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I can’t remember the first time I made green tomato pickles, or why.  It might have been 10-15 years ago, but I make them in some form or another almost every autumn.  I usually make green tomato mincemeat (my great-grandmother’s recipe) every fall, too.

They can be sweet or not, and they are simple & good, either way.  This year I made them a little sweet.

Use 2 or 3 medium green tomatoes and slice them into medium wedges.  In a cooking pan combine 2-1/2 cups of water, a cup of white vinegar and 2 tbsp of salt. Boil altogether with a tbsp of pickling spice, 1/4 cup of sugar and some skinned & sliced fresh ginger, not quite as big as your thumb.  Or probably more accurately, my thumb.

Now place the green tomatoes, 1/2  a thinly sliced, small purple onion and the pickling liquid in a non-reactive container (that means non-aluminum).  Use stainless steel, pyrex/glass or ceramic.  Allow it all to come to room temperature & then refrigerate, submerged under a small plate & covered with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate & forget about it for a few days, and then you will have a tart-sweet traditional pickle that will make all your meals special.  This pickle will remain sound & good for 2 weeks in your refrigerator without heat-canning.  Good luck, if you and yours can make it last for that long.

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And now for a real country food favorite- but  I make it in the city too.  You’ve heard of Fried Green Tomatoes-  “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe,” a novel by Fannie Flagg, appeared 1987.  It was so popular it was made into a movie simply called Fried Green Tomatoes, starring Jessica Tandy.  You can read the novel (which I haven’t) or see the movie (which I recommend highly); but make this dish from classic American cookery regardless.  There’s nothing easier, so don’t be intimidated if you’ve never tried to make it before.  I was in my 40’s the first time I made it, because no one in my family had made it when we were growing up.  It doesn’t matter if you call them to-MAY-toes or to-MAH-toes.  Let’s call the whole thing on.

Get you some cornmeal and a little cajun spice, if you have it.  You could season a generous 1/2 cup of blue, yellow or white cornmeal with 1 tsp of cajun seasoning, Old Bay or just a little salt and pepper to taste.  It would be hard to mess up the dredge- spread it out on a plate or a pie pan, and then beat your egg in a separate bowl, maybe with a splash of tabasco.  Heat 1/4 to 1/2 cup of vegetable oil in a heavy 9″ skillet over medium-high heat until it is shimmering-hot, and season it with a spoonful of bacon fat if that sounds good to you.  (Or just make it all bacon drippings if that sounds even better to you, or if you want to make this very regionally authentic.)

Cut up one (or more) gorgeous, firm green tomato into about 1/2″ slices – dip in the egg and then dredge in the seasoned cornmeal.  Carefully allow the dipped and dredged tomato slices to repose in the hot fat & turn over only after they have become irresistibly brown- this is probably no longer than a minute or 2.  Repeat for as many slices of green tomato as you have.  Don’t deep fry these.

These require no other kind of condiment- fried green tomatoes are like bananas- they are a perfect food.

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