Monday, September 10, 2012

Cherry Tomatoes in Honey Brine

As I lamented in a previous post, we lost all of our tomato plants to the destructive late blight.  I was particularly sad to say good-bye to two vibrant yellow cherry tomato plants.  We'd been enjoying these sweet-like-candy tomatoes throughout August.  This recipe for brined cherry tomatoes gave me a chance to use some of the not-quite-ripe tomatoes still left on the vines.  In fact, this recipe requires not-quite-ripe tomatoes.  Ripe tomatoes will get too mushy in the brine, but those that haven't ripened fully keep a nice crunch.  This is, admittedly, a recipe for adventuresome cooks (and eaters). It's very simple to do, but requires patience (time for the tomatoes to soak in the brine) and the result is crispy, salty, piquant pickled tomatoes--a few go a long way.  They'd be great as part of an antipasto platter, or served with cheese and crackers, or gracing the side of grilled cheese sandwich or added to a leaf lettuce salad.  Use them where ever you'd use a dill pickle.

Cherry Tomatoes in Honey Brine
1 1/4 pounds half-ripe cherry tomatoes
6 dill heads (or 2 tablespoons dill seeds and about 6 sprigs of fresh dill)
1/4 cup fresh horseradish, grated (you can used bottled horseradish instead--just be sure it's not a horseradish sauce with cream)
3 sprigs of fresh parsley
1/2 fresh hot pepper, seeded (I used a Hungarian hot) and cut in a few pieces
2 tablespoons pickling salt (or UNiodized salt)
2-3 tablespoons honey
1 quart of water

In a jar that will hold two quarts, layer the tomatoes interspersed with the herbs, horseradish and pepper pieces.  Dissolve the salt and honey in the water and pour over the tomatoes in the jar.  Be sure the tomatoes are submerged in the brine--I filled a small zipper-lock bag with some water and placed it on top of the tomatoes to keep them under the brine.  If your jar has a large opening, you could put a plate or saucer on top.  Let the tomatoes ferment in the brine, unrefrigerated, for a week.  When a week is up, cover them tightly and place in the refrigerator to develop more fully.  You can taste them throughout the process--and you might enjoy the delicate flavor they begin to develop after about a day.  They should keep in the fridge for at least a month.


  1. I planted tomatoes for the first time this year and I'm pretty sure they caught late blight. Total bummer!!! Anywho, this recipe is really cool! I never thought to brine tomatoes and especially with honey. You have a knack for incorporating honey into everything! Have you ever made Ruby homemade dog treats with honey!? I don't know if dogs can have honey, but it sounds like something they might like!

  2. Hey Allie! What would I do if I didn't have you to comment on my blog posts? Thanks for always finding something to say. I have made Ruby (and our other dog, Zorra) dog treats with honey! Here's the link to the recipe on the blog:

  3. I just read the post you linked to. Zorra is TOO cute! The treats seem really simple and tasty (I would probably be tempted to eat a few..). I like that they are probably a lot cheaper than buying store brands and definitely much healthier!!