Putting Up: Sweet Cherry Tomato Pickles

Putting Up: Sweet Cherry Tomatoes

We made Sweet Cherry Tomato Pickles for the first time last year, and they quickly became a favorite. Juicy, tangy and bite-sized, they’re easy to serve as is or blended together for a quick vinaigrette. With the tomato season holding on, we still had time to make up a batch before they disappeared.

Putting Up: Sweet Cherry Tomatoes

A wide variety was on offer at the Exeter Farmers’ Market, and we brought home some of each — tiny Matt’s Wild tomatoes from Meadow’s Mirth; and papery husk cherries, and a mix of cherry and grape tomatoes from New Roots Farm.

Putting Up: Sweet Cherry Tomatoes

Husk cherries are related to tomatillos and, similarly, need to be stripped of their paper covering before eating. Also known as ground cherries or cape gooseberries, they can be snacked on raw, made into jam, dried like raisins, or, as we’re doing here, preserved as pickles.

Putting Up: Sweet Cherry Tomatoes

Our original thought was to make separate jars of the different varieties, and soon realized the advantage of mixing them together. In this practical application of sphere packing, the smaller tomatoes fit in the spaces between the larger-sized ones, allowing each jar to be filled with more fruit. Plus it made for a festive little tomato party in a jar.

Putting Up: Sweet Cherry Tomato Pickles

To prevent floating, the tomatoes are pricked with a clean toothpick; the fruit should eventually settle once they’ve had time to cure. Like most pickles, give them a couple of weeks time for the flavor to develop before serving, traditionally at Thanksgiving.

Sweet Cherry Tomato Pickles
Makes 5 pints

5 teaspoons dill seeds
2½ teaspoons black peppercorns
10 dill sprigs (optional)
5 garlic cloves
8 cups (or 3 pounds) cherry tomatoes, hulled and pricked
4 cups cider vinegar
1¼ cups water
¾ cup sugar
1 tablespoon salt

– In a dry sauté pan over medium heat, toast the dill seeds and peppercorns. Divide the spices among 5 pint jars, using about 1½ teaspoons per jar, then add 2 sprigs dill and 1 garlic clove to each jar. Pack the tomatoes evenly among the jars.
– In a pot, bring the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt to a boil. Pour brine over the tomatoes, leaving a 1/2-inch headspace from the rim of the jar. Check the jars for air pockets, adding more brine if necessary to fill in gaps. Seal jars and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

Adapted from “The Preservation Kitchen” by Paul Virant.

Local ingredients: Matt’s Wild tomatoes from Meadow’s Mirth; husk cherries, cherry and grape tomatoes from New Roots Farm; cider vinegar from Ricker Hill Orchards; garlic from the garden.

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22 Responses to Putting Up: Sweet Cherry Tomato Pickles

  1. Deanna says:

    What a great recipe! I’ve never pickled cherry tomatoes! Will have to save this for next summer. Thanks!

  2. Andrea says:

    What a great way to use up late seasons cherry tomatoes, love all the different colors mixed together they look so festive……………would make great gifts if you can dare to part with them.

  3. janebalshaw says:

    Great idea! Wondered what to do with all the ground cherries that keep coming back each year in my raised beds…thank you.

    • leduesorelle says:

      We’re also experimenting with dehydrating ground cherries, and just read that they can keep for 3 months in storage (with husks still attached)…

  4. Norma Chang says:

    This is such a fantastic idea. Is there anything you do not pickle?

  5. maesprose says:

    I’ve never eaten husked cherry tomatoes before today. I saw your photo and then at the Farmer’s Market there they were. I didn’t buy enough to pickle… just to nibble! Love the photos and may pickle next year.

    • leduesorelle says:

      Glad you got the chance to try them, nibbling is still the best way to eat them! Especially lovely accompanying some good cheese…

  6. Pingback: Links: Apple Pie, Fermented Carrots, and Winners | Food in Jars

  7. Annie says:

    Tomato pickles? This is another new recipe for me and it sounds delicious.

  8. Erica says:

    Can these be kept in the pantry, or do they need to be refrigerated? Thanks!

  9. Chris says:

    Will the tomatoes get mushy once they are processed in the boiling water bath?

  10. Darlene says:

    Could you do this with a bread and butter brine?

  11. Those sure are pretty pickles. I actually had never heard of pickling tomatoes, but what a nice way to preserve summer’s bounty.

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