Recipe: A Tangy Fermented Green Tomato Relish

As cooler weather moves in with green tomatoes still on the vine, you can make this delicious fermented green tomato relish to preserve your unripened harvest.

by Stephanie Thurow
PHOTO: Stephanie Thurow

It’s the end of the growing season here in Minnesota and freezing temperatures are knocking on the door. Sadly, many of my tomatoes will never get a chance to ripen on the vine. But the good news is that there are plenty of ways to enjoy green tomatoes.

This fermented green tomato relish recipe is a great substitute for a pickle relish. Use it mixed into salads, or as a condiment for hot dogs and burgers.

Yield: 1 pint


  • 2 cups green tomatoes (about 1 pound)
  • 1/4 cup yellow onion (about half a small onion)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 tsp celery seed
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard seed
  • 1.5 tsp coarse kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp raw honey (optional)

Read more: Got extra ripe tomatoes? Try this delicious fermented bruschetta recipe!


Wash and core tomatoes. Remove and discard any blemishes.

Dice up firm green tomatoes, onions and garlic finely, or use a food processor to gently pulse the tomatoes, onions and garlic to the preferred consistency.

Subscribe now

Transfer to a bowl and mix in the remaining ingredients. Stir well. Transfer the mixture to a clean pint canning jar, leaving at least 1/2 inch of headspace (room from the top of the ferment to the rim of the jar).

Wipe off the rim of the jar with a clean dampened towel. Add the canning jar lid and tightly screw on the ring.


This is a five-day ferment. Ferment at room temperature, ideally between 60-75 degrees F (15-23 degrees C) and keep out of direct sunlight. If you have a small fermentation jar weight, add it to the jar to hold the tomato mixture under the brine.

Burp the jar daily. Unscrew the lid briefly and tighten it back on to allow any built-up gas to release (and avoid possible jar breakage or the ferment from overflowing). Stir ferment if you do not have a jar fermentation weight and pat it down to remove any air bubbles within the mixture.

After five days of fermentation, taste test and see if it has the tangy, fermented flavor that it should have developed through the process of fermentation. If it tastes too much like it would in the raw form, replace the lid and ring and allow it to ferment another couple days and taste test again.

Once the ferment has reached an ideal flavor, transfer the jar into the refrigerator.

Fermentation does not stop once the ferment is transferred to the refrigerator. But cooling does slow the process way down. The taste and texture will continue to change, therefore this ferment is best enjoyed within six months.

Read more: Ready to start fermenting? This simple onion pickles recipe is a great place to begin!


Feel free to use larger green heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes or any tomato in between.

Want spice? Add in one diced jalapeño or other hot pepper of choice before fermenting.

Find more recipes for preserving green tomatoes in Can It & Ferment It by Stephanie Thurow.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *