Until Fannie Flagg’s novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café was published in 1987 and made into a movie four years later, many folks had no idea a green tomato could even be eaten, let alone why, or how.
But generations of older rural Americans, especially in the South and Midwest, knew that firm, pleasantly tart green tomatoes were excellent not only fried, but pickled, preserved, served as a side or as part of a main dish, and made into pies, sweet breads and cake.
Unlike juicy red tomatoes, a green tomato is firm, crisp, dry and tart. As a result, their cooking applications are completely different from those of red tomatoes. They hold up to heat, behaving more like an apple than a tomato. So stop wishing those tomatoes would ripen; use them in one of these recipes where their unique qualities shine.
By Crescent Dragonwagon, a food writer in Saxtons River, Vt.