Introduction: How to Pickle Tomatoes & Make an Amazing Vinaigrette
Last year, I found myself with an over abundance of Cherry tomatoes. Not 100% sure what to do with all of them, I decided, while canning a batch of my "Hellish" hot pepper relish, to can a small batch of pickled tomatoes too.
I grabbed some fresh herbs from the garden and wow to my surprise, not only were they tasty, they were down right delicious (even my 11 year old would eat them randomly).
After handing out many test jars and asking for opinions, my brother-in-law (who's a bit of a foodie) said "I would throw it in a blender, with a bit of olive oil, and make a vinaigrette". I did just that and he was right. It was amazing. It had the perfect mix of tart and sweet, Plus, the fresh herbs sent it over the top.
Afterwards, I sent out several jars to friends and family, with those simple instructions and all parties responded with the same amazement...who knew pickled tomatoes could be so good!!!
It's for this reason that I share this very simple recipe. I hope you enjoy it and the results!
Step 1: Tools (optional):
A Basic Set of Canning Tools with:
- Wide-Mouth Canning Funnel
- Jar Lifter
- Magnetic Lid Lifter
- Bubble Remover/Headspace Tool.
* I say this is optional, because I canned for years prior to buying a basic set of canning tools. They are helpful, but not 100% required.
Step 2: The Brine...
This is the same brine I have used for years. It's simple, fast, and always aims to please!
The base is very versatile and can be flavored with a number of spices or herbs to your own personal taste.
It's based on a 1 cup batch, so it's easy to adjust depending on how much you need for the items you're canning. For this, I made a 4 cup batch (which I split between pickled tomatoes and hot pepper relish, 2 cups each).
1 Cup of White Vinegar
1/2 Tablespoon of Granulated Sugar
1/2 Tablespoon of Brown Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon of Pickling Salt
Spices/Herbs (based on a 1 cup batch):
1/8 Teaspoon Dill Seed
1/8 Teaspoon Mustard Seed
1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper Corn
1/8 Teaspoon Celery Seed
1/4 Teaspoon Chopped Garlic
Once you have everything measured out, combine all of the above ingredients in a medium sized pot. Bring to a rolling boil, and reduce the heat to medium. Strain the brine through a fine mesh strainer and return the liquid to heat.
Now your brine is ready for pickling.
* You can wrap your spice mix in cheesecloth to avoid having to strain your brine or you can leave it loose. I do both, depending on the recipe.
** Yes this is the same brine recipe from my Hellish Relish...as I said it's very versatile and I use it a lot.
Step 3: Preparing the Jars...Hot Water Bath Vs Refrigerator Pickling
Hot Water Bath Canning vs Refrigerator Pickling is a tough decisions and should be based on your goals. Either of these methods will work perfectly fine for canning the tomatoes. The biggest difference comes down to how much you are making and storage.
If you are planning on long term storage, you can follow the directions here,"Hot Water Bath" Canning - The Basics. It's a very straight forward method of canning and allows you to store the pickled tomatoes for 1-2 years. It's is a bit more time consuming and does require a large canning pot, but I find it to be well worth it, especially for large batches.
If you are going with the Refrigerator Pickle method, simply wash the lids and jars thoroughly with hot soapy water, dry, and set them aside until needed.
Step 4: Pickling the Tomatoes...
Now for the fun part. As I said prior, this is a very simple, yet extremely flavorful recipe.
This batch made 3 x 8 oz mason jars of Pickled Tomatoes.
3 x Cloves of Garlic (Sub for 3 teaspoon minced garlic or 3 x 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder)
3 x Sprigs of Rosemary (Sub for 3 Teaspoon Dried)
3 x Sprigs of Fresh Oregano (Sub for 3 Teaspoon Dried)
3 x Large Basil Leaves (Sub for 3 x 1/3 Teaspoon Dried)
3 x Rounds Off a Whole White Onion
2 x Cups of Mixed Tomatoes (Cherry, Grape, Roma, and anything else you have
To prep the tomatoes for pickling first, using a tooth pick, poke a hole through both sides of the small Cherry tomatoes. Next, quarter the larger Cherry and Grape tomatoes, and finally slice the Roma tomatoes (and any additional tomatoes you may have).
Add the following to the prepped jars, in this order. First place one round of onion on the bottom of each jar, next drop in 1 clove of garlic, and finally fold and insert the rosemary, basil, and oregano.
Add 1/3 of the small Cherry tomatoes to each jar, then 1/3 of the quartered Cherry and Grape tomatoes, and then add the final 1/3 of the sliced Roma tomatoes.
Lastly, using using a Wide-Mouth Canning Funnel, ladle in the pickling brine, being sure to leave at least a 1/2" of headspace. Insert the Bubble Remover/Headspace Tool and gently move it around the inside of the jar, to release any bubbles. Finally, wipe the rim of each jar, to make sure they are clean prior to sealing the jars.
Step 5: Yippy!!!! Pickled Tomatoes!
Apply the top to the jar and lastly, apply the ring and tighten to seal.
If you are going to go with the Refrigerator Pickle Method, You're Done!!!!
Allow the jars to cool on the counter and then store in the refrigerator for 1-3 weeks.
Step 6: "Hot Water Bath" Canning Method
If you've decided to go with the "Hot Water Bath" method to seal your Pickled Tomatoes, using the "Jar Lifters" place the jars back into in the hot water bath and put the lid back on the canning pot. Process for 15 minutes, then remove and allow to cool on the counter over night (12-24 hours).
When you hear the lids start to pop, you'll know you have succeeded!
Store in a cool, dry place until you're ready to enjoy!
Step 7: Pickled Tomato Vinaigrette
This recipe is as easy, as pickling the tomatoes and "oh my gosh" is it amazing. I've used it on salads, fresh veggies, tilapia, flounder, salmon, pizzas, burgers, stir fry, etc (the list goes on and on)...with fantastic results.
What you'll need:
1 x 8 oz Jar of Pickled Tomatoes
2/3 Cup Olive Oil
Add one jar of pickled tomatoes and 2/3 cup of olive oil to your blender. Blend until pureed.
Congratulations, you now have Pickled Tomato Vinaigrette!! Eat and Enjoy!!!!
Thanks for reading and Happy Pickling!!!!