Old-Fashioned Green Tomato Pie ♥ Old Farm Recipe

A 'what's on hand' pie from another time
Today's vegetable recipe: An old-fashioned country green-tomato pie, sweet not savory.

Last fall I spent an evening with a group of smart, successful, tuned-in, connected and world-traveling folks. Somehow, the talk turned to strawberries and someone complained that lately, strawberries were 'expensive' and 'not that good'. (Strawberries in October? Well yes, if you live in the southern hemisphere!) I broached the idea of the 'locavore' movement, the '100-mile diet' (want to know your 100-mile radius? try this 100-mile calculator) and the concept of eating seasonally -- all greeted with mostly blank looks. The strawberry-buyer (who's also a year-round blueberry- and apple-buyer) asked with a look of dubiousness, "What would we eat, in the winter?"

That's the question, isn't it? Our worldwide food distribution system masks the seasonality of fresh produce. Because strawberries are sold year-round, this otherwise smart, savvy person had no understanding that there's a brief spring window for strawberries, when they taste best, are most plentiful and least costly. And when the 'real' strawberry season ends, a seasonal eater moves onto the next seasonal something, grateful for both.

As I peeled the tomatoes for this old-fashioned green tomato pie, I realized how perfectly it exemplifies the concept of eating seasonally. In the Midwest at the first of July, the rhubarb and strawberries are past, the peaches not quite ripe, the apples still green. But we do have green tomatoes -- let's make pie!

UPDATE: I have since learned that the 'season' for green tomatoes is not early in the season but very, very late. Green tomatoes are their sweetest when just touched by frost. They'll no longer ripen and so must be eaten green so not to go to waste. I love the thriftiness! More recipes for tomatoes, scroll down for green tomatoes.

GREEN TOMATO PIE

Hands-on time: 50 minutes, including homemade pastry
Time to table: 3 hours
Serves 8

Pastry for a two-crust pie

1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups green tomatoes, peeled and slice thin and small (check the photo, those pieces are way too big)

2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

Egg wash of 1 egg yolk whisked with 1 tablespoon water

Place one oven rack on the bottom, the other in the center. Preheat oven to 375F. Roll bottom crust and refrigerate. In a bowl, stir together the sugar, salt, cinnamon and vanilla. Stir in the tomatoes as they're prepped. Roll the top crust. Pour the tomato mixture into the bottom crust, dot with butter. Arrange top crust over top and seal and crimp the edges. Vent the top crust, then brush the flat portion of the top crust (not the edges) with egg wash.

Place the pie on the bottom rack and bake for 20 minutes. Move to center rack and bake for 20 minutes. Cover the edges with a pie rim and bake for another 20 minutes or until top crust is brown and bottom crust is golden. Let cool to set before serving.


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VEGETABLE RECIPES from the ARCHIVES

~ more recipes for desserts with vegetables ~
~ more recipes for pies & tarts from Kitchen Parade, my food column ~


Eat more vegetables! A Veggie Venture is the home of Veggie Evangelist Alanna Kellogg and is the award-winning source of free vegetable recipes, quick, easy, and yes, delicious. Start with the Alphabet of Vegetables or dive into all the Weight Watchers vegetable recipes or all the low carb vegetable recipes. © Copyright 2008


18 comments:

Very interesting, Alanna! I've made green tomato chutney, but have never even thought of making anything sweet with them. Intrigued, for sure!

Never heard of a green tomato pie -- but it's green tomato season here in Rhode Island, too, so I can try this with local produce.

I love my old "More-with-Less Cookbook" by Doris Janzen Longacre for pointing out the stewardship and practicality of eating seasonally available foods. I guess everything old is new again.

Interesting pie! If I could find green tomatoes around here, big enough to eat, I'd give it a try.

many many years ago i watched the movie "fried green tomates" (a lovely movie!) years later i wanted to try to make the fried green tomatoes at home unfortunately i was not really turned on by it. the tomatoes were great too - so i think putting it in a pie might work better for me. looks great!

Hi Alanna...

Just a note to let you know that we are right now in the midst of a fabulous strawberry season here in Maine. (Which doesn't deter my local supermarket from putting up a big display of tasteless California strawberries and carrying not a single Maine berry in the store...to be fair, Whole Foods has some local berries...)

And speaking of eating in-season produce, in my world the only time I make anything from green tomatoes is when the first frost threatens and it's time to bring in the green ones and make FGT, chutney or whatever from them. A farmstand operator told me that she never sold a green tomato before October until that movie made people want them "out of season." Me, I'll take every ripe, red tomato I can get in tomato season -- and wait until the real "green tomato season" to try your delicious-sounding pie...

...just my 2¢!

best, Stephen

Ha, Stephen. Is the timing a don't-waste-what-will-be-good-ripe-tomatoes issue? Or because green tomatoes don't taste good until being touched by night chill?

Yeah...no way to prove it but I'm pretty sure that fried green tomatoes was always a late fall dish, to make do with the imperfect fruit left over at the end of the growing season...and that nobody ever made anything of green tomatoes in the summer, because it's obviously a sin to take a green tomato off the vine if there's any chance it will grow and ripen...that sin in my book is in the same class as shipping California strawberries to Maine in the middle of Maine's strawberry season! and New Jersey corn to Maine when our corn is in...you get the idea...

for the record, when did you first encounter fried green tomatoes? for reference, the movie was 1991...

Fascinating! Perhaps that's why I've been underwhelmed by fried green tomatoes two years in a row: my timing was off.

But. I grew up on fried green tomatoes, they were a favorite of my Iowa-born grandmother.

Isn't there a benefit to thinning out the developing tomatoes? And logic says we get as much 'use' out of it either way (though doubtless red has more lycopene, etc). Here in NH we're lucky if we get ripe tomatoes before the first frost! I discovered fried green...as a new bride with the Joy of Cooking in hand, summer of l966. Felt smug when the movie came out!

I would love to try this pie.
What interesting ideas about picking a green vs red tomato! My feeling would be to leave a green one to ripen. I always loved doing the fried green at the end of the season. It's one of those things that just wasn't done earlier and I never questioned. Really no reason not to I guess.

Yea - but what does it *taste* like? (The pie, I mean.)

Hmm, what does it taste like? Like chicken? Oh you know what I mean. The texture is a lot like apples and would be even more so if sliced in lengths like apples, rather than cubes. It tastes like tomatoes, except not acidic. But you kind of have to put your mind aside so that it doesn't reject the idea of sweet tomatoes. Remember, tomatoes ARE a fruit ... so why not?

A great post, Alanna. I've always had the savory variety of tomato pie -- it will be an adventure to try this one! Thanks!

Right on! Strawberries year-round have lost their meaning, not to mention their taste... when you're eating seasonally, you anticipate that flurry of strawberries with great joy, and as you said, when they're gone, you work with the next new thing. How have people been eating, after all, for the previous thousands of years?

Here in Vermont, we are still in strawberry season, wonderfully enough, and green tomatoes aren't in yet, but I look forward to trying your recipe soon.

Thanks for the inspiration, and for your consciousness-raising. After all, I too was once a clued-out, strawberries-in-January-well-of-course type.

Hi Alanna! If I can find the green tomatoes I will be trying this out..I am not sure I can get anyone else on board with this:) I suppose I could just not say what is in it;)
Yes, local in season food is the best..We are in strawberry season here and have been picking at the farms twice this week they are just so good!

Some thin the tomatoes so the remaining ones grow larger. Otherwise I usually see this as a use-them-before-frost-kills-them fall dish, but I am going to fry up the 2 tomatoes that I knocked off my potted vines when I watered them this AM. I suppose the same couls happen in a storm in a traditional garden.

I know I'm a little late here, but I just now saw your post. I grew up eating green tomato pie in Indiana. I don't know where my mom got the recipe originally, but she made it every summer. Even won a contest or two with it. Sounds weird, but very yummy!

Thanks for sharing this recipe! I made some Green Tomato Pie on Friday with tomatoes that were saved before the frost hit. The pie was amazing and enjoyed by my family!

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna