Meatless Monday: Got Green Tomatoes? Here’s What to Do
I picked the last of my tomatoes last week. Picking the last tomatoes—mostly green ones—and pulling up the plants is the first step to tucking in my garden beds for the winter.
While I’ve grown vegetables in my back yard since the late 1980s, I didn’t learn until maybe 15 years ago about what to do with all the green tomatoes, besides using them as compost. As much as I love fried green tomatoes, one can only eat so many of them.
Fortunately I learned that green tomatoes ripen nicely indoors. It’s easy. I place them in paper bags in a single layer, fold the tops of the bags over and place them in a cool, dry place—my kitchen cabinets. A basement storage room would also work nicely. Check them every few days. Some will ripen more quickly than others. I tend to put the fruits that have begun to color together in one bag, and check them more often.
When your tomatoes have ripened, while they are never going to be as tasty as vine-ripened summer tomatoes, they can still work well for roasting, for sauces or for both (sauce made from roasted tomatoes). And they are infinitely tastier than winter tomatoes you can buy at the grocery store. I freeze my roasted tomatoes and sauce to use in winter soups and stews.
If you’ve never tried fried green tomatoes, now is the time, while you have a supply. Fried green tomatoes are very simple and incredibly flavorful. Here’s how:
3-4 green tomatoes, sliced 1/2″ t0 3/4″ thick
1/2 cup cornmeal
3-4 T oil or ghee (coconut oil might be a nice choice here)
salt and black pepper
Mix together the cornmeal, 1/2 t salt and a few grindings of freshly ground black pepper onto a plate. Heat the oil or ghee in a wide skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, dredge the tomato slices in the cornmeal mixture and add to the pan. I like to press a little extra cornmeal onto the tops of the tomato slices before I add them to the pan. Fry on one side until done to your liking, then flip over and fry the other side. Sprinkle with a little more fresh-ground pepper.
I like these plain, but you can add them to sandwiches, serve them with a little mayo or add some fresh herbs. Most recently, as in the photo, I enjoyed them with a garlicky sauté featuring the last of my lacinato kale harvest. I’ll share that recipe sometime soon. Enjoy!