Sense & Centsibility Blog

Flashback Friday: The Fruit That Keeps on Giving

We're flashing back this Friday to Mary Ellen's post about the versatile fruit: the green tomato. And try out her recipe at the end of the post!

It’s been a good garden year for me.  I’ve supplied my household, friends, family, passersby, and the local food shelf with a variety of beautiful, fresh, organic produce.  I couldn’t even begin to calculate the dollars saved.  (Add in the physical and environmental benefits of gardening and the economic payback rises significantly.)

It is early October and the first frost has yet to hit the Twin Cities in Minnesota.  I’m still harvesting summer squash, tomatoes, greens, herbs, peppers, and more.  When frost is finally in the forecast (any time now!) you will find me in the garden that evening frantically picking the remaining green tomatoes by flashlight.

  • FoodMy counters will be full of green tomatoes, as they are every year.  Green tomatoes extend the delicious bounty of summer long into the short chilly days of fall.
  • Green tomatoes are quite nutritious providing vitamin C, several B vitamins, vitamins A and K, calcium, and various minerals, protein, fiber, and more. Keep some to continue ripening.  I put them in a single layer in a box and cover, checking them periodically.  You can have red ripe tomatoes on your Thanksgiving salad!

What else can you do with green tomatoes?

  • Fried Green Tomatoes, of course, are a well-loved dish.  (Like good fried chicken, though, they require skill and practice.)
  • Add chopped green tomatoes to stir-fries, soups and stews for a delicious and nutritious tang.  No skill required.
  • Freeze to use in the dead of winter.  So easy—just chop up and pack into containers.
  • Pickle them to put on sandwiches, burgers, salads.  Or to eat right out of the jar.  Pickled green tomatoes are my favorite pickle!
  • Make salsas and relishes.
  • Bake cakes, sweet breads, or pies with green tomatoes.  The first time I made my grandmother’s Green Tomato Pie for some friends, they were very skeptical.  Now, each fall they ask me when I’m making another pie.
  • Find dozens of recipes and other ideas online.

So, if you are one of the growing multitudes of home or community gardeners, keep your eye on the forecast and pick those green tomatoes to continue reaping the innumerable benefits of growing your own food!

Gram’s Green Tomato Pie

4 Tablespoons flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
Pastry for a 2 crust pie
Combine flour and sugar, sprinkle ½ over the bottom crust.  Reserve the rest.

5 cups thin sliced green tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon each cinnamon and nutmeg

Put into pie shell, sprinkle with 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, sprinkle reserve flour and sugar mixture, dot with butter.  Cover with top crust and seal.  Brush with milk and sprinkle sugar over.  Bake 10 minutes at 450°, then reduce to 350° and bake for 1 ½ hours.

Author Mary Ellen  Kaluza is a Financial Counselor at LSS Financial Counseling. LSS specializes in helping people conquer their debt. Visit our website at to learn  more.