Rachel’s Homemade Tomolives

3 1/4 lb green (unripe) cherry tomatoes
6 cloves garlic (one for each jar)
6 cayenne peppers (one for each jar)
1/4 (loose) cup dill, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons yellow mustard seed
1/3 cup pickling salt
3 cups white vinegar
3 cups water

Evenly divide the tomatoes, garlic, peppers, dill and mustard seeds between 6 jars. Bring the water, vinegar and salt to a boil. Prep the lids/jars. Pour in the boiling vinegar mixture, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Poke down any tomatoes that have floated too close to the top. Close the jars and process for 10 minutes in a hot water bath. Allow to sit at least one week before eating.

Yield: I ended up with 3 half pints, 1 12 oz jar and 2 16-oz elite jars.

Note: This is a fairly flexible recipe. The batch of brine is a bit more than strictly needed because, depending on the size of your tomatoes, you may need more or less of it. You may need more or less jars as well. Just pack the tomatoes in tightly and put a clove of garlic and a pepper in each one.

Note: A great source for canning information is the Blue Book guide to preserving. I highly recommend it for learning how to can. Here is a bunch of other canning books and equipment I find useful.

My thoughts:

We did not have a good tomato crop this year. Lots of blossom end rot at the beginning of the summer then nothing. Well, nothing until September when we suddenly starting getting tomatoes again, most of which did not ripen. Among them were dozens of green cherry tomatoes, cherry tomatoes from a plant we didn’t plant but just sprung up. I think it must be from some supermarket cherry tomatoes we bought and composted last winter when desperate for tomato and even store-bought cherry tomatoes started to look good. Anyway, that plant* was far and away the most prolific of all of our plants. I had Tomolives for the first time in Minneapolis this summer and loved them. Basically tiny “specially” grown green tomatoes, pickled like olives. So when faced with so many tomatoes myself, I thought I’d make my own version. I had pickled some wedges before but the whole tomatoes were just so cute, I thought I’d revisit the idea. I used cayenne from the garden and some fresh dill. They came out really well, perfect little pickled olive-y spheres.

*And a huge, crazy pumpkin plant that also grew up from the compost. That thing took over half the yard.


  1. That looks amazing!

  2. Karen@ My Pantry Shelf

    What a great idea. I hate to let any tomatoes go to waste, but I never knew what to do with thetiny ones. This is perfect timing as we are pilling out our plants tomorrow. I will definitely be making a batch of tomolives!

  3. That looks cool!