GREEN TOMATOES – Pickled under oil

And now for something completely different.


Tomatoes usually fail to ripen at the end of the season (in autumn) and usually  Southern Italians wait till then to preserve green tomatoes. However if you can spare a few, pick some unripe tomatoes (or buy them as I did at the Queen Victoria Market) and make this pickle.

It is very convenient to have this – to eat plain with bread or as an accompaniment to cold meats or cheese.

The photos tell the story.

You need green tomatoes.

Wash, dry and slice into thick slices.

Put them in a large colander, and sprinkle with salt….generous amounts.

Leave to drain for 24 hours.

Squeeze them and put them into a bowl and cover them with a mixture made of 1 part vinegar to 1 part water. Make sure that they are covered and put a weight on top. Leave at least 6- 8 hours.

Drain, and squeeze as dry as you can.

Place the tomatoes into sterilized jars and mix with olive oil (I use extra virgin olive oil), garlic slivers, dried fennel seeds and oregano (add chili flakes if you wish). Make sure they are well covered with oil and keep submerged – I save those plastic rings that keep pickles submerged that are often found in Italian pickles; there is one in the photo above.

Keep in fridge; they are ready to eat in a few days and will keep for months. Make sure that when you remove some of the pickle to eat, the remainder is always covered with oil.

They can be stored in a pantry, but omit the garlic if you do this, as it tends to go off.

Eggplants can be pickled by using the same process.

23 thoughts on “GREEN TOMATOES – Pickled under oil”

  1. I have made 5 batches as per this recipe and as I added garlic placed in the fridge but the oil seems to have set? Any idea why, I used extra virgin.

    1. When you use just xtra virgin olive oil or just any olive oil it will try to solidify when placed in the fridge.
      Try mixing a little, good vegetable oil with the olive oil.
      I salt cure my tomatoes until all the water is squeezed out (weight it down) until there is little or no water coming out.
      Then wash with vegetable oil and pst dry a little to wipe off some salt.
      Season with garlic, oregano and then put them in jars with a mixture of olive oil and some vegetable oil.
      Let them sit in the fridge for a week or so and they are just fantastic.
      Good luck !

  2. Oil does solidify in the fridge. Take it out beforehand , leave it to ‘melt’ before you serve the tomatoes. It happens with all oil and fat. Some pickles under oil have additives to keep it liquid.

    1. Sorry,
      I have just re-read the recipe and for me the photos and the descriptions are enough – one never knows how many green tomatoes one ends up with if you have grown them yourself.
      I guess that for me directions like ..make sure they are well covered…1 part vinegar to 1 part water….generous amounts…and all those photos are sufficient.
      I hope that you find another recipe somewhere else that gives you exact amounts.

  3. i have a neighbor that makes this with exactly the same recipe – only instead of the fridge – she covers the jars with plastic wrap and elastic band and leaves out on the counter for months. They are delicious!

  4. I made these over the last few days. My Italin mother in law always made them. She wrote a cookbook, & has the recipe in there as well. I followed exact instructions, and today the garlic slivers are taking on a bluish color. Is this normal? Could it be from the thick olive oil?

    1. Hi Pearl, no I do not think the bluish colour is normal and the olive oil would not be contributing to it.
      I do not know what all that is about.
      I can only tell you that often I make parsley oil (parsley blended with extra virgin oil) and on one occasion the colour was really odd and bright green. I could not explain it. I used that oil – it smelled right and there appeared nothing to be wrong with it and I did not experience any illness .
      If you have used salt and vinegar(natural preservatives) it should be OK but I have no idea why the garlic should have a bluish colour. Was it kept in the fridge after you pickled it?
      Smell it, taste a bit and decide if it is OK and then decide if you wish to take a chance or throw it out. Sorry I do not know what else to say.

    2. Traditional canning information suggests that blue or green-tinted garlic is caused by iron, tin or aluminum in the water which reacts to the garlic pigments, or as a result of soil minerals which become accentuated during fermentation.

      “Don’t worry, greenish-blue color changes aren’t harmful and your garlic is still safe to eat – unless you see other signs of spoilage.” – What’s Cooking America

  5. I have pickled green tomato’s and jarred them in olive oil with raw garlic and I have kept the jars in my cabinets for over a year and all seems to be fine. I have read that it is not safe to keep raw garlic out of the fridge. is that true

    1. I do not know if it isn’t safe. All I know is that once I had pickled mushrooms(vinegar first, then placed under oil with raw garlic) and bubbles started rising in the jar and I had to throw everything out. I did some research at the time about this and garlic was the culprit. I have not done any research since that…and this was years ago…I just do not put cloves of garlic or fresh herbs into preserved olives, artichokes, green tomatoes or eggplants – these are the only preserves I make. It will be interesting to see if others who make these types of pickles share similar experiences. If your pickles are off, you would know this by the look, the smell and taste.

  6. Great recipe. I made it from all the green tomatoes left on the bush before I pulled it out. Very tasty. I didn’t put garlic in the jar but did add some basilico frof the garden.
    Now I’ll do some eggplant (melanzane).

  7. What sized jars are you using for your recipe? They look like half gallon. Do you know about how much fennel and garlic you put in there? I’ve never made these so this year will be my first time and I’d like to try to get it right and no over do it with the spices – or put to little in for that matter. Thank you.

    1. Any size jar that you have will do as long as you cover the contents with oil. I do not know what to say about spices, 1/2tsp fennel and oregano to 3 cups of oil and a pinch of chili flakes? A warning about garlic: I now prefer to add the garlic after I have opened the jar and am ready to serve them. This is because garlic can generate some gas that will appear as tiny bubbles on the surface of the oil. Once I put the garlic into the pickles I consume them in about 1 week. Enjoy them.

  8. I had about 12 different types of green tomatoes of all sorts of size. I followed this recipe as it is similar to one my mother did back 30 years ago when she worked for an Italian family. I can still taste it. My jars were filled today so next week this time I will be enjoying them with some fresh calabrese. thanks for helping me relive fond memories.

  9. Thank you for this recipe! It looks delicious. I have made two jars of pickled green tomatoes, finished them this morning. They’re in my refrigerator now. I look forward to trying them next week.

    1. Yes, I am sealing them, both by topping up with oil and using a lid. I am sorry for the confusion.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.