In medium-sized sauce pan, over medium heat on stove-top, combine water, vinegar, salt, sugar and the fine zest of one lemon. Bring to a simmer until salt and sugar have dissolved. Reduce heat to low.
Meanwhile, prepare a water bath. (If you do not have a canning set, a large pot filled halfway with simmering water on medium heat will do just fine.)
Place ½ tsp each of black peppercorns, red pepper flakes and 2 cloves of garlic in the bottom of each sterilized pint jar.
Layer tomatoes and basil in each jar. Every so often, add a 1 x 2 inch strip of lemon zest (no more than 4 per jar) so that it is aesthetically pleasing. Fill to ring line.
Add 1 tsp olive oil to each jar.
Ladle in the simmering brine liquid, only to cover the tomatoes.
Clean and dry the rim of each jar before placing lids on top and tighten- ing rings (make sure not to tighten rings all the way. This will give room for expansion during water bath.)
Increase water bath temperature to high and place jars in the bath. Make sure that the jars are submerged halfway in boiling water. Add water accord- ingly and boil for 15 minutes.
Remove jars and cool. You will know the jars have sealed by a single pop of the lid. Once they pop, remove rings and store in cool, dark place.