Crunchy Sour Green Tomatoes

Green tomatoes from the garden, grocery store, or farmer’s market are inexpensive and make for a sour probiotic taste treat.

If you enjoy dill pickles or other salty, mouth-puckering foods, you’ll love these.

You’ll need:

  • A large stainless steel, plastic, or glass bowl
  • A wide-mouth quart mason jar
  • Non-chlorinated water
  • 25 grams sea salt or other natural salt
  • 8 medium-sized green tomatoes (about 2 pounds)
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic (or to taste)
  • Half a yellow onion
  • Optional: 1-4 fresh habanero peppers


  1. Rinse, then cut green tomatoes into quarters and add to bowl.
  2. Rinse, then dice garlic, onions, and optional peppers and add to bowl.
  3. Add salt to bowl and combine everything thoroughly with your hands.
  4. Leave the mixture out overnight (optional) before transferring to jar.
  5. Top the jar off with water until ingredients are fully covered.
  6. Cover jar without sealing, then monitor for bubbles daily. Depending on temperature, it could be finished after 3-21 days.
  7. Serve or refrigerate to halt fermentation during storage (lasts for up to a year in refrigeration).

Probiotic Safety Recap

Here’s what to keep in mind for DIY probiotic safety:

  • For salt-based probiotic food recipes use a salt ratio of 2.5% by weight or weight-to-volume. Therefore, for a 1000 gram ferment (a liter or quart jar, or 2.2 pounds of veggie and water, total) you’d add 25 grams of sea salt.
  • Weigh out your salt rather than measure it by volume, because salt volume varies a lot. A tablespoon of fine sea salt might weigh double what a tablespoon of flake salt weighs.
  • Salt inhibits “bad” bacteria, so it’s better to use too much salt than too little. Some cultures use 5-20% salt by weight! If you don’t like a lot of salt, you can rinse your fermented foods before eating–they’ll still be tasty.
  • Along with the salt, water is what ensures beneficial bacteria grow rather than harmful species. Always submerge your fermented foods fully in water.
  • Cover your fermented foods, but don’t seal them. They’ll produce natural carbon dioxide, so you don’t want them airtight. Special lids are available, but a cheesecloth or paper towel and rubber band are also fine.
  • Check the jars every 1-3 days. You may need to scrape some harmless yeast or mold off the top (it won’t affect what’s beneath the water if you remove it all) or top off with water. Add more salt directly on top if you keep having yeast or mold problems.