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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!


12:21 pm - Thu, September 29 2011
Elayne said:
I've made Green Tomato Jam for several years. Don't tell the kids there are green tomatoes in it, because they won't love it "any more". I've also used strawberry jello(although raspberry is my favorite). It will go lickety-split at a church bazaar; have some crackers and a sampling jar, and the jars will be gone before you know it.
01:19 pm - Thu, September 29 2011
Fran said:
I made the green tomato pie and really enjoyed it. Tart like rhubarb, but cozy with cinnamon. Yum. I should make another this year.
07:04 am - Fri, September 30 2011
Laura said:
If my garden survives blight, bugs and hail next year, I will have to try these.
09:30 am - Tue, October 4 2011
Just Call Me Joe said:
Fried green tomatoes aren't a bad side dish at the dinner table - my method is simple - washed, sliced wet, flour both sides, fry in preheated oil, maybe 300 degrees or so. When both sides are browned, put on a paper towel to drain and cool. Serve with salt and pepper.
09:00 pm - Tue, November 8 2011
Joyce Anderson Nokleby said:
The local West Central (MN) Trib ran a Green Tomato Pie recipe. I clipped it out and after reading it over and over, decided we could try it. People use zucchini to make 'mock apple pie' so why not green tomatoes?
I grew Romas, so just before our last frost in October, I finished picking them all. Took it one step further and decided to prep slice 1/2 inch and then water bath can them to use later this winter. I water bath can my apples, pears, peaches, cherries, etc in white grape or apple juice. So used apple juice with the tomatoes. Pretended they were apples and they sure are pretty, all ready to roll out crust and use. Will just add apple pie spice and a few other favorites flavors (lots of cinnamon!) and use the many ways we eat garden apples.l
02:25 pm - Wed, October 10 2012
Scott said:
Green Tomato-Blueberry Jam
5 Cups Blueberries (stemmed)
4 Large Green Tomatoes
1-1/2 Cups Water
5 Cups Sugar
3 (1.75 Oz.) Packages of Fruit Pectin
1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Pulse blueberries and tomatoes in a blender or a food processor 3 or 4 times or until mixture is almost smooth.
Cook blueberry/tomato mixture, 1-1/2 cups water and sugar in a Dutch Oven over medium heat stirring constantly until sugar is completely dissolved.
Stir in fruit pectin and the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil stirring constantly for 5 minutes or until the mixture thickens.
Pour hot mixture into hot jars filling to 1/4" from the top. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rims and cover right away with lids and bands.
Process in boiling water bath 10 minutes.

5 cups frozen blueberries thawed may be substituted.

02:29 pm - Wed, October 10 2012
Scott said:
The green tomatoes in the above recipe should be coarsely chopped.
05:41 pm - Tue, September 22 2015
Rhonda McVay said:
I recently made a green tomato and apple pie....tasted so awesome. Also make green tomato jam. Equally awesome.

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