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Fried Green Tomatoes After First Frost

Updated on September 18, 2015
Patsybell profile image

I inherited my love of gardening from mother and grandmother. I am a garden blogger, freelance writer, and Master Gardener emeritus.

Easy appetizer or side dish

Pick green tomatoes before the frost. They are the perfect way to use tomatoes that do not have time to ripen.
Pick green tomatoes before the frost. They are the perfect way to use tomatoes that do not have time to ripen. | Source

Fried Green Tomatoes

A friend, clearly not a gardener, asked for this recipe in the summer. "Are you nuts?" I said. " No self respecting gardener sacrifices a good tomato to make fried green tomatoes in the summer!" Fried green tomatoes are fall food. They are what you do with tomatoes that haven't ripened by the first killer frost of the season.

This friend was an Eastern Transplant, not familiar with Midwest or Southern culture and cuisine. I also had to introduce him to tomato sandwiches this year. "You mean without bacon?," he said with trepidation.

Now, after the first frost, is the time for fried green tomatoes, green tomato relish and such.

Prepare fried green tomatoes like you do fried Okra. Slice, dip in a milk and egg wash and then in cornmeal. There are a million variations, but this basic recipe will get you started on a seasonal treasure from your garden. Your final reward, so to speak.

What's all the excitement about fried green tomatoes? It's just another Southern Fried food, and frankly I'm surprised it hasn't shown up at the carnivals or fairs yet. It's way better than fried pickles or fried cheese.

Uncle Ed say, “Well you know how to fry catfish, don't cha? Well it's the same thing, dip the tomato slices in milk and eggs. Then pat fish fry mix (flour, cornmeal, salt, pepper) on both sides”.

Deep fry, pan fry, or, oven “fry”

The cafe in Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café is modeled after Irondale Cafe in Birmingham, AL. Novelist Fannie Flagg said her great-aunt operated Irondale Cafe for almost 40 years.

If it weren't for the book Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, I believe this recipe would have remained a Southern delicacy. Just like fried pie.

Use any green tomato

Paste tomatoes work well for fried tomatoes because they are not so juicy.
Paste tomatoes work well for fried tomatoes because they are not so juicy. | Source

Recipe Fried Green Tomatoes

There are two reasons a home cook prepares Fried Green Tomatoes.

  1. At the height of summer tomato production, some tomatoes are removed from the plant to keep the weight of the tomatoes from breaking the vine. (Not that I am bragging, but I had to do this twice this summer.)

  2. At the end of the tomato season, just before the first frosts hit the garden, all tomatoes are picked. Any tomatoes with a hint of color will be left to ripen slowly on the counter. Then, “waste not want not” happens. The most popular way of using up green tomatoes are fried green tomatoes, and green tomato relish.

If you must have a recipe :

3 or 4 large green tomatoes – slice, unpeeled to about 1/3” thick

2 eggs

½ cup milk – whisk egg and milk, or egg and buttermilk set aside.

1 cup of flour - on a plate

1 teaspoons of salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper – mix salt and pepper into flour mixture

½ cup each cornmeal and cracker crumbs on a plate. - Mix in any proportion you want to get a total of 1 cup dry mixture. (I like more cornmeal, less crumbs.)


¼ teaspoon thyme, or oregano, or dash of cayenne pepper powder – mix one or all into flour .

2 cups of vegetable oil - pour in heavy skillet over medium heat.

Dip tomatoes into the flour, then in the milk/egg mixture, and then in the cornmeal/cracker crumbs mixture. Press coating mixture onto tomato. Fry in hot oil, making sure tomatoes do not touch each other. Brown, turn once and brown the other side. Drain on paper towels.

If you want a dipping sauce, try a bit of spaghetti sauce or Ranch dressing.

Top this with that

Do you like a dipping sauce with your fried green tomatoes?

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Submit a Comment

  • Patsybell profile imageAUTHOR

    Patsy Bell Hobson 

    3 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

    Thelma Alberts, Thank you for reading my Hubs. If you can not find green tomatoes, you can use very firm traditional tomatoes.

  • Thelma Alberts profile image

    Thelma Alberts 

    3 years ago from Germany and Philippines

    I have not tried eating fried green tomatoes. This sounds delicious. I have to try that when I see green tomatoes in the shops. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  • Patsybell profile imageAUTHOR

    Patsy Bell Hobson 

    3 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

    ChitrangadaSharan Thank you. Fried green tomatoes is typically a southern United States recipe. You could also prepare summer squash in the same way.

  • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

    Chitrangada Sharan 

    3 years ago from New Delhi, India

    This sounds interesting and delicious! Your combination of ingredients looks different and I would love to try it this way.

    Thanks for sharing the details!

  • Patsybell profile imageAUTHOR

    Patsy Bell Hobson 

    4 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

    Everyone I've met who is from Texas, is a good cook. I like your fried green tomato recipe. Simple is best. Thank you for the recipe.

  • Au fait profile image

    C E Clark 

    4 years ago from North Texas

    My mother used to go to the trouble you do in this recipe of yours and they were yummy, but like I said, I am lazy. Always looking for shortcuts in the kitchen.

    I like my tomatoes when they are just barely starting to turn. I slice them thin, swish them around in a small bowl of flour so they're well coated, and then put then in a frying pan with olive oil that is already heated up, salt and pepper them to taste, cover them, let cook for a few minutes, turn them and salt and pepper them again, and let cook a few more minutes so they're browned and a little crisp on both sides, and tender. Then consider them gone. They're so good, my husbands all loved them, as do I, just this simple way.

    I think your way is delicious and yummy too, and if anyone is willing to make them for me I'll eat them up in a snap, but alas, I am too lazy to go to all that work . . . yes, I know it isn't that much more work, and so that should tell you just how lazy I am. :)

  • Patsybell profile imageAUTHOR

    Patsy Bell Hobson 

    4 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

    Au fait, I hope you will share your recipe. It sounds worthy of a hub. Thanks for your comments. I appreciate you reading my hubs.

  • Au fait profile image

    C E Clark 

    4 years ago from North Texas

    Well, I'm not a southerner nor was my mother, but she sure made wonderful fried green tomatoes and now I do it myself, as do my sisters, when we can get our hands on some. The local Walmart sometimes gets green tomatoes in and I get a bag full of them when they do.

    Never heard of okra before coming to Texas. I like it fried in restaurants, but I'm too lazy to prepare it myself. I do buy it canned and put it in my soup sometimes. Once I discovered it I loved it.

    It's almost time for green tomatoes again! :)

  • Patsybell profile imageAUTHOR

    Patsy Bell Hobson 

    5 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

    Au fait ,Thanks for the comment. Fans of fried green tomatoes and fried okra are devoted. People either love 'em or hate 'em. There seems to be no middle ground. If I can find enough small okra, I also like pickled okra. It has to be small and tender.

  • Au fait profile image

    C E Clark 

    5 years ago from North Texas

    I love fried green tomatoes! My mother always made them and I have made them when I get lucky and find them in the produce section of the grocery store. (My mother had a huge garden every year, 1-2 acres.) The cashier usually thinks I'm crazy buying a bag full of green tomatoes -- if I can find that many. I love okra too, and I've had it fried in restaurants, but never tried to fry it myself.

    Voted up, useful, and will share!

  • Patsybell profile imageAUTHOR

    Patsy Bell Hobson 

    8 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

    Prepare fried green tomatoes like you do okra. See, only a Southerner would know how to do that.


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