Tomatoes: The Gateway Vegetable - Live Like a Mensch
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Tomatoes: The Gateway Vegetable

Each spring, I go through the same exercise in self-delusion that I have taken part in since I read The Secret Garden when I was ten: disregarding 30+ years of evidence to the contrary, I decide that this year I will finally access my inner Earth Mother and grow all of my own organic food which I will then can, jar, preserve and bake into whole-wheat crust pies, thereby saving money, improving my carbon footprint and making my family's diet healthier.  I truly believe that this will happen, despite the fact that J and I are such city slickers that we refused to eat the Concord grapes growing in happy profusion in our backyard for fear that they were poisonous and despite the fact that I have a habit of killing nearly any plant that comes within a 5-mile radius of me.  (I tend to forget to do important plant maintenance procedures, like watering them).

This year, J made the unilateral decision that we would only plant a few things in our little backyard garden.  We've had some luck in the past with tomatoes and peppers so those were no-brainers, and since I've been known to inhale entire melons in one sitting, he decided to add a few cantaloupes to our bounty. 

From that modest garden, we ended up with a single living tomato plant.  That got off to a late start.

But gardeners who know what they're doing call tomatoes the gateway vegetable for a reason.  Once you've enjoyed a delicious and perfectly red tomato still warm from the summer sun over your own backyard and dressed with nothing more than a pinch of salt and pepper, you can never go back to the pallid mushiness the grocery stores pass off as tomatoes.

There weren't nearly enough of the gorgeous red tomatoes to suit either of us, and as we have passed into November, it's become clear that many of the green tomatoes would not be able to ripen here in Indiana in this weather.  So, I decided to fry me some green tomatoes.


I used this recipe from Simply Recipes because it impressed me as being authentically Southern and because it was the first hit on Google for the serch term "Fried Green Tomatoes" that wasn't a link to IMDB.


I found that even working with underripe homegrown tomatoes was a delight.  Just look how beautiful they are!


The recipe got a fabulous crisp coating on the tomatoes, but there was a little something lacking flavor wise.  We have plenty more green tomatoes, so I will try this again and tweak the spices to add a little more flavor.


Since I was serving this to company, I had the Goldfish crackers to hedge my bets in case the tomatoes were lousy.  Luckily, we didn't need the crackers.

The last time I ate fried green tomatoes at a diner, I was offered a buttermilk ranch to dip them in, so I might try that with the next batch as well.  (As you may recall, part of my commitment to gardening is healthy eating, and I can't imagine anything healthier than double crusted fried tomatoes with ranch sauce.  Ahem.)

What do you do with your green tomatoes?



Gary said:

I always thought that fried green tomatoes was a 'girl thing' - guess I must be missing something (because I never met a fried meal that I didn't enjoy!)

November 4, 2011 9:47 AM

Emily Guy Birken said:

I blame the movie for the girl thing feeling about fried green tomatoes.  It's a quality film, but definitely a chick flick.  Not to worry, real fried green tomatoes are artery-clogging and substantial enough for the manliest of palates.

November 4, 2011 2:24 PM

Live Like a Mensch said:

Ever since the first time I read The Secret Garden when I was about 10, I've yearned to be a mother

March 26, 2012 4:58 PM

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