Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes
Winter is undeniably approaching. Southern Indiana has already seen one night in which temperatures dipped below 32F. The frost destroyed a large variety of plants including my precious tomato vines. Instead of dreading the inevitable barren season to come, I wanted to write an article about how we can still get great food in our post-frost world.

Throughout the United States, one of the most common garden plants grown for food is the tomato. Tomatoes sugar content, acidity, and size all depend on the breed and growing conditions of the plant. A grape tomato and beefsteak tomato have considerably different usages. Tomatoes do share a common development cycle. All varieties of tomatoes start off as immature, hard, tart green fruits and only after maturating, they change color and develop unique flavors.

However, if a tomato plant is unprotected in a below freezing environment, its vines will wilt and die. This seasonal event leaves many gardeners with a lot of unripened tomatoes. There are techniques to ripen green tomatoes such as; sun ripening, by storing green tomatoes on a window sill in direct sunlight, or ethylene ripening, this is done by storing green tomatoes in a closed bag with an ethylene producing fruit. However, green tomatoes have culinary validity in their own right!

Fried green tomatoes are a common usage of the unripened fruit. When cooked, they become tender yet remain flavorful. You may beer batter, tempura batter, use bread crumbs, crackers, or any other variation of breading or battering food that you prefer.

Many of us think of fried green tomatoes as a recipe developed in the Southern United States, and this is primarily due to the novel and film Fried Green Tomatoes which takes place in Alabama. Lisa Bramen from has found that fried green tomatoes started to appear in the United States in the North and Midwest, and were most likely the contribution of Jewish immigrants from the mid 19th to early 20th century. Regardless of who can claim ownership of fried green tomatoes, they only seem to be gaining in popularity. Fried green tomatoes are another instance of practicality becoming a valued American food tradition.

Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes

  • 6 Large green tomatoes
  • 1/4 c Buttermilk
  • 2 Eggs, whisked
  • 1 c All-purpose flour
  • 2 c Panko bread crumbs
  • 5 T Old Bay seasoning
Cooking Directions
  1. Slice green tomatoes, about 1/4-1/2 inch thick.
  2. In a bowl beat eggs and buttermilk together.
  3. On a separate plate mix flour and Old Bay seasoning together.
  4. On yet another plate spread Panko.
  5. Take a slice of tomato and dredge in flour, then coat it in the egg mixture, and finally coat with Panko crumbs. Carefully set breaded tomato on a sheet pan lined with wax paper.
  6. Repeat the process until all tomatoes are breaded, then stick in the freezer.
  7. One hour to indefinite, remove the frozen tomato and prepare oil to fry. You want to make sure and use a high heat oil and get it near its smoking point. The frozen tomatoes will instantly drop the temperature of the oil, so this part is crucial.
  8. Fry the tomatoes until golden brown and remove to a plate lined with paper towels. Make sure to absorb as much oil as possible and serve immediately to avoid soggy tomatoes.
  9. *The frozen tomatoes will last over the winter, fry off as desired.
Total Time: 2 Hours

Citations and Further Readings:

  • Braman, Lisa. "The Surprising Origins of Fried Green Tomatoes." Smithsonian. Smithsonian, 6 Aug. 2010. Web.


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