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Mama's Fried Green Tomatoes

Updated on February 23, 2014
DonnaCSmith profile image

Donna Campbell Smith is a published author, freelance writer, and photographer. She also specializes in horses.


Even after Daddy stopped planting a garden, Mama always grew a few tomato plants in the summer. We could hardly wait until the first fruits got big enough to pick green for a dinner of fried green tomatoes. That's right, sometimes that was all we had for dinner - fried green tomatoes. We southerners love our deep fried food, whether it be vegetable or meat. My Mama did "fried" better than anyone I know.

The first secret to her fried green tomatoes was to use old-fashioned variety tomatoes that are acidic. The newer hybrid, low acid tomatoes are not as good to fry, or eat in any form in my opinion. Pick the tomatoes when they are turning light green, not pink. Choose tomatoes about 3-4 inches across and slice them ¼ inch thick.

Dip the slices in scrambled eggs and coat them in salted and peppered flour. Place the breaded slices on a platter and put it in the refrigerator for a few hours. If Mama was planning to cook them for lunch she prepared them in the morning, or for supper she prepared them in the afternoon. This allows the flour to mix with the egg and juices from the tomatoes, melding the flavors and making the coating batter-like.

To cook: heat oil in a frying pan until when you drop in a drop of water it sizzles. Drop in tomato slices - don't crowd them - and cook until golden brown. Turn the slices over and cook the other side until golden brown.

Take the fried tomato slices out of the pan and drain them on a brown paper bag or paper towels. Stack on a clean platter and serve while hot.

This same recipe can be used to fry summer squash and Mama often served them both at the same meal.

Mama used this same roll-in-the-flour method for frying chicken and oysters. The secret is the rest time in the refrigerator that turns the flour mixture into a batter. She rolled fish in cornmeal, but also gave it time in the fridge before frying.

Besides letting the batter form while resting, the work was done ahead, and the mess cleaned up before it was time to cook. In fact Mama had the salad made, and the potatoes peeled, sliced, and waiting in a bowl of water all long before it was time to cook. She made it seem like cooking was a breeze, when in fact she'd done most of the work ahead when no one was looking.

Fried Green Tomatoes and Squash


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    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      I love fried green tomatoes. My mother used to make them a lot like you describe above, but she didn't refrigerate them before frying. She had a garden that must have been easily more than an acre and lots of tomato plants among all the other vegetables and berries.

      I was born and grew up in Wisconsin. My mother was born and grew up there too. I've made fried green tomatoes myself a few times and they always turn out well. I don't think you can ruin them. I like them both crispy green and also just starting to turn.

    • DonnaCSmith profile image

      Donna Campbell Smith 5 years ago from Central North Carolina

      Vitoria, the "scrambled eggs" are not cooked. I guess I should have said "beaten eggs."

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 5 years ago from Peru, South America

      Fried green tomatoes are the best! I haven't had them in ages. Your tips, like how to choose the green tomatoes best for frying, are very helpful. Thanks! Voted up!

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 5 years ago from the Ether

      Mmmm, I love me some fried green tomatoes! They are definitely best when fresh from the garden. :)

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      I make fried green tomatoes every summer, but I've never heard of coating them with scrambled eggs. That's interesting. Do the cooked eggs stay on okay? I'll have to try this! Thanks!

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 5 years ago from America

      Your the second fried tomatoes I read today. They look so good and I love them. I also only fry my chicken in flour, salt and pepper. We fry our fish in cornmeal with a little flour. That was the way I was taught down south. Voted up and shared.

    • elayne001 profile image

      Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      I have so many tomatoes right now and appreciate your recipe for fried green ones. I will give it a try.

    • Deborah Demander profile image

      Deborah Demander 7 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

      I can't wait to try this recipe. I never thought to let the tomatoes rest before trying. Your mama was a smart woman.


    • Michael Shane profile image

      Michael Shane 7 years ago from Gadsden, Alabama

      Love the recipe hub! I had to bookmark this one & will give it a shot your way! Thanks!

    • DonnaCSmith profile image

      Donna Campbell Smith 9 years ago from Central North Carolina

      I picked my first green tomato Sunday and fried it Mama's way. Mmm! Good!

    • profile image

      obxdeborah 9 years ago

      Just thought I would let everyone know that I bought the new Dean brother,s cook book and the Trisha Yearwood book from the add on the page. Both of these books are pretty good. If you can only get one, I would recommend Trisha's. I love a cook book with good stories to go with the recipes and her book doesn't assume that you already know how to cook like a lot of books do.

      Niether have fried green tomatoes but if you do it like DawDaw, you can't go wrong. I'm going to use Louisiana Seasoned Fish Fry when I do mine tonight.

    • commentonthis7 profile image

      commentonthis7 9 years ago

      i love fried green tomates

    • profile image

      Deborah 9 years ago

      The thing about frying green tomatoes is that if you pick the green tomatoes at the beginning of the crop, the rest of the tomatoes have more room to grow and you have bigger, better tomatoes. 'Coarse, the other thing is that they are so darn good!

      We've had fried green maters twice this year!

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 9 years ago from California Gold Country

      I'm going to have to try this-- I don't have as many tomatoes going as I usually do, but usually at the end of the season I have some green ones that are not going to ripen.

      Thanks for the frying tips . Waiting-- that's one reason patience is a virtue. I had a big package of boneless skinless chicken breasts $1.99 a pound I decided to use your frying method-- then i put them in some broth with onion garlic and celery and stuck them in the oven on a low setting for almost two hours.

      We ate two of eight pieces tonight-- and I have a lot of nice tender cooked chicken left over for 3 more meals ($5.50) a great deal.

    • DonnaCSmith profile image

      Donna Campbell Smith 9 years ago from Central North Carolina

      Yeah, you were a picky little eater;o)

    • dineane profile image

      dineane 9 years ago from North Carolina

      I honestly don't remember DauDau cooking fried green tomatoes, but then it's probably because like so many other things I didn't like them as a child but love them now. The fried chicken, on the other one could beat it. Thanks, Mama for the trip down memory lane.

    • profile image

      cvaughn570 9 years ago

      I just love fried green tomatoes!

      If others haven't had them, they should give it a try ;-)

      Nice Work,