I can’t wait to start frying up the first green tomatoes of the season.
There it is—the first tomato of the season. Hanging precariously from the vine in our vegetable garden, its smooth green surface shines in the hot June sun.
My husband, Jason, has sought out this tomato’s existence for a few weeks now. Friends and family members have already claimed to have tomatoes growing in their gardens. Finally Jason can join the ranks of the “Yup, I got tomatoes growing” gardening-world banter.
There is just one problem: I want that tomato. And I want it as green as can be, not red.
Jason’s loving, supportive wife wants to pluck that tomato from the vine before the first hints of blushing red ever appear. We are in the garden when we discover the green tomato together. Jason instantly regrets pointing it out to me, our eyes locking as soon as the words are out of his mouth. His eyes are filled with regret, mine with excitement.
I love fried green tomatoes. I dip the thin slices in egg, roll them in Weisenberger Mill flour and plunge them into a skillet of hot, popping grease. A sign of a true Southerner is if you can take something good for you, such as a tomato, and turn it into something that is blatantly unhealthy. Consider one of my favorites—the wilted salad. What genius ever thought of using bacon grease as a dressing for a salad? A southern genius, of course!
Last year I pestered my husband so much for the first green tomato that our neighbor took pity on me and gave me some of his own.
Jason probably wouldn’t mind me taking the first one if he thought I’d stop there. I think his biggest fear is that he will come home from work one day and see the plants stripped of all their green tomatoes.
There’s just something about biting into the tangy, batter-dipped goodness. And of course the first pick of the garden is always the best. But resist I must. I will leave the first green tomato in the garden for it to ripen. After all, Jason is the one who tills the soil, plants the plants and deals with the general upkeep of the garden.
As summer wears on, I’ll have my pick of the tomatoes. And I know they will all be absolutely delicious; they came from my own little patch of the world.
Erica and Jason can agree on one thing— homegrown tomatoes are a delicious treat.