Okay, I give up. Many of my tomatoes just aren’t going to ripen this year. Plan B is to make fried green tomatoes and to ripen the rest off the vine. This week I took some big steps toward mentally preparing myself for the impending winter. I packed away my summer clothes, most of which I didn’t even wear this year. I also picked green tomatoes — the ones that have been stubbornly hanging on the vine without any intention of ripening. If it hasn’t been warm enough to wear shorts, my tomatoes certainly aren’t going to ripen. That’s not to say I haven’t had some ripe tomatoes this summer — the Stupice variety hasn’t seemed to mind the unusually cool weather nearly as much as I have.
To make fried green tomatoes, you should use the ones that are bright green with no blush at all. These are the least likely to ripen on their own or with a little help (I’ll describe my ripening method below).
Fried Green Tomatoes
Green tomatoes, sliced – figure about 1 tomato per person
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup breadcrumbs or cornmeal
1 large egg
1 T whole milk
Salt & pepper
Wash and slice green tomatoes about 1/2 inch thick. Sprinkle with salt & pepper.
Arrange 3 shallow bowls or plates, 1 with flour, another with egg whisked with milk and the third with breadcrumbs or cornmeal. ( I prefer breadcrumbs. I tried a coarse cornmeal this time and thought they were too crunchy for my taste).
Dip each slice first in flour, then in the egg/milk mixture and finally in breadcrumbs or cornmeal, covering both sides with each.
Place 1/2 inch olive oil in frying pan and heat over medium-high heat.
Using tongs, place each tomato slice in the hot oil until you fill the frying pan leaving a little room around each slice.
Fry 2 – 3 minutes until golden brown on the first side, turn over and fry second side.
Remove from oil and place on a tray or plate lined with paper towels to drain.
I made a simple appetizer using fried green tomatoes, a round of Port Madison goat cheese, a slice of ripe tomato, topped with basil.
Or make a BLGT — a bacon, lettuce, tomato sandwich with a fried green tomato and a round of goat cheese. Yum!!
If you want to try to extend the season and give your green tomatoes a second chance, place them in a paper bag or cardboard box with a ripe apple or banana. Krista has had good luck with putting her tomatoes in a cardboard box lined with newspaper, separating each layer with more newspaper and an apple per layer, making two or three layers. Close the bag or box, and store in a cool dark place. Check back often, every day or so, removing the tomatoes as they turn red. Given enough space and time, you’d be surprised how well they’ll ripen using this method. Unless your tomatoes are almost completely red on the vine, placing them in a sunny window doesn’t seem to work nearly as well.
I know, it’s sad to say good-bye to tomatoes after such a short season. If you’re more organized or motivated than I’ve been this year, you may have a freezer full of tomato sauce or soup. Just remember to invite me over when you pull them out in the dead of winter … pretty please.