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Two jars of fermented tomatoes.

Fermented Tomatoes

These fermented tomatoes are a great way to preserve your harvest to use into the fall and winter.
4.51 from 63 votes
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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Fermentation Time: 21 days
Total Time: 21 days 5 minutes
Servings: 16 servings
Calories: 5kcal
Author: Carolyn Thomas


  • 1 lb tomatoes (small to medium in size)
  • 3 Tbs salt (good quality sea salt)
  • water (filtered)
  • basil and garlic, or other herbs and spices (optional)


  • Gently wash tomatoes to remove any dirt or particles and stem.
  • Start with clean glass jars (or other non-porous non-metal fermenting vessel).
  • Pour salt and a little water into your fermenting vessel, stir to begin dissolving salt.
  • Add several garlic cloves, herbs or spices to the jar, if using.
  • Pack vessel full of tomatoes.
  • Pour more water to cover.
  • Cap jar with lid.
  • Leave out at room temperature for 3-4 weeks.
  • Move to cold storage.



Fermenting Tips
  1. Use pure water (no chlorine or other chemicals). Distilled water is fine.
  2. Use unadulterated salt. Table salt and iodized salts contain chemicals that will interfere with proper fermentation.
  3. Use a food-grade fermenting vessel (glass or ceramic is preferable) and never metal.
  4. Use some method to keep the tomatoes underneath the liquid level at all times. This can be a fermenting weight, a small plate, packing the jar in a way that the food cannot rise, or simply filling with liquid to the brim, capping and watching the liquid level closely.
  5. Cover your fermenting vessel in a way to keep out fruit flies and dust, but still allow gasses to escape. A plastic storage lid on a jar (NOT airtight) will work, a lid with an airlock will work, so will any other loose-fitting lid. Alternately, just burp your regularly capped jar (open it slightly) if you notice gas buildup. 
  6. Move your ferment to cool storage after the initial ferment (about 3 weeks for medium-sized tomatoes in a medium temperature kitchen). This could be a refrigerator, but a cool, dark cabinet, cellar, or basement work as well.
Other recipe tips:
  • Storage: These should keep for a few months in cool temperatures and up to 12 months in cold storage.
  • Scaling: This recipe can be scaled up or down… try a pint of cherry tomatoes or a 5-gallon bucket of paste tomatoes. Just be sure to scale the salt up or down as well.
  • To Use: Eat raw, in salads or blend with fermented garlic (or fresh garlic) and serve raw over hot rice or pasta. Makes a great pizza sauce as well!


Calories: 5kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1310mg | Potassium: 67mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 236IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 1mg
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