Appalachia Appalachian Food Preserving/Canning

Frankie Chastain’s Hot Green Tomato and Pepper Pickles

Frankie Chastains green tomato pickles

Every year Frankie Chastain’s family gathers at the Martins Creek Community Center for a day of green tomato pickle making. The annual event is headed up by one of Frankie’s sons Gerald.

I’ve eaten green tomato pickles before and never really cared for them, until a few years ago I was at a party and someone was passing around a jar. Not wanting to be rude I took one to eat. It was really good! I asked the gentleman for the recipe and he said he’d been invited to the Chastain pickle day the year before and that’s where he learned how to make them.

Hot green tomatoes and peppers frankie chastain

Earlier this summer I remembered the green tomato pickles and sent word to Frankie that I’d love to have her recipe. In true Frankie Chastain fashion she set right down and wrote down the directions for me and sent them by Pap.

Green tomato pickles easy recipe

Small whole green tomatoes are the key to making good green tomato pickles according to the folks who join in on the Chastain Pickle Making Day. Using the whole tomato helps ensure their crispness. Her directions also said to use hot peppers but since I only had banana peppers on hand I used them. Actually I planted banana peppers that I grew from seed but the day I made the pickles the peppers I cut up left my hands burning for the rest of the day so I don’t know what happened there-maybe I did use hot peppers in my pickles even thought I didn’t mean too.

Old recipe for pickled green tomatoes

Frankie Chastain’s Hot Green Tomato and Pepper Pickles

  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 1/4 cup canning salt
  • 1/2 gallon white vinegar
  • small green tomatoes (if tomatoes are cold allow them to come to room temperature before making pickles)
  • peppers hot or sweet or both (if peppers are cold allow them to come to room temperature before making pickles)

Bring to boil 1 gallon of water and 1 1/4 cup canning salt. Allow to sit overnight.

Add 1/2 gallon white vinegar to salt water and bring to a boil.

Pack tomatoes and peppers in sterilized jars.

Pour solution over tomatoes in jars while hot and seal.

Frankie says “Gerald usually turns the jars upside down for a while on towels then turns them right side up and let seal and cool before moving them.”

If you don’t feel comfortable using the open kettle method of canning, water bath jars for 5 minutes.

Allow jars to sit for at least a month if not longer before opening-in other words give the pickles time to actually pickle.

Mexican Sour Gherkin Sow True Seed tiny cucumbers

Frankie’s recipe said it made approximately 10 quarts. I had some pickling solution left over so I decided to use some of my Mexican Sour Gherkin Sow True Seed tiny cucumbers in place of the tomatoes just to see how they turned out. Frankie’s sister-n-law Mary Alice told me this recipe is perfect to use for Pickled Okra too.



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  • Reply
    Don Byers
    June 13, 2021 at 7:12 pm

    Is Frankie any relation to the late Frankie Chastain Burnette?

    • Reply
      June 13, 2021 at 7:57 pm

      Don-I’m not sure. Her full name was Frankie Coleman Chastain 🙂

  • Reply
    Gaye Blaine
    April 25, 2019 at 3:11 pm

    Nothing like a Good pickle of any kind with a bowl of soup beans, corn bread and buttermilk on a cold wintery night with howling wind. Eat, be thankful, sleep well. Preserving the end of garden is worth it all.

  • Reply
    September 7, 2015 at 11:07 pm

    Wow, thank you for sharing the recipe. I’ve been canning watermelon jelly & jalapeño jelly so this will be a great time to try this one out!!

  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    September 7, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    Our Mother loved spicy pickles, peppers and such, and I bet she would have loved these. The rest of us (that I know of), not so much. Good way to use the late season vegetables that can be pickled though.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Paula Rhodarmer
    September 7, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    Tipper, I have saved so many good recipes from you and this looks like another keeper. You should write a cookbook, I would buy it!

  • Reply
    September 7, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    What a great way to use those end of the season small green tomatoes. I’m sure this recipe is much healthier than frying up all those green tomatoes at the end of the season.
    I have never eaten any pickled green tomatoes. We love pickled okra, beans, and those mixed cauliflower, carrot and onion pickles, of course hot dill pickles, etc. I am sure we would love these and the recipe seems simple enough. Your little pickled cucumbers are so pretty, I am sure they too will have to rest a few weeks to absorb all the pickled goodness. Be sure and let us know how you like them.
    Thanks for this recipe. I just don’t have enough green tomatoes for this recipe this year. Next year I will give them a try!
    Happy Labor Day….now go in there and give it a rest today! ha

  • Reply
    September 7, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    All this food talk is making me want to have grown a garden this year. My neighbor has enjoed the fruits of his garden daily. This sounds like another wonderful recipe.

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    September 7, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    I have been searching for this recipe! My grandmother made these and none of my aunts or my mom had the recipe. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Reply
    September 7, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    I guess the reason I like this site
    is because we never know what you
    got planned for the next day.
    The tomato pickles look nice. I’m
    more of a fried green tomato guy
    myself, but my favorite is a home-grown mader sandwich…Ken

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    September 7, 2015 at 11:42 am

    Odd you should post this today. I’m visiting family in Oklahoma this week. In the backyard last year I saw a little vine with three-lobed leaves and dark yellow flowers. I thought it looked like a vine called moonseed which has poisonous fruit. This trip though, down in the downtown garden I saw the same plant labeled “mouse melon”. Before I read your post this AM I searched for ‘mouse melon’ and lo and behold it is the very same as Mexican sour gerkin.

  • Reply
    Gina S
    September 7, 2015 at 9:36 am

    Mama made similar pickles every summer. She sliced tomatoes into a dishpan, added slices of fresh cayenne peppers, salted each layer, then let the mix set for a time. I don’t know her exact brine, but recall it was slightly sweet. I did not care for the pickles as a child, too hot for my taste buds. Now I wish I knew exactly how she made them.

  • Reply
    September 7, 2015 at 9:15 am

    My mouth is watering!
    I think those gherkins look really interesting, too 🙂

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 7, 2015 at 7:31 am

    Than sounds good and simple enough. I’ll be interested in the outcome. Like you, I’ve never been to fond of green tomato pickles.

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