Can You Pickle Cherry Tomatoes

Can You Pickle Cherry Tomatoes?

Pickling has been a food-preservation method used since ancient times to extend the shelf-life of food before the days of refrigeration. The process of pickling involves the use of an acidic liquid, usually vinegar, to suspend and preserve the vegetables or fruits. Pickling can add great flavor to anything from cucumbers and onions, to deliciously sweet cherries.

Although it may seem strange to assume that something as small and delicate as a cherry tomato could be pickled, it can certainly be done! Cherry tomatoes maintain their structure and flavor after pickling and can be added to salads, sauces, and relishes while adding a layer of tangy flavor. This article will outline the basic essentials that you need to begin pickling cherry tomatoes.

Creating a Pickling Brine

The foundational component for pickling is a brine—a mixture of vinegar and salt that serves as the preservative liquid for the tomatoes. White distilled vinegar and kosher salt are generally recommended for pickling. The ratio of vinegar to salt should be four parts vinegar to one part salt. This creates a 6% solution of salt in vinegar, which is optimal for pickling.

The best ratio of vinegar-to-tomatoes is a little more subjective, but one cup of vinegar to one pound of tomatoes is the general guideline. When using other vegetables alongside the tomatoes, make sure to use a ratio of one cup of vinegar for every two pounds of vegetables. This is an ideal platform from which to add creative ingredients to make your pickles unique. These could include various herbs, spices, and aromatics such as garlic, onions, and dill.

Pickling the Tomatoes

Once the brine has been prepared, the cherry tomatoes are ready to be pickled. Before pickling them, rinse them with cold water and dry them to remove any dirt or bacteria. Place the tomatoes in a jar, preferably one that is sterilized, and pour the brine over the tomatoes until they are completely submerged. Make sure to leave about a 1/2 to 1 inch of headspace in the top of the jar.

Store the jar in your refrigerator immediately following pickling. It normally takes about three days for the tomatoes to become fully pickled. To test the taste of the pickles, remove one tomato from the jar, wipe off any excess brine, and taste it. Once the pickles have achieved the desired flavor, they can be kept in the jar in the refrigerator for up to three months.

Dealing with the Heat

One critical thing to remember when pickling any food, including cherry tomatoes, is to not introduce any heat while storing the pickles. Heat should never be used during pickling as it can cause the acidity level in the jar to become too high and spoil the pickles.

If you would like to speed up the time required for pickling the tomatoes, you can use a water bath technique. Simply simmer the jar of tomatoes (it should be sealed tightly) in a pot of water for 30 minutes. Once the tomatoes have cooled, refrigerate them and they should be pickled in 24 hours.

Unusual Add-ins for Your Pickles

The great thing about pickling is that it can open the door for a wide range of creative flavors to be added to the brine when pickling the tomatoes. Unusual ingredients such as honey, mustard, sugar, and other spices can be added for additional flavor. These ingredients help create a unique and delicious pickling experience for the tomatoes.

The more creative the flavors, the greater the taste will be— and this is especially true when adding the spices and aromatics to make a pickled cherry tomato salad. Add some zest to your pickles by incorporating fresh herbs, mustard seeds, peppercorns, or even a bay leaf. Additionally, when mixing the spices, always use fresh spices instead of old and expired ones.

The Health Benefits of Cherry Tomatoes

Eating a diet full of pickled cherry tomatoes can help with a wide variety of health benefits. The high acidity from vinegar helps prevent food spoilage and can also help your body absorb certain nutrients. Pickled cherry tomatoes are also rich in lycopene, a carotenoid that gives tomatoes their red colour and is a powerful antioxidant.

The antioxidants present in pickled tomatoes have been show to help reduce inflammation, improve eye health, and decrease the risk of cancer and heart diseases. Thus, adding pickled cherry tomatoes to a salad or soup can provide your body with numerous health advantages.


It is highly advised to sterilize the jars before pickling the tomatoes. This can be done by boiling the jars in water for 5-10 minutes. This method ensures that all bacteria is eliminated from the jar and reduces any risks associated with bacterial contamination.

It is also important to make sure that the lids used in the jar for pickling are also sterilized. Soaking the lids in boiling water for 10 minutes will do the trick. Once the jar and lid have been sterilized, they should be ready to use for pickling the tomatoes.

Storage and Shelf-Life of Pickled Cherry Tomatoes

Pickled cherry tomatoes should be refrigerated and store at 40-degree Fahrenheit or lower. Once they are refrigerated, the pickles can last approximately 3-6 months when handled and stored properly. If there is any visible mold, murky or cloudy residue, or malfunctioning lids in the jar, discard the contents immediately as these symptoms likely indicate essential spoilage or bacterial contamination.

Serving Tips

Pickled cherry tomatoes add an extra punch to any meal. There are countless ways to serve these creations. They can be eaten directly as a snack or can be used as garnish for salads. Pickled tomatoes make a nice addition to sandwiches and charcuterie boards, as well. Additionally, they can be used as a topping on pizzas, Brunch dishes, and as an ingredient in salsa.

Pickled cherry tomatoes can also be used as a marinade or condiment for any meats. Pickles pair nicely with beef, pork, chicken, and fish. They can also be added to skewers, grill packs, and chopped into salad. Pickled tomatoes give a much-needed boost of flavor and taste to any dish.

Pickling as a Preservative

Pickling is one of the easiest and most effective methods of preserving fresh produce. If you make pickles with loose lids, they can be stored on shelves at room temperature in a cool, dry, dark place for up to 12 months. The cold, acidic environment of the jar inhibits the growth of bacteria and maintains the freshness of the tomatoes.

Sometimes, however, the pickles will turn an unappealing green color after pickling. This discoloration is caused by the reaction between the metal lids and the vinegar. It is perfectly safe to eat; however, for aesthetic purpose, plastic lids can be used.

Pickling Cherry Tomatoes for the First Time

If it is your first time pickling cherry tomatoes, start by buying ripe, small produce. While cherry tomatoes are small and don’t take hours to dry, clean tomatoes with a wet cloth to remove any dirt or bacteria.

Pickles can also be quick-pickled. This means that instead of waiting days for the pickles to form, the tomatoes can be ready to eat within an hour. A mixture of vinegar, salt, and sugar is boiled in a pot and poured directly over the cherry tomatoes in a sterilized jar. This creates a crisp and delicious pickle in the jar.


To conclude, pickling is a preservation method that can be applied to nearly any vegetable or fruit, even small cherry tomatoes. Pickling not only adds flavor to these tomatoes but also increases their shelf life. When pickling tomatoes, always make sure to use fresh ingredients and sterilized lids to avoid bacterial contamination. Lastly, always pickle in a cold, dark place to avoid spo

Derrick McCabe

Derrick P. McCabe is a passionate food writer from the Midwest. He specializes in writing about the nutritional benefits of vegetables and how to incorporate them into everyday cooking. He has been featured in numerous publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Bon Appetit.He is passionate about helping people make healthy and delicious meals with vegetables.

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