Whether it’s a good book or a movie, in your checking account towards the end of the month, for life: it’s always there depending on what’s on your mind. After re-watching the heartwarming 1991 film “Fried green Tomatoes,” you’re left with a few things. It’s about humanity, tolerance and love, and about the great taste of fried green tomatoes. This classic Southern snack is served by the two main characters of the movie, Idgie and Ruth, at the Whistle Stop Cafe.
When something gets stuck in the garden, it’s because it’s not ripe. Depending on the weather, tomatoes can grow in abundance in August, but in autumn they no longer turn red because it is very cold. October has been particularly warm this year, and the tomato season has been delayed a bit, even in the home garden there were the last fruits this week; Erich Stekovics, Austria’s best-known tomato farmer, also harvests outdoors until December. But some things definitely don’t turn red anymore, and the unripe fruits often end up in the compost at the end of the season. It’s a shame, because you can still produce something delicious in the kitchen with green tomatoes.
First variation: Give green tomatoes a home in a warm room. Choose hard, green balls and dry them well. Then you prepare a warm bed for them, preferably in a cardboard box lined with newspapers (unfortunately with the digital edition of SZ this is not possible because the limits of the transformation process have been reached). Speaking of ripening: At room temperature, tomatoes ripen in just a few days. An apple in a tomato box speeds up the process. Cracked and rotten tomatoes should be removed, as rot is contagious.
Second variation: Process and eat green tomatoes. It can be overwhelming at first, because unripe fruit vegetables don’t taste as good as the deep red tomatoes you pick off the bush in the midsummer sun. Tomatoes also contain solanine, a toxic alkaloid. The substance is mainly in the green parts of the plant. Small amounts are not dangerous for adults, symptoms of poisoning would only appear if you eat more than 600 grams of raw green tomatoes. However, they do not taste very good raw, they are slightly bitter and sour.
Green tomatoes are more edible fried, pickled or boiled. To make a Whistle Stop Café hot bite, you need four large unripe tomatoes, cut into thumb-sized pieces. Mix an egg with milk. Mix two tablespoons of cornmeal with salt, a little sugar and pepper. Dip the fillets first in the egg mixture, then in the cornmeal and fry in a hot pan with plenty of oil until browned on both sides. Serve with sour cream and crispy fried bacon.
Larger quantities of unripe tomatoes can be cooked into a chutney. When preparing, make sure to remove the tough stem, as it contains a particularly high amount of solanine. Depending on your preference, you can make sweet and sour chutney – with onions and apples. Or spicy – with chilli, ginger and garlic. Seasoned with cumin, coriander seeds, curry and mustard seeds, on the other hand, goes more in the Indian direction. In Ayurvedic cuisine, tomato chutney with prunes or dates is considered to have a harmonizing and digestive effect. Chutneys have fascinating properties that combine all tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, even spicy and salty.
Five or six large jars of chutney require two to three kilos of tomatoes. There are also some red and semi-red tomatoes that are good for flavor and consistency. Unripe tomatoes go well with fallen fruits, such as unripe apples and plums, but also with dried dates. Wash fruit and vegetables thoroughly, remove rotten areas, stems, apple cores and plum stones. Cut everything into small cubes or slices. Peel and finely chop four onions, five cloves of garlic and a large head of fresh ginger. Saute garlic and ginger in sunflower oil, then add onion, tomato, apple or other fruits. Stir in the mustard seeds, coriander seeds, chilli and a pinch of turmeric. Pour half a liter (mild) of apple cider vinegar, add 750 grams of sugar and mix well. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for two hours.
When the chutney turns viscous and reddish brown, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. If necessary, refine with balsamic vinegar and chili flakes. It is best to fill freshly sterilized and still hot Weck jars, invert the jars and let them cool. This way the chutney will keep for months without any problems, until the barbecue season starts again next spring. Tomato chutney goes well with grilled poultry, vegetables and curry dishes, and is also perfect with rice and red dal (vegan lentil curry). Caution: Chutney can be addictive, but you shouldn’t eat too much because it still has enough solanine.