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What to Do With A Big Pre-Frost Harvest

IMG_2496It’s going to be cold this weekend. With the forecast anticipating at least one night at freezing temperatures, and the potential for multiple nights of cold weather, we will likely see the demise of many of our crops. While hardier fall plants like kale and lettuce can hold up to a few nights of cold, fruiting crops – especially ones like tomatoes and peppers – will sadly become piles of mush. Just today, we harvested out pounds and pounds of summer vegetables from our R&D garden, to be used in feasts in the coming days!

So, what better way to hold onto this growing season than to do one final pre-frost harvest and preserve and put away the fruits of your labor for later on this winter? Last night at our Using and Preserving Your Harvest workshop, guest chef Meg Tallon taught us this fantastic recipe, courtesy of The Preservation Kitchen by Paul Virant for Sweet Pickled Cherry Tomatoes. Simple to make, and tasty to boot!

For a tasty vinaigrette, blend 1 cup of the tomatoes (plus their liquid) with 1 cup of olive oil.


5 teaspoons dill seeds (cumin seeds could work as well)

2 ½ teaspoons black peppercorns

10 dill sprigs

5 garlic cloves

8 cups cherry tomatoes, hulled and pricked with a sterilized needle

4 cups of Champagne vinegar (apple cider vinegar works great as well!)

1 ¼ cups water

¾ cups sugar (I use organic sugar)

1 tablespoon Kosher salt


  1. IMG_2497Scald 5 pint jars ina large pot of simmering water fitted with a rack—you will use this pot to process the jars. Right before filling, put the jars on the coutner.
  2. In a dry sauté pan over medium heat, toast the dill seeds and peppercorns.
  3. Divide the spices among the jars, using about 1 ½ teaspoons per jar, then add 2 sprigs dill and 1 garlic clove to each jar.
  4. Pack the tomatoes evenly among the jars.
  5. In a pot, bring the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt to a boil. Transfer the brine to a heat-proof pitcher and pour over the tomatoes, leaving a ½ inch space from the rim of the jar.
  6. Check the jars for air pockets, adding more brine if necessary to fill in the gaps.
  7. Wipe the rims with a clean towel, seal with the lids, then screw on the bands until snug but not tight.
  8. Place the jars in the pot with the rack and add enough water to cover the jars by about 1 inch.
  9. Bring the water to a boil and process the jars for 15 minutes (start the timer when the water reaches a boil). Turn off the heat and leave the jars in the water for a few minutes. Remove the jars from the water and let cool completely!


Not sure if you want to take the full-on canning plunge? Concerned about botchulism? If you haven’t yet canned before, you can always prepare the recipe as noted above, but just make sure to eat the pickled cherry tomatoes in the next two weeks.

Tomatoes not ripe yet? Still harvest them before the frost hits this weekend, and check back next week for a recipe with what to do with a whole bunch of green tomatoes!

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