You Can Pickle That: Cherry Tomatoes

By Anthony Todd in Food on Aug 13, 2013 3:30PM

As summer moves along, pickling and canning become more about what is currently in the garden and cheap at the farmers market than about creating exotic combinations of fancy ingredients. This is as it should be; after all, these are originally methods of preservation, not just ways to fill your shelves with pretty jars. We're not making a lot of orange-ginger marmalade in the Midwest right now, but tomatoes we have in serious abundance.

Most recipes for preserving tomatoes turn them into a sauce or jam, but this one is a little easier and a bit more novel. The cherry tomatoes are pickled whole, thus retaining some of their juicy pop-in-your-mouth goodness. These tomatoes will be great eaten plain, put on salads or into any pasta or fish dish that calls for tomatoes - the pickling will give them an extra flavor kick. Plus, they are possibly the most unique looking jars you can put on your shelves, and they cost almost nothing at farmers markets in August.

Because we had such luck with one of his recipes for pickled spring onions, we've returned to Paul Virant's The Preservation Kitchen for this pickling outing, but we've made some significant modifications. First, we've changed the spices to make them a bit bolder. Second, we've changed the amounts, because our canning kettle holds only three pint jars rather than the five for which Virant's recipes are written.

Pickled Cherry Tomatoes
Inspired by The Preservation Kitchen

6 cups cherry tomatoes, various types
6 big sprigs of fresh dill
3 teaspoons black peppercorns
2 1/2 cups champagne vinegar (white is a fine substitute)
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
3 cloves of garlic

Prepare and sterilize three pint jars—we prefer the wide-mouthed variety. Pack the jars with the tomatoes, dill, peppercorns, garlic and mustard seeds, dividing each ingredient evenly among the jars.

In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, salt and sugar over medium-high heat until all the ingredients have dissolved together. Using a funnel, pour the hot brine into the jars, leaving about a half-inch of headspace.

Note: The tomatoes will float and you have three options. You can try to pack in even more tomatoes once they start floating, you can prick each tomato with a sterilized needle to stop them from floating or, like us, you can just accept it.

Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.