Fermented Green Tomato Pickles

by Kaitlynn Fenley

Learn how to make fermented green tomatoes with this easy and quick recipe! These fermented green tomato pickles are crisp, juicy, and flavorful. Enjoy them on burgers, in sandwiches, on pizza, and in salads.

How I Ferment Green Tomato Pickles

The way I fermented these green tomatoes is different from the way I usually ferment other vegetables. I did quite a few fermented green tomato recipe tests using traditional wild fermentation techniques… and I hated all of them.

When this happens in fermentation, I like to turn to a method of fermentation I came up with called wild heirloom culturing. This method uses sauerkraut brine and apple cider vinegar to ferment fresh vegetables using wild heirloom cultures found in sauerkraut brine. It’s similar to quick pickling or refrigerator pickles but with healthy microbes included.

This fermentation method is more similar to yogurt fermentation than sauerkraut fermentation… but here we are culturing vegetables with natural sauerkraut brine and ACV instead of using starter cultures.

fermented green tomatoes in a mason jar. The tomatoes are cut into triangular slices and they take on a golden color after fermentation

Fermented Green Tomatoes

If you’d like to stick to a true wild fermentation method for fermenting green tomatoes, be my guest. I personally don’t enjoy the taste, but if you want to decide for yourself you can! Just use a 3% total salt concentration. I highly suggest sticking to the salt ratios in our Complete Guide to Using Salt in Fermentation if you want to try wild fermenting these tomatoes.

I’ve also found that since tomatoes have such a smooth skin, and are well washed before becoming available on store shelves, they do not always contain the microorganisms necessary for a proper wild fermentation process.

Conventionally grown tomatoes can also be treated with pesticides and vegetable washes that kill microorganisms, leaving the vegetables with little to no good microbes for wild fermentation to happen correctly.

The experiment may fail if using store-bought tomatoes, but if you’d like to try wild fermentation for green tomatoes, I suggest using this recipe:

  • 200 Grams Green Tomatoes
  • 200 Grams Water
  • 12 grams unrefined sea salt

I prefer the taste and quality of the fermented green tomatoes I made using wild heirloom culturing with our sauerkraut brine and apple cider vinegar. See the recipe below!

Fermented Tomatoes

You are welcome to test out other types of tomatoes with this recipe. Note that green tomatoes are firmer than fully ripe tomatoes that are red to orange in hue. Other types of tomatoes, or fully ripe tomatoes, may come out softer. I use this kind of fermented pickle recipe to make fermented cherry tomatoes, and I love them.

Fermented Green Tomatoes

For this recipe, you will need some naturally fermented sauerkraut brine, apple cider vinegar, and a bit of salt. We, of course, utilized some of our leftover Sauerkraut brine and regular unrefined sea salt for this recipe.

My Green Tomato Pickles Recipe

This is a different kind of vegetable fermentation: Its more similar to pickling and culturing the tomatoes using sauerkraut brine, so you only need to ferment them for 48 hours, then place them in the fridge.

Always Trust your sense of smell: Fermented tomatoes should smell pleasantly sour and similar to a pickle. Never eat anything that smells repulsive. 

Never eat anything that had mold growing on it: By following directions you should not encounter this problem. 

Taste test at 48 hours: If you prefer the tomatoes to be more tart and sour, let them sit in the refrigerator for a few days before eating.

Fermenting Green Tomato Pickles

Keep your fermenting tomatoes at a temperature between 70-80 degrees F for 48 hours. Keep out of direct sunlight

Since this is a fermentation with added cultures from the sauerkraut brine, you should only ferment the Tomatoes at room temperature for 48 hours max. Then place the tomatoes in the refrigerator.

YES. After fermenting for 48 hours place a regular mason jar lid on the jar and refrigerate. Consume within 6 months for full probiotic benefits!

someone lifting green tomato pickles out of a mason jar with a black fork

Supplies You Need To Make Fermented Green Tomato Pickles

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Fermented Green Tomato Pickles

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Learn how to make fermented green tomatoes with this easy and quick recipe! These fermented green tomato pickles are crisp, juicy, and flavorful. Enjoy them on burgers, in sandwiches, on pizza, and in salads.

  • Author: Kaitlynn Fenley
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Fermentation Time: 48 hours
  • Total Time: 48 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings
  • Category: Fermented
  • Method: Fermentation
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Ingredients

  • 200 Grams Green Tomatoes, Sliced
  • 5 Grams of Unrefined Sea Salt
  • 175 Grams of  Fermented Sauerkraut Brine
  • 75 Grams of Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pickling spices

Instructions

  1. Wash your fermentation equipment (jar, weight, and lid)
  2. Wash your green tomatoes in cool water.
  3. Place your kitchen scale on the counter. Turn it on and set it to weigh in grams.
  4. Place a mixing bowl on your kitchen scale and tare/zero the scale.*
  5. Add tomato slices into the bowl on your scale until the scale reads the designated amount.
  6. Remove the bowl from your scale.
  7. Place your empty, clean mason jar on the scale, and tare/zero the scale. Make sure your scale is still set to grams and add the Sauerkraut Brine and the apple cider vinegar to the jar.
  8. Add the tomatoes into the mason jar.
  9. Place a small bowl on your scale and tare/zero the scale. Weigh out the salt. Then add the salt to the jar.
  10. Place your standard mason jar lid on the jar, and secure it. Shake the jar for 2 minutes. (if you do not have a fermentation weight, simply stop here and place the jar in the fridge! Otherwise, move on to step 11)
  11. Remove the standard mason jar lid. Place your fermentation weight in the jar, submerging the tomatoes and weight fully in the liquid.
  12. Secure the standard mason jar lid to the mason jar.
  13. Ferment for 48 hours at room temperature.
  14. Then remove the weight, secure the lid to the jar, and store it in the fridge.

Notes

  • *Note: Taring/zeroing the scale with a container on it subtracts the weight of the container, allowing you to weigh only what is added to the container. After taring/zeroing the scale, the scale should read 0.0 with the container on it.
  • consume within 6 months
  • this recipe works best with a 16 to 20-ounce jar. 

Did you make this recipe?

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author avatar
Kaitlynn Fenley Author, Educator, Food Microbiologist
Kaitlynn is a food microbiologist and fermentation expert teaching people how to ferment foods and drinks at home.

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5 comments

Bailey July 26, 2023 - 10:47 am

I’m so grateful to see this recipe because we have hugely productive tomatoes and I need something to do with the greenies (especially once frost comes) besides fry them! I’m curious about one step: Why do you shake vigorously with the tomatoes in the jar? Does this not beat them up a little? Is it desirable to beat them up a little?

Reply
Kaitlynn Fenley July 26, 2023 - 10:49 am

Shaking is just to mix everything together. You can shake it gently if your tomatoes are soft. Often green tomatoes I get are firm.

Reply
Bailey July 26, 2023 - 10:53 am

Got it. Thanks a lot!

Reply
Courtney September 23, 2023 - 1:48 pm

I’m so excited to find this recipe, but I don’t have enough spare sauerkraut brine on hand right now and don’t want my green tomatoes to go to waste! Can I used fermented cucumber pickle brine I’ve made using your ratios?

Reply
Kaitlynn Fenley September 25, 2023 - 9:25 am

fermented pickle brine will work great!

Reply