How to make green tomato caper berries

This image features a close-up view of a dark bowl filled with green tomato caper berries, placed on a surface with a mottled texture that resembles a marble or granite countertop. Some of the caper berries are whole and glossy, showcasing their olive-like appearance, while others are cut in half, revealing their seedy interiors. The ones that are cut open have a yellowish interior with visible seeds, similar in appearance to regular tomatoes. Scattered around the bowl are additional caper berries, both whole and halved, contributing to a rustic and natural presentation of the dish.

No tomato left behind! That has been our mantra since autumn began in earnest. We enjoyed a great harvest of small cherry tomatoes this year, but even as we tried to force ripen the slightly orange or yellow tomatoes, there were plenty more that were very green. Although the tomatoes largely thrived on their own, and we enjoyed plenty of fresh ones, we felt emotionally invested and wanted to avoid any waste.

If you grow tomatoes, or have seen them on a truss, you might have noticed the small, unripe tomatoes at the truss tips. By summer’s end, it was clear these green berries would never ripen and become juicy, yet I couldn’t let them go. I had already made pickled green tomatoes, and in previous years, I’ve made capers out of nasturtium seeds and also from foraged rowan berries. The unripe green tomatoes, firm and full of seeds, reminded me of caper berries in texture and appearance. This got me thinking — was this the way to use these final ‘almost’ tomatoes instead of simply discarding them?

After brining, pickling and storing them for a couple of weeks before trying them, I can now declare they’re a huge success! This provides a sustainable alternative to buying caper berries, enhancing my cooking immediately. Inspired by this success, I was compelled to share this simple method for making green tomato caper berries — a technique that ensures no little green tomatoes get left behind.

How to make green tomato caper berries


  • 3-4 cups unripe small green cherry tomatoes
  • 8g sea salt
  • 750ml water
  • 250ml apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • Optional aromatics – Sichuan or black peppercorns, bay leaves, fennel seeds, coriander or mustard seeds or garlic

Chef’s Tip – If you prefer a sweeter pickle, dissolve sugar in the vinegar while heating, start with a small amount and sweeten to taste. You’ll need enough jars to store 1.5 – 2 litres of tomato caper berries, choose sizes to suit.


Dissolve 8g sea salt in 250ml of cold water, double or triple if needed – providing enough liquid to cover your green tomatoes.

Wash and de-stem the unripe green tomatoes. Discard any badly damaged ones. I used a mixed variety for this recipe, if my tomatoes had ripened they would have been a mix of red, yellow, purple and orange.

Put the green tomatoes in a small bowl or jar and cover with the salt water.

Cover with a saucer to keep submerged and allow them to sit at room temperature for 24 hours. Drain the salt water and repeat the process twice more over 3 days.

Day 4 – Drain and rinse the green tomatoes, fill sterilised jars.

Bring the vinegar to the boil and pour over the green tomato caper berries, seal the jars. Leave to cool before storing in jars in the fridge for at least a week before eating.

Green tomato caper berries will keep in the fridge for up to 3 months.

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