rain!!!!!

Jennifer September 29, 2009 at 11:04 am

These sound delicious. Where do you find lime? I’ve never looked for it before.

Raquel September 29, 2009 at 5:49 pm

Sounds great, I can hardly wait to try them. I may add dill though, I have gobs of it. I have tried the zuke fritters and they were wonderful.

lonna October 1, 2009 at 6:04 am

My grandmother makes a relish with green tomatoes. I think it would be along the same lines as your tomatoes. She let me think it was made out of cucumbers for years. It is very sweet also, I never thought of eating it on a PBJ but I think it would be good.

Gloria Carrington-Ferrira October 1, 2009 at 6:37 am

This I must do. Tomatoes are so cheap and good here in Spain. They sell a tomato jam here and I love it, eat it with everything . . my husband hates it! Can’t wait to try!! Thanks.!

Tomato Lady October 1, 2009 at 8:07 am

Gloria Carrington-Ferrira–I have heard about your famous Spanish tomatoes. So jealous of your olive oil, too. Hope you like the pickles!

Tomato Lady October 1, 2009 at 8:08 am

lonna–The relish sounds delicious. And your grandmother sounds charming.

Sundari October 5, 2009 at 9:33 pm

Could you please go into more detail about the 3 cups of lime? I’m not quite getting it…

Tomato Lady October 5, 2009 at 11:10 pm

Sundari–Sure. Pickling lime, found in the canning section of the supermarket or the like, improves the firmness of vegetables used in pickling. (Don’t use any other kind of lime, like builder’s lime, it can contain lead). It’s mixed with water to make a soaking solution for the vegetables/fruit to be pickled, then rinsed in several changes of water to remove all excess. It’s important to make sure you rinse thoroughly because remaining lime can reduce the acidity of the pickling solution (vinegar, etc.) and lead to failed pickles.
Let me know if you need more or different info on this!

Handful October 17, 2009 at 9:02 pm

Mmmmm… I like dill pickles and PB…may have to try this!

Still lots of greenies. Hung in the barn to finish after frost but has been QUITE cold! What happened to fall? My hose is still out 🙁

Joyce October 23, 2010 at 3:37 pm

What type of vinegar? white or cider

Joyce October 23, 2010 at 3:40 pm

Can you do this with tiny tomatoes and not cut?

Tomato Lady October 23, 2010 at 5:20 pm

Joyce–I use cider vinegar, but white would be ok.

Tomato Lady October 23, 2010 at 5:21 pm

Joyce–I’ve never tried whole tomatoes, but I have used small tomatoes sliced in half. I think it’s probably best to allow everything to penetrate better to cut them.

Matt September 3, 2011 at 7:01 am

I love beanut butter and pickle sandwiches personally. But last night I was out of pickles and opened a jar of pickled green tomatoes that I canned about a month ago….it was awesome!!! How timely that I read your recipe this morning!!! I am going to try it!!!

Judy July 2, 2014 at 8:36 pm

Is it OK to let the tomatoes stay in the lime water about 32 hours? I like to do 3 batches at once. I finished getting them sliced and in the water about 10 pm. This means staying up all night to stay on schedule.

Daisy July 2, 2014 at 8:53 pm

Judy–As far as I know without having done it myself, I’m confident it will be fine. Get some rest and start fresh in the morning!

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