start with a bowl


Tomatoes – I guess I’m in love

That’s the only reasonable explanation. 

I am in love with tomatoes.  I say this because I have been nurturing a box of green tomatoes for a week or so now. 

It sounds weird, doesn’t it. 

Until a few weeks ago, I had never given green tomatoes a thought.  I’ve seen the movie ‘Fried Green Tomatoes,’ of course, but had never seen them in a store, so I figured they were just a southern thing.  No actually, they are a northern thing.

I happily accepted the box of green tomatoes I was offered – grown lovingly in bales of straw –  but I didn’t want to admit in the moment that I had no idea what I would do with them.  I’m a person who likes to know things and not knowing anything at all about green tomatoes was not a comfortable feeling. 

squirrel-eating-tomato-closeup-tree-91072997In my defense, when I grew tomatoes in my Toronto backyard over the years, I was lucky to get a single tomato -green, red, or otherwise – because the squirrels and raccoons always got to them first. So, I blame them for my ignorance.

As I lugged my box of tomatoes to my apartment, I ran into my superintendent Ralph.  He asked about the box and told me that his grandmother always used to cover her green tomatoes with newspaper and put them in a sunny window to ripen.  Ripen.  That was my first clue. I didn’t know whether green tomatoes were a special variety of tomatoes, or just unripe regular tomatoes.  And now I knew – or at least suspected. 20171019_105726When I got into the apartment I needed somewhere to put the tomatoes and there just happened to be a perfect spot on the radiator under the window.

I turned to Google next, as you do, and learned a lot more.  Apparently tomatoes only turn red if they reach 75°F.  Once the fall hits, 75°F can be elusive, especially in Thunder Bay.  I figured my unripe tomatoes wouldn’t be going bad any time soon, so I did some more research.

On my kitchen shelf was a book about tomatoes.  It had a few recipes for green tomato chutney and salsa, but nothing that really inspired me.  I scoured a few more books and then realized I should just fry them.  I mean they named a book and a movie about it, so they must be good. 

Man, they were.  So good.  I kept it simple.  I coated them with egg and then dredged them in semolina, paprika, and salt. I fried them till they were soft and brown and then I served them with a bit of fresh mozzarella.  Heaven. 

Every day I checked the box in the window, and to my delight and surprise, every day I found more red tomatoes.  My little tomato babies were growing up!  I’ve made a sauce with the red ones and a few more batches of fried green ones.  The box is not nearly as full now.  I might try a fried green tomato tart this afternoon.  We’ll see how the day shapes up.

Green tomatoes

I’ve always known that I loved tomatoes. 

Every August I buy a bushel of San Marzanos and can them so I can have beautiful tomatoes all winter.  But this, this was different.  I discovered and explored a whole new kind of tomato and I did my utmost to help them reach their tomato destiny.


Amy • October 19, 2017

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