Fried Green Tomato’s And Grandma’s Green Tomato Chow Chow Relish

Fall will soon be upon us. Our gardens may be filled with green tomato’s. You can always use some of them up by serving up fried green tomato’s. Still you may want to consider making Chow Chow {green tomato relish}.

Wait! Don’t turn up your nose and say ‘yuk’ until you have tried them! They taste great, a good way to use up excess tomato’s. Many people prepare them the same way they would prepare squash or egg plant for pan frying.

Fried Green Tomato’s

They taste great, a good way to use up excess tomato’s. Many people prepare them the same way they would prepare squash or egg plant for pan frying.

I stole this idea from an Italian sidewalk cafe in far northern Italy, Lake Como area, whether it be fried green tomato’s, okra, squash or egg plant, grate a little ‘real’ Parmesan cheese on them just before serving. {Don’t even think about using that stuff in a can, doing a bad imitation of Parmesan cheese}.

3 medium, firm green tomatoes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup milk
2 beaten eggs
2/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs or cornmeal {Being from the Southwest, I like cornmeal}
1/4 cup olive oil (canola oil if you prefer}
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Cut unpeeled tomatoes into 1/2 inch slices. Sprinkle slices with salt and pepper. {Important Step} Let tomato slices stand for 45 minutes or more to drain excess water. Meanwhile, place flour, milk, eggs, and cornmeal/bread crumbs in separate shallow dishes.

Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. Dip tomato slices in milk, then flour, then eggs, then cornmeal/bread crumbs. In the skillet, fry half of the coated tomato slices at a time, for 4 to 6 minutes on each side or until golden brown. As you cook the rest of the tomatoes, add olive oil as needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Grate a little ‘real’ Parmesan cheese on them just before serving.


This is the way my grandma and mother did it, and of course it’s the way I fry them green tomato’s.


fresh green tomatoes
flour, cornmeal or 1/2 flour and corn meal mix
Lard (vegetable oil)

Slice tomatoes about 1/4 to 3/8 inch thick. Spread on plate. Sprinkle salt evenly over tomatoes. Continue placing tomato slices in layer over previous layer and sprinkle with salt until all tomatoes have been salted. IMPORTANT: Let tomato’s set at room temperature about 4 hours. This removes water from tomatoes so that they will cook up nice and crispy.

Remove tomatoes from container, rinse off excess salt. Mix flour / cornmeal mix, with a little salt and pepper (to taste) in bowl. Coat each tomato slice with flour/corn meal. Let them sit 15 to 20 minutes.

Heat lard(oil) in a skillet to medium high. Place tomatoes in oil. (Reduce heat as necessary). Let tomatoes brown on one side, then turn and brown on the other. When tomatoes are a golden brown, remove one at a time and place on paper towels to drain.
Serve while still warm from your frying pan.


Chow Chow

This comes from my great grand mother’s recipe note book. She had little formal education and her hand written notes are at best a bit cryptic. Sometimes she used terms, plants, herbs and spices that we are not sure just what she was talking about. I’m sure many of them are wild plants that she harvested.

Back to my recipe problem. The best we {all of us kids, when I say kids – I’m the oldest and I’m 65} can tell this is her Green Tomato Chow Chow recipe. Those of you not from the south, chow chow is a name used in association with sweet green tomato based relish.

Grandma’s CHOW CHOW
1 peck (1/4 bushel) green tomatoes about {12 or 15 pounds}
5 lbs. strong flavored yellow onions
1 large head of cabbage chopped
5 lbs. sugar
5 red hot chili peppers {you need at least 2 of these and more if you like your chow chow hot and spicy}
2+ cups chopped sweet green bell peppers (about 4) {I like more as many as 6}
2+ cups chopped sweet red bell peppers (about 4) {add 6 if you like the red bell peppers}
2 to 5 tablespoons mustard seed
1 tablespoon turmeric
3 or 4 tablespoons celery seed
1 package of pickling spices
About 1 qt. of cider vinegar

Slice or dice tomatoes and sprinkle with 1 cup salt, place them in a clean old white pillowcase and hang them from a close line pole over night. {This will remove most of the green tomato juice from your bag of sliced green tomato’s} I’ll bet wrapping your sliced tomato’s in cheese cloth would work just as well.

Chop all vegetables and combine in a large kettle. Stir in salt, let stand at room temperature overnight, or at least 8 hours. Drain well.

In the morning rinse and drain green tomato’s and other vegetables only once. Using a meat grinder, {or course chop by hand} coarse grind tomatoes, onions, peppers. In a large pot, add sugar, spices to mixture. Add enough vinegar to almost cover. Cook uncovered over a very low fire for 4 hours. Adding additional vinegar as necessary.

Fill hot sterilized 1 pint canning jars to 1/2 inch from the top. Process in water bath and seal. Makes 8 to 10 pints. Note: Sterilize jars in a boiling water bath insuring jars are completely covered with water.

Process in a boiling water bath for 15 to 20 minutes. Allow jars to cool over night. Check to insure all jars sealed properly. Any jar that did not properly seal should be refrigerated and consumed with in a week or so.

Not from the USA. Please leave me comment about your home town and country.

Why is Common Sense so Uncommon?
Don’t be Shy. Leave me your Comment(s)


6 responses to “Fried Green Tomato’s And Grandma’s Green Tomato Chow Chow Relish

  1. The relish sounds great. I love when you add stories with your recipes! I’m just a sucker for things about the old days! 🙂


  2. Hey, remember me and my tons of green tomatoe fiasco last fall? I don’t like fried green tomatoes but enjoyed the movie. The relish sounds good.


    • Maybe fried green tomato’s is an acquired taste or just most a south of the Mason / Dixon line thing
      Happy gardening


  3. I have my friend’s West Virginia recipe, and make them with the last of the eggplants. They are awesome, layered with the fried eggplant, tomato sauce and mozzerella cheese! Toss in a light layer of ricotta and crumbled Feta, between the eggplant and tomato layers, then bake a fried green tomato-eggplant parmesan. Yum!


  4. So many great recipes for the season! Thanks.


  5. Simple Farming

    Fried green tomatoes are a fall favorite here. I always make a batch or two on the final harvest before the plants are ripped out and composted.


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