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Pick The Green Tomatoes
Sep 28, 2011
By Katie Hunhoff
Exploring our state’s mountains, waters and prairie is fun, but we’ve also found good stories in people’s kitchens. South Dakota Magazine editors have dined on everything from cactus to buffaloberries.
A few years ago, we wrote about green tomatoes and our readers quickly responded with comments and their own recipes. First of all, we heard that green tomatoes — like lutefisk and barbecued goat meat — should always be stored in a dumpster. Others maintained that the only good tomato is a red tomato; they shared a hundred ripening methods involving cardboard boxes, paper bags, mixing with bananas or hanging an entire uprooted vine in the garage.
But the majority of our readers expressed affection for green tomatoes. In fact, a sub-culture of sorts is developing. Longtime Brookings radio host Grant Peterson is a big promoter of frying them in batter. Faith historian Irean Jordan (her father, incidentally, was a famed wolf hunter a century ago) insists that they make the best jelly you’ll ever eat.
In a blind taste test, you’d probably never recognize green tomatoes as being in the tomato family. They are more acidic, firm and tart – calling for completely different recipes than ripe tomatoes. Still, they are nutritionally equal. The green ones have just as many nutrients and beta carotenes as the reds.
Green Tomato Pie
We received this pie recipe from Dolores Feilmeier of rural Yankton:
Pastry for two-crust pie
Six cups sliced green tomatoes
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon
1⁄4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1⁄4 cup lemon juice
Line nine-inch pie pan with pastry crust. Peel and thinly slice green tomatoes. Combine sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. In another bowl, combine lemon peel (which she seldom uses) and lemon juice. Arrange tomatoes in layers in pie shell, sprinkling each layer with sugar and lemon mixtures. Dot with butter.
For top crust, roll reserved pastry dough on lightly floured surface 1⁄4 inch thick. Cut into strips, 10 x 1⁄2 inch. Arrange in lattice pattern over filling, moisten edges to seal strips.
Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Then reduce oven to 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes until tomatoes are tender and crust is brown.
*Delores says she usually uses a crumb crust on top of the pie. Our food editor used a crumb crust and a refrigerated store crust. She also omitted the nutmeg and cloves and substituted a teaspoon of cinnamon.
Green Tomato Jelly
Irean Jordan of Faith stopped making any other jelly after acquiring this recipe several years ago. “You too will love it,” she wrote. “It’s not green, but a bright sparkling red and the flavor is superb!”
6 cups chopped green tomatoes
5 cups sugar
1 double or 2 small boxes of raspberry Jell-O
Boil tomatoes and sugar for 20 minutes. Turn off burner and add Jell-O. Stir until dissolved. Pour into sterilized jars and enjoy!