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 enslaved people who came to North America by way of Africa and 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
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.
Green Tomatoes Recipes
- Green tomato and apple chutney: This is the perfect way to use up a bunch of green tomatoes. The beautiful part about chutneys is that they can be however you want them to be: spicy, no heat, chunky or not chunky, etc. This one in particular pairs perfectly with bread or cheese.
- Sweet corn and green tomato fritters: If you want an easy on the go breakfast or a scrumptious snack than this recipe is definitely for you. These fritters are really easy to put together and fry. Perhaps the most satisfying part is getting to choose how you are going to sweeten them up. You can roll them in cinnamon sugar, dust them with powdered sugar, or even serve them with some sweet syrup. The choice is yours and they're all tasty enough to satisfy your sweet tooth.
- Green tomato quick bread: This is another great recipe to use up an abundance of green tomatoes. You can use it for any meal. For example, for breakfast, it makes a tasty toast and for dinner, it can be your dessert. You can even make it into bread pudding or French toast. The possibilities are endless, so don't let your tomatoes spoil.