Pickled tomatillos in the house!
It's true, I'm kind of new to these beauties, and I don't have any companion recipes that show off ways to use them (yet), but I've been munching on them all week and they have quickly shot up my list of favorite pickled goods.
I'll try them out in a few dishes and post any winners, but in the meantime I think it's worth considering a batch if you've got tomatillos on hand. They give you a deliciously tart burst of acidity, and if you are a fan of pickled goods then most likely you'll have trouble slowing down when they're around.
Pickled Tomatillos Recipe
They're also a great way to quickly use up any fresh tomatillos that are sitting in the fridge getting impatient. (What is a Tomatillo?)
I had a pound of tomatillos in the fridge and that turned out to be the perfect amount to fill a quart-sized Mason jar. This recipe will also fit into two pint-sized Mason jars.
Before we chop up the tomatillos it's best to get the brine on the stove.
Add 1.5 cups of water and 1.5 cups of white vinegar to a saucepan. We'll also add 1 tablespoon of salt.
Give it a stir, bring it to a boil, and then remove it from the heat. This mixture will get poured over the tomatillos in the Mason jar.
This quick pickling relies on vinegar for the acidity instead of fermentation, and it's an easy way to make a batch of pickled goods that will last for at least a month in the fridge. (Please keep in mind that these instructions are not meant for long-term canning.)
Keep the following tips in mind and you can use this technique to pickle just about any vegetable:
Use a 1:1 vinegar-to-water ratio. I almost always use a simple white vinegar as opposed to flavored vinegars.
I think it's best to use canning jars when quick pickling even though we aren't doing long-term canning. You'll want to use a non-reactive container to house the vinegar brine, with glass being the preferred choice.
To maximize flavor, your veggies will need 24 hours or so resting in the brine (in the fridge). But you'll often hear me recommend making them whenever you need them because you'll get a decent preview of how they'll taste even a half hour after making them.
And last, it's best to use a Kosher or pickling salt for your pickled goods. Table salt typically has additives and this can affect the brine. A popular salt amongst foodies and chefs is this Diamond Crystal Kosher salt:
I use this as my house salt and it's the perfect candidate for pickled goods. It's super cheap and I always keep a bowl of it next to the stove. (More on salt choices here.)
Okay, let's get pickling...
Remove the husks from the tomatillos and give them a good rinse. For reference, a single pound is about 8-10 tomatillos.
Remove the stems and chop them up into quarters. You can also chop them finer if you want.
Add these to a quart-sized Mason jar (or two pint-sized jars) along with 4 peeled, roughly chopped garlic cloves.
We'll also add 1/2 teaspoon of whole peppercorns and 1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds.
I usually give the spices a quick crush in the molcajete but just enough to crack the peppercorns open, no need to grind them into a powder. You can mimic this with the bottom of a skillet if you want but this step isn't crucial so don't sweat it too much.
I also added a single serrano pepper to this batch. This will only give the pickled tomatillos a whisper of heat, so if you want a more fiery batch you can use 2-3 serranos (or jalapenos). (How hot are serrano peppers?)
Pour the brine over the top of the tomatillos. You should have enough brine to fully submerge the tomatillos.
I usually partially cover the jar and let it cool on the counter for 10-15 minutes. Once cooled, seal it and put it in the fridge.
As mentioned, you'll get a decent preview of how they'll taste even a half hour after submerging them in the brine, but they won't taste fully pickled until tomorrow.
Let them rest overnight in the fridge. The next day they'll look like this:
Serve them as is or you can chop them up finer if you want.
Tacos, quesadillas, and sandwiches are all great options for these Pickled Tomatillos. They have serious potential to be a newfound favorite garnish.
Or of course, you can just eat them on their own!
Quick pickling is such a simple technique and I think it's a great investment for the home kitchen. If you're new to it then give it a go -- it's remarkably easy and you get so much in return from it. Once you're comfortable with it you can just as easily make:
Curtido -- Pickled Cabbage Slaw
Let me know if you have any questions about this recipe or about quick pickling in general. Feel free to use the comments section below with questions or you can always email me.
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- 8-10 tomatillos (approx. 1 lb.)
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 serrano (or jalapeno)
- 1.5 cups white vinegar
- 1.5 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon salt (Kosher, sea, or pickling salt)
- Add 1. 5 cups white vinegar, 1.5 cups water and 1 tablespoon salt to a saucepan. Give it a stir, bring to a boil, and remove from heat once boiling.
- Remove the husks from the tomatillos and give them a good rinse. De-stem the tomatillos and cut them into quarters (or smaller if you want).
- Add the chopped tomatillos to a quart-sized Mason jar (you could also use two pint-sized Mason jars). We'll also add four peeled, roughly chopped garlic cloves and a single serrano pepper sliced lengthwise.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds and 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns to the jar. I give the spices a quick crush in the molcajete to crack the peppercorns but this is optional. (You can also use the bottom of a skillet to accomplish this.)
- Pour the hot brine mixture over the tomatillos. You should have enough brine to fully submerge the tomatillos.
- Let the jar cool on the counter for 10-15 minutes, then seal it and store it in the fridge. The tomatillos will be fully pickled in about 24 hours and they'll keep for at least a month in the fridge.
For details on other quick pickling recipes, check out our Mexican Pickled Recipes page.
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If I don't have cumin seed, how much ground cumin would work? Thank you!
Hey Barb! For this recipe I would probably use 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin if you don't have seeds. Cheers.
Outstanding! I used tomatillos and jalapenos from my garden. The flavor is amazing.
Thanks Vera, so glad you tried out this recipe! Cheers.
A question. Why is this recipe not appropriate for canning? I would like to make some of your recipes & can them for later use.
Hi Jacque! I haven't tried canning any of these pickled recipes so I don't really feel comfortable giving a thumbs up on it yet. For now I am just storing them in the fridge for a month or so. Cheers.
These were a huge hit! Made them for surprise holiday gifts and got all thumbs up! I'm getting ready to make more and just wondered....can you re-use the brine or should it be made fresh each time?
Many thanks for the fun recipe....they work in a salad and on a burger as well!!
Ahh good news Syliva, I'm so glad you tried out this recipe as it is one of my favs on the site! You would get a mild pickle if you re-use the brine, but it won't be nearly as potent as an original batch so I usually recommend starting over. Cheers.
Hi Patrick, made this recipe exactly as written... Delicious! I plan to blend a few into my green sauce for chicken enchiladas, I'll see where that takes the flavors and let you know. Best.
Thanks JG! Yeah that sounds like a good idea, will be interesting to see how the sauce handles the acidity. Cheers.
Thanks. I like your recipe. Just picked another 60 and want six more pints. I don't have large fridge, so vacuum sealed my first batch of two. Just a five-minute boil. Didn't have any peppercorns, cumin seed, or extra garlic on hand, so subbed fresh ground, ground and crushed.
What do you mean by cores? The petioles on mine break off nicely, but the little pale core are tough to remove. I ended up just slicing an eighth inch off the tops.
Thanks Hal! Yeah slicing a bit off the top will work too, I'm just in the habit of using a tomato core tool to carve out that little area where the stem attaches. Cheers.
Excellent recipe! They go nicely with my tinga. Love your website thanks for sharing all these amazing recipes 😋
Thanks Janet! Yeah now that you mention it that sounds like a great combo. Will try it 🙂 Cheers.
OH MY GOSH - we grew tomatillos this year and had no idea what to do with them. Found this recipe on Pinterest and made our first jar. These are amazing and so easy - i am passing the recipe link to all my friends who like to cook. I brought them in to the office today and everyone went wild. I will keep making these even if i have to buy the tomatillos.
Thanks for the feedback Karen, so glad you found this recipe!
Jeff the Chef
Those tomatillos look lovely, and I bet the'd make a nice relish.
I thought tomatillos were poisonous? Does this remove that?
Hi John, if tomatillos were poisonous then Mexican cuisine would be in big trouble! I think it's similar to tomatoes where the vines and leaves have some toxicity but the fruit itself is healthy. Cheers.