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Jul 28, 2009 11:45 AM

can i pickle tomatos w/o canning them?

i recently ate some ridiculously amazing pickled green tomatoes and wanted to try to make some. but all the recipes are crazy elaborate. And I recently just added some vinegar, salt and sugar and spices to some lupini beans that were in my fridge and they taste fine. Can i just add the same kind of solution to sliced tomatoes and not worry about the canning/ boiling/ etc.?

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  1. Yes, if you're making quick pickles for consumption over the next week or so. But these like your lupinis will not be for storing on the shelf in the pantry for future use (the objective of canning or "real" pickling).

    1. Yes, you can pickle all sorts of fruits and vegetables without sterilized canning as long as you keep them in the refrigerator and don't expect them to last forever. Even if they don't spoil, most will become quite mushy after many weeks/months.

      1 Reply
      1. re: greygarious

        Carrots, onion, chiles, and daikon stay nice and crisp.

      2. Hi,

        I often pickle jalapeno's + green tomatoes (especially this time of the yr in Fl) without hotwater bath canning.It is very easy.

        I use jelly jars for the peppers and quart jars for the tom's.

        Cut up or slice the vegs however you prefer then put a layer of the veg in the jar,then a layer of sliced onions,repeat until you get about an inch from the top of the jar.Add fresh chopped garlic to the top layer a few peppercorns and a pinch or two of sugar.Add salt too if desired.

        Then bring white vinegar to almost the boiling point.Don't boil.

        Pour the vinegar into the jars,maybe an inch from the top.(the vegs will settle and shrink a bit) after about 5 mins put the tops on the jars.There ya go! :-)

        I have kept the jars in the cupboard for months at a time,but after it is opened I put it in the fridge.They will become mushy after time.But that doesn't happen often around here as they are eaten quite quickly.


        1. Yes you can pickle for short term use if you refrigerate. I make green tomato relish and keep it several months but refrigerated. I would educate myself about what safe canning procedures involve if you want to store at room temperature. I don't cook my relish because it would change the texture.
          Here is the Ball canning website

          1. yah - i'm thinking more for short term snacking. do i really need to boil the vinegar? the most delicious pickled green tomatoes i've had i felt were served cold (i realize that after refridgerating they'll get cold, but just wondering if i really need to boil the vinegar - i feel like the hot vinegar would change the consistency of the tomatoes)

            3 Replies
            1. re: mr mouther

              I bing my vinegar, salt, and sugar just to the boil in the MW and let cool for a bit and pour over the quick pickles. Mainly to fully dissolve the salt and sugar.

              1. re: mr mouther

                Heating a pickling brine helps the flavor permeate the food being pickled. You can certainly try a batch using cold ingredients and see how you like it.

                1. re: greygarious

                  Also, if the brine is hot it will blanch the veggies a bit and speed the pickling process by a day or two. It takes some trial and error to get it just the way you like it, and it depends on what you're pickling. Green beans and okra can be a bit tough if you use a room temp brine, but cucumbers can be mushy if you use a really hot brine right off the boil.

                  As for temperature, Sam's method is as good as any (this is art, not science), but if you aren't comfortable with "cool for a bit", an alternative is to heat the vinegar/brine without stirring until you see film boiling (little bubbles forming on the bottom of the sauce pan, and no undissolved salt/sugar. Then take off the heat and pour.