Southerners do eat fried green tomatoes, and they eat fried red tomatoes too. If you haven't tried them, you're in for a treat!
Native to Mexico and Central America, it's not clear how tomatoes came to the United States. Thomas Jefferson grew them in the 1780s and credited one of his neighbors with the introduction, but Harriott Pinckney Horry recorded a recipe "To Keep Tomatoes For Winter Use" in 1770. There is a folk legend that they were introduced by African slaves who came to North America by way of the Caribbean, and some historians believe that the Portuguese introduced tomatoes to the West Coast of Africa.
There are plenty of ways to coat and fry your tomatoes, get creative; use breadcrumbs, cracker crumbs, cornmeal, or flour. Some people dip them in beaten eggs before dredging, while some just dredge then fry. Salt and pepper them first, and use a little bacon grease for flavor if you have it.
Choosing and Storing Ripe Tomatoes
Home-grown tomatoes are usually the best, but if you have to buy them, look for firm ones and pay attention to the fragrance. White specks mean they have been forced to ripen with gas. If you have an abundance of good fresh tomatoes, freeze them whole. Just wash, dry, and put them in freezer bags. They'll retain their flavor, and once thawed the peel will slip off easily. Use them in any recipes calling for fresh tomatoes except salads.