Fermented foods hold natural goodness for those days when the garden is long under the cover of frost and snow! Among the shelves filled with kraut, chunked veggies, raw vinegar of several kinds, vinegar-preserved onions and garlic, you’ll find a jars of…tomatoes!

Fermenting fall tomatoes is a simple way to naturally overwinter 'em in the cool room

Fermented tomatoes are not common in our northwest culture, unlike European countries. Making ’em is simple and they are equally delicious and nutritious. When you have a surplus of these fruits in the fall, ferment and pop ’em in the cool room or root cellar. They’ll keep for several months under proper temps and you’ll benefit from the good bacteria and nutrients!

Most varieties will ferment well, though for best form and firmness of flesh, use tomatoes no bigger than a baseball. Or pack ’em loosely-in which case you’ll have to weigh them down somehow. Be aware that the large ones tend to ‘mush’ as you pack the jar full. Plus, these are a side dish and unless you fall in love with ’em, you may not want to eat a softball-sized tomato in one sitting!

Use your favorite herbs and spices (exception of thyme) to flavor the ferment. Among common favorites are basil, dill and parsley, with garlic or onion. Hot peppers are a great addition if you like the kick of heat.

Whole Tomatoes

Fills a 2 quart jar

  • 1 quart water
  • 3 Tbs salt
  • tomatoes to fill jar
  • herbs of choice (go light until you find the perfect flavor)
  • onions or garlic as desired


  • Choose tomatoes according to size and clean.
  • Place herbs or spices on bottom of jar with salt

  • Prick tomatoes (golf ball size) 1-2x with fork and plop into jar. If using larger tomatoes, prick around the circumference of fruit 4-5x

  • Fill jar tightly as possible. Don’t be afraid to wedge ’em in!
  • Fill jar with water and make certain fruits are submerged. Weigh down if necessary.

  • Allow fermenting process to take place for 4-7 days if cool room is too cold for pimg_20160902_091423745roper fermenting temps.
  • Burp jar regularly to release gasses
  • When placed in cool room, keep lid in place and remove tomatoes as needed with clean spoon.

The end results is a powerfully flavored fermented tomato! For some, its too strong to eat straight up.

For those of you who qualify, it may be blended up, mixed in with hummus or salad dressings, sliced and eaten on sandwiches, with bread and cheese (yum!). Or serve bits on cottage cheese with pepper.

If looking to overwinter in the cold room, use the last tomatoes of the year. Got green winter tomatoes? Bring ’em inside before the frost nips the world and as they ripen, ferment and keep in cold room for a solid winter, gut-boosting food!