The Basics: Green Tomatoes

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Cooking Essentials

The Profile

Green Tomatoes

In the late 1880’s recipes for fried green tomatoes began surfacing in northern based newspapers. The loosely constructed instructions were presented to readers as solutions to a problem many gardeners faced when threat of the first frost of the season loomed– What can I do with the unripened fruit still on the vine? Savvy cooks & gardeners of the day picked the tart tomatoes & fried them to prevent food waste. Although recipes continued to pop up in newspapers & magazines throughout the 20th century, including those located in the south, fried green tomatoes didn’t really become popular as a southern food until Fannie Flagg’s book Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe was released as a film in 1992. 

 Fried green tomatoes are a culinary marvel & may be used as a backdrop to showcase other local flavors region by region. You’ll find them topped, slathered & stacked with anything from goat cheese, shrimp, blackberry preserves & pimiento cheese to pork belly, bacon & barbecue. What began as a humble side dish & a gardeners solution to using up the last of the tomato crop just before the first frost of the season has become the backbone to the ultimate summer culinary canvas. While they may not have originated in the south, we have certainly embraced, even nurtured many of their distinctively southern attributes claiming them as our own. Over the next several days, drop in daily for many delicious ways to enjoy green tomatoes.

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How To Harvest & Use Green Tomatoes

A variety of green tomato styles may be used for many recipe applications in the kitchen. Green cherry tomatoes such as Sunsugar & Sweet 100’s offer a tart counterbalance when served together in salads or with appetizers like Fresh Herb Goat Cheese & Tomato-Basil Bruschetta. However, fried green tomatoes, most notably prepared with slicing tomatoes such as Beefsteak or Better Boy, have long been the favorite way to enjoy them during the summertime. 

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Green tomatoes should be harvested before the color begins to change. They should feel undoubtedly firm & not have any give when pressed. A key indictor as to when to pick them from the vine is to look to the other fruit as your signal. Those turning will be growing next to those that have not. Once indoors, rinse the green tomatoes under cool water. Use a serrated utility knife in order to slice & prepare them over a stable cutting board for a variety of recipe applications.

 The Tune
“Summertime” Billie Holiday

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About Rebecca Gordon

* Southern Born * Southern Bred * Tailgate Queen * Football Fanatic * Buttermilk Lipstick Culinary & Entertaining Techniques Instructor * Cooking & Baking Tutorials * Media Personality * Baking & Pastry Artist * Gardener * Runner * Retainer of Useless Pop Culture One Liners * Terrible Dancer * Even Worse Singer * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Rebecca Gordon shares over 20 years of cooking knowledge in the instructional filled original editorial content on Buttermilk Lipstick as well as the cooking class format videos that can be found on her YouTube channel through regular collaboration with numerous media outlets. Gordon draws from an extensive background in corporate publishing spanning over 13 years on both the business and editorial side focusing on women’s southern lifestyle. She is a classically trained pastry chef and draws from fine dining restaurant experience from a James Beard award winning chef as well as her southern roots upbringing to share cooking, entertaining & style content relevant to today’s modern woman.

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