Fried green tomatoes are a unique dish that combines nutrition and flavor, and an easy way to sneak some nutrients into any fussy eater’s diet. The dish is prepared frying the tomatoes in about ¼ an inch of oil, in a cast iron skillet. Recipes vary, but some may add bacon or another salty accompaniment to bring out more flavor. A generous pinch of salt is always necessary.
In the more northern parts of the South, fried green tomatoes is usually enjoyed at the end of the Summer, meant to celebrate the end of the tomato growing season. However, in the more southern reaches of the region, in part due to the rise of hydroponic tomato production, the dish can be enjoyed year round.
While many associate the dish with the American South, the origins of fried green tomatoes are not exactly clear. Early recipes for fried green tomatoes can be found dating back to the 1920’s, but the dish did not rise to popularity in the South until the middle of the twentieth century. In an article posted on wvgazettemail.com, writer Susan Maslowski writes that the dish isn’t as authentically Southern as many perceive it to be, and the earliest recipes found in the United States actually hail from the Midwest, with recipes found in cookbooks from the region dating before 1920.
It is now thought that fried green tomatoes rose in popularity, in the South, as a result of Fannie Flagg’s 1987 novel and the subsequent premier of the movie, “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe.” The novel, which is set in Alabama, set off a booming desire for the dish, around the region.
Whether fried green tomatoes are a uniquely Southern dish, or if it has origins elsewhere is up for debate. However, we can all agree that this dish is unique in its own rite, and is a perfect way to fill one’s belly at any time of the year.