Fried green tomatoes & more: 12 old-fashioned & delicious recipes for green tomatoes

Old-fashioned recipes for green tomatoes

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Though often overlooked, green tomatoes have long been a staple ingredient in kitchens around the world, offering a unique tangy flavor that can transform any dish.

This vintage article from 1977 brings together a diverse collection of green tomato recipes, including a few of variations on fried green tomatoes, as well as an assortment of other delightful green tomato dishes.

Don’t let those delicious green tomatoes wither on the vines (1977)

By Martha H Schoeps – Baltimore Sun (Maryland) September 15, 1977

Those firm green tomatoes that are still clinging to the vine are worth their weight in culinary treasures.

This fruit that is usually listed as a vegetable, has many uses ranging from relishes to pie, and then there are those green tomato fanciers who eat them fried.

In “The Complete Book of Pickles and Relishes,” by Leonard Louis Levinson and published by Hawthorn, there is a recipe for Green Tomato Sauce.

At the county fairs around the state, jars of Piccalilli, India Relish, Sweet Green Tomato Pickle Relish, and the like won many prizes.

Homemade green tomatoes preserves in glass jar
Photo by Merinka/Envato

1. Fried green tomatoes recipe, Maryland-style

Hans Metzler, 76, who lives near the Maryland state line, says his family has been frying green tomatoes for breakfast since he was a little boy. Here is how the Metzlers fry their green tomatoes.

Heat bacon drippings in heavy skillet.Wash tomatoes and remove stems. Cut tomatoes in thick slices. Dip tomato slices in flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Fry tomatoes brown on one side and then the other. Serve hot.

In talking with a number of people about frying green tomatoes, we learned that some people like to fry the tomatoes without dipping them in flour. Others said they season theirs with dill weed or oregano.

We have also eaten them when the tomatoes were dipped in beaten egg and then in grated cheese and sauteed in butter.

Homemade fried green tomatoes
Photo by bhofack2/Envato

2. Ham and fried tomatoes

The Pork Industry Group of the National Live Stock & Meat Board sent us this recipe for Ham and Fried Tomatoes.

1 fully-cooked smoked ham slice, cut 3/4-inch thick
4 medium-sized firm green tomatoes
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
Freshly ground pepper
5 1/3 ounces evaporated milk

Place ham slice in large lightly greased heavy frying pan and cook at moderate temperature 14 to 16 minutes, turning occasionally. Place ham slice on hot platter and keep warm.

Cut thin slices from both ends of tomatoes, cut each to crosswise into 3 slices and dredge in flour.

Add enough lard to drippings in frying pan to make 2 tablespoons fat. Pan-fry tomato slices on 1 side and sprinkle with brown sugar. Turn, panfry until lightly browned on second sides, season with salt and pepper and place on platter with ham.

Add evaporated milk to pan drippings and cook slowly, stirring constantly for 3 to 5 minutes or until thickened. Serve sauce with ham slice. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

3. Tomato cocktail pickles

Another most delectable way to use green tomatoes is to pickle them to serve with beer or other beverages. Here is a recipe from Mr. Levinson’s marvelous book.

1 gallon small green tomatoes
1 cup sugar
1-1/2 tablespoons salt
2 or 3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons mixed spices
4 cups water
4 cups vinegar
Small hot peppers
Bay leaves
Mustard seed
Cherry or plum tomatoes are best for this pickle, but tiny regular tomatoes can be used.

Wash, rinse and drain tomatoes. Add sugar, salt, garlic, spices (in bag) and water to vinegar. Simmer 15 minutes.

Pack tomatoes into hot, sterilized jars with 1 head dill (green or dry), 1 (hot) pepper, 1 small bay leaf and 1 teaspoon mustard seed.

Pour hot pickling liquid over tomatoes. Process pints and quarts 30 minutes at simmering, or 15 minutes in boiling water bath. Makes 4 quarts.

Homemade and tasty pickled green tomatoes in the jar
Photo by Shaiith/Envato

4. Green tomato sauce recipe

The recipe for Green Tomato Sauce is fairly simple. It has all sorts of possibilities to fit into an interesting menu.

Try it in a casserole of ham and macaroni, or clams and spaghetti. It can also be served as a dip for apples and cheese, or try it as a dressing for an avocado and citrus salad.

6 pounds green tomatoes
3 pounds onions
1 pound brown sugar
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon mustard
1-1/2 tablespoons salt
1-quart vinegar

Slice tomatoes and onions and put in preserving kettle with seasonings; pour vinegar over all and cook for 4 hours over slow beat, stirring occasionally. Put mixture through sieve, return to kettle and bring to a boil again.

Pour into hot, sterilized jars and seal. Makes about 6 pints.

5. Green tomato mincemeat recipe

An elderly man at the Carroll county farmers market told us he made mincemeat out of green tomatoes. Unfortunately, he couldn’t remember the correct amount of ingredients. “If you know how to make mincemeat that’s all you need to how. Just use green tomatoes,” he concluded.

We were able to get a recipe for green tomato mincemeat from an old Woman’s Day magazine.

7 lbs. green tomatoes
4-1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup ground beef suet
1 package seedless raisins
Grated rind and juice of 1/2 orange
1-1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

Wash and trim tomatoes. Chop fine or force through coarse blade of food chopper. Drain off liquid and cover tomatoes with cold water. Drain again and cover with boiling water Drain well and put in kettle with remaining ingredients.

Bring to boil and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 20 to 25 minutes, or until thick. Pour into hot sterilized jars and seal. Makes about 5 pints, or enough for 3 or 4 pies.

For pie: Put 3 cups mincemeat in pastry-lined 9-inch pie pan. Dot with 1 to 2 tablespoons butter. Adjust top crust and bake in hot oven (425 degrees Fahrenheit) for about 30 minutes.

How to remove tomato skin

The skin of tomatoes is edible and should be cleansed, but need not be removed before the vegetable is served. It you must remove the peel, here are three easy ways to do so.

  • Dip tomato in boiling water for about minute, then in cold water to remove heat.
  • Rub entire surface of the tomato with a dull edge of knife and then pull off peel. No heat required.
  • Hold tomato on fork over flame until peel begins to split.

With any method, do put tomatoes in the refrigerator until just before serving, and then slip off skins; or keep them covered and refrigerated after the peel has been removed.

Fresh raw green tomatoes in a bowl
Photo by sabinoparente/Envato

6. Minnie Pearl’s fried green tomatoes recipe

From The Times (Shreveport, Louisiana) October 9, 1974

To enjoy your green tomatoes, try this recipe from Minnie Pearl, star of the Grand Old Opry radio show, in Nashville, Tennessee back in 1974.

She gave her favorite method for preparing the tomatoes to Phyllis Hanes of the Christian Science Monitor, who published it in her nationally-syndicated newspaper cooking column.

Homemade fried green tomatoes

Fried green tomatoes

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Additional Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 13 minutes


  • 4 green tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon onion salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup coarse yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup bacon fat


  1. Cut tomatoes into thick slices (about 1/2" thick, cut across the width).
  2. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Dip in cornmeal, pressing meal firmly onto slices.
  4. Fry slowly in bacon drippings, adding more fat if needed
  5. Cook until both sides are lightly browned, turning only once.
  6. Drain on paper towels, then serve at once.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 96Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 168mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 1g

Click Americana offers approximate nutrition information as a general reference only, and we make no warranties regarding its accuracy. Please make any necessary calculations based on the actual ingredients used in your recipe, and consult with a qualified healthcare professional if you have dietary concerns.

Very old-fashioned recipes for green tomatoes (1912)

These heirloom recipes are courtesy Mrs W Batterton, in the San Francisco Call (California) October 13, 1912

7. Old-fashioned Fried green tomatoes recipe

Cut green tomatoes in thick slices and soak in salt water for an hour. If there is not time, they may be used without soaking.

Then drain, sprinkle with salt and pepper, dip each slice in beaten egg, roll in sifted bread or cracker crumbs and fry in hot butter until a delicate brown on both sides. Dredge them with powdered sugar. Take up on a hot dish and pour the gravy over them. Serve hot.

8. Stuffed green tomatoes recipe

Wash and drain large, round green tomatoes. Cut a thick slice from the stem end, scoop out the seeds and place in salt water for an hour.

To one pint of bread crumbs add a spoon of finely minced celery or parsley, three tablespoons of soft butter, salt and pepper to taste and enough hot water to moisten. Mix well and fill the tomato cups. Set them in a pan containing a little boiling water, cover and bake slowly for one hour; then remove the cover and brown slightly.

9. Green tomato pies

Peel and slice the tomatoes and pour boiling water over them. Let them stand for a few minutes, then drain. Line a pie tin with nice pastry, fill with the tomatoes, add one-half cup of sugar, one tablespoon of lemon juice, one of water; sprinkle over one teaspoon of flour and dust with cinnamon. Cover with a top crust and bake. A tablespoon of butter cut in bits and added to the pie is an improvement.

10. Green tomato catsup

Seven pounds of green tomatoes chopped fine, four red peppers and one quart of vinegar. Boil together for one and one-half hours. Then add one pound of brown sugar, two tablespoons each of mustard and salt, one tablespoon each of ground allspice and cinnamon and one teaspoon of ground cloves.

Boil for three hours or longer, then seal in cans or bottles.

Basket of green tomatoes - and a few red and a green pepper
Photo by fotodoroga/Envato

11. Green tomato pickles

Slice one peck of green tomatoes and sprinkle them with one cup of salt. Let stand overnight, then pour off the liquid and chop the tomatoes fine. Add five green peppers chopped fine.

Scald two quarts of vinegar with one pint of sugar, put in the tomatoes and peppers one ounce of whole cloves, one tablespoon each of cinnamon and allspice and one grated nutmeg. Let them boil until tender, put in glasses, and when cold, cover with paraffin.

12. Green tomato preserves recipe

For one peck of green tomatoes, allow six pounds of sugar, six lemons, one tablespoon of ginger and one cup of water. Cover the tomatoes with boiling water for five minutes, then drain and slice.

Slice the lemons, removing the seeds; put them with the tomatoes, sugar and ginger into a porcelain kettle, pour over them a cup of water, cover and cook slowly for one and one-half hours. Skim off any scum that rises while boiling.

Remove from fire and let get perfectly cold, then set over again and let simmer gently for one hour longer. Put in jars and keep in a cool place.

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