Fried Green Tomatoes & Tomalives (pickled green cherry tomatoes)

When you are scrambling around to gather up the last of the season’s tomatoes, don’t forget this incredibly delicious way of dealing with too many green tomatoes. Of course, the tiny green cherry tomatoes should be pickled as a snazzy alternative to martini olives.

I borrowed this photo from the and the recipe is a riff on one from  Garden and Gun Magazine. My only regret is that I didn’t snatch up the name “Garden and Gun” before they did.

Fried Green Tomatoes

4 to 6 green tomatoes, sliced

For the batter/wash:
2 cups buttermilk (old-fashioned whole buttermilk that still has fat in it) mixed with 2 large eggs

2 cups (self-rising) flour mixed with 1 cup stone-ground (medium) cornmeal

½ tsp. garlic powder, 1/2 tsp. onion powder, generous pinch of salt, and plenty of freshly ground black pepper

2 cups canola oil mixed with
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

Place sliced tomatoes in colander. Salt lightly, and let sit for about 5 minutes to help draw out moisture. Rinse under cool water and pat dry with paper towels.

Working one at a time, completely coat each tomato slice in the wash and then in the dredge, gently shaking off excess.

In a cast-iron skillet over high heat, bring butter and canola oil to 350ºF (use a candy thermometer). Reduce heat to stabilize. Working a few slices at a time, fry the tomatoes until golden brown, turning only once (about 3 to 4 minutes total cooking time). Use a spatula to flip the tomatoes away from you so you don’t get splashed. Transfer each batch to drain on brown paper bags or newspaper. Delish served w/ a dollop of cold ranch or buttermilk herb dressing.

Pickled Green Tomatoes or Tomalives

Years ago, there was a great place in Yachats, Oregon, called Beulah’s. I had my very first martini there, served in the snazziest little individual carafe which was nestled in a bowl of crushed ice. The garnish for the martini was none other than Pickled Green Tomatoes or Tomalives. I begged the recipe from them.

For each pint jar:

1.5 cups (approximately) hard green cherry tomatoes, washed gently but thoroughly. Prick each tomato with a sharp knife or a toothpick

For each jar:

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon pickling spice, purchased or make your own (recipe below)

2 cloves garlic (optional)

1 dill head/1 tsp dill seed (optional but very good)

1 thinly sliced medium onion

1/8 teaspoon celery seed

1 tsp. mustard seed


For the brine:

4 cups water

2 cups cider vinegar, white or regular is fine

1/2 cup Kosher salt (make sure the salt you use does NOT contain iodine)


  1. Sterilize jars and lids in a large pot of boiling water to cover for 10 minutes.
  2. One at a time, using tongs or a jar lifter, remove a jar from the hot water and place on a clean dishtowel or cloth in front of you.
  3. Into each jar, as indicated above, place bay leaves, pickling spice, garlic (if using), dill, a bit of onion, celery seed and mustard seed.  Firmly pack tomatoes in each jar, to just below the fill line, about ½ inch below the rim of the jar. Pack them snuggly.
  4. Bring the water, vinegar and salt to a boil. Pour the brine, still boiling, into the jars. The liquid should cover the solids–but only just cover them.
  5. Wait 1-2 minutes to allow the brine to settle. If necessary, add a little more liquid to cover the tomatoes. Put on the tops and store for 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator.

Homemade Pickling Spice from NPR

2 tablespoons black peppercorns

2 tablespoons mustard seeds

2 tablespoons coriander seeds

2 tablespoons dill seed

2 tablespoons allspice berries

1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes

10-12 bay leaves, crumbled