Pickled Cherry Tomatoes

Most of us love cherry tomatoes. But add some pickling liquid, a bit of red pepper flakes, other spices — and they becomes a surprise in the mouth. For these Pickled Cherry Tomatoes. Use any kind of small cherry or (my preference) grape tomatoes. Those beautiful pear shaped Sungolds are one of my favorites or the newly discovered Black Cherry tomatoes. A mixture of colors is really fun, too. Besides using on an appetizer plate, throw a few into a tossed salad, or cut into halves for mixing into a potato salad. And I also add here a recipe for making a great vinaigrette using either a full half-pint jar with the tomatoes or just the leftover pickling liquid. How great is that?
By / Photography By Lyn Deardorff | May 29, 2015


Wash jars and place them (without lids) in a water-bath canner.  Bring to boiling and reduce heat to simmer until ready to use.

Puncture bottom of each tomato with a sharp instrument such as a skewer or fork tine. This helps the pickling liquid flavor the whole tomato more completely. Set aside.

In a non-reactive pot, bring vinegar, tarragon, mustard seeds, lemon or lime juice, sugar, salt and red pepper flakes (if using) to a boil.  Remove from heat.


Meanwhile, remove jars to clean cloth or countertop.  Place one clove of garlic in each jar and divide dill into each jar.  Then pack in tomatoes tightly but being careful not to crush them. Tuck a bay leaf into each jar.  Carefully ladle hot pickling liquid into each jar, leaving ½ headspace.  Using a bubbler or table knife, loosen air bubbles and re-fill to allowable headspace.  Wipe rims, fit lids and bands.  Process in water bath for 10 minutes after water returns to boiling. Remove and let cool for 12 hours.  Test lids after 1 hour and refrigerate any that have not sealed.  Label and date.  Store in cool, dark place.

Note:  small batches such as this can be refrigerated without water bath processing and will last up several months.


Tomato Vinaigrette

In a 1 quart Mason Jar, puree 1 jar of pickled tomatoes with an immersion blender. Or puree in a blender or food processor.  Reduce by 1/3 by heating in saucepan over medium heat. Return liquid to the Mason jar and then blend in olive oil (about 1/2 cup) until emulsified.  Add 1 tablespoon capers if desired.  Use in salads, over greens and other vegetables.

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  • 3 cups small tomatoes, ripe but firm
  • 2 cloves peeled garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tarragon or 2 sprigs fresh tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime or lemon juice
  • 1 cup white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons organic raw or cane sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
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