The Bloody Mary garnish should be a moment of play. The responsibility of turning tomato juice and vodka into a cocktail is trivial and one is tempted ‘gun-it-n-run-it’ but half the fun is what’s on the toothpick.

Makes: 2 quarts
Keeps: 3 months (Refrigerator) 1+ year as a canned pickle
Time: 45 minutes


For the jars
2 lb tomatillos

1 tsp pickling spice

1 tsp mustard seed

For the Brine

3 cups cider vinegar

3 cups water

2 TBSP sugar

2 TBSP salt

Optional seasonings

1 Sprig fresh dill

2 Cayenne peppers, whole and slit top to tail

3 tsp = 1 TBSP
2 TBSP = 1 ounce
1 cup = 8 oz
1 cup = 1/2 pint
4 cups = 1 quart
4 quarts = 1 gallon
16 cups – 1 gallon

Tomatillo Mary


Divide the spices between two jars and fill them with one pound of tomatillos each and place them in the sink.

Bring the brine ingredients to a boil.

Fill the jars with hot brine.

If you are storing the jars on the pantry shelf– screw lids onto the jar but leave some slack before the end of the thread.

If you are storing the pickles in the refrigerator, let the jars cool unlidded.

When the jars are cool to the touch:

If you are storing the jars on the pantry shelf, wait until the lids don’t make a pop when you depress them. Then screw the ring down to the end of the thread.

If you are storing the jars in the refrigerator, wait until the pickles have steamed off completely to lid them and put them in the refrigerator. Do not test the brine temperature with your finger–you will contaminate the brine. Also, testing how hot stuff is with your fingers will one day result in a burn.

There is such a thing as too many pickled tomatillos. The batch has to be large enough, so that they aren’t over-cherished and small enough that they don’t inspire a sort of food resentment because of the space they take up in the cupboard.

In the right batch size, you can feel free to use them whenever we need a touch of pickle on the plate or in the glass. Then, they’re gone and aren’t given a second thought until the following year.

Pickle backs
Bloody Mary garnishes
Appetizer plates