Recovering The SelfA Journal of Hope and Healing


Fried Green Tomatoes with Jo Elizabeth Pinto

by Jo Elizabeth Pinto

On a recent Sunday afternoon, a sudden autumn snowstorm blew into Colorado. We had a high of twenty degrees during the day, with a low of eight that night. I wouldn’t usually be caught dead rejoicing over snow, but I hoped the cold weather and moisture would snuff out the terrible wildfires that had been ravaging the Front Range as the last few weeks of summer faded into fall.

I figured the growing season would be over for good. I decided to post my tried and true recipe for fried green tomatoes, in case people had unripe fruit on the vine. Yes, tomatoes are technically fruits.

I had a dear friend and neighbor, Jean, who shared this recipe with me some twenty-five years ago. She fell ill one autumn and had to have a pretty invasive operation. Oxygen, dressings, a walker, the whole deal. Her daughter unfortunately couldn’t get much time off work to take care of her. But I was staying home with my chronically ill husband at the time. So I went between the two houses, doing double nursing.

Jean was broken-hearted that she wouldn’t be well enough to make her famous fried green tomatoes and cucumber relish that fall. I’d never made either before, but I figured there was a first time for everything. So she directed me from her recliner, and I rolled up my sleeves and learned. Her three preteen granddaughters pitched in as well. I’ve never regretted that culinary adventure.

This recipe isn’t intended to be healthy in any way. Understand that going in, and enjoy it for what it is!

Fried Green Tomatoes

fried green tomatoes


  • 3 fair-sized green tomatoes, cut into 1/3 inch slices
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 4 tablespoons flour, divided
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • bacon grease or vegetable oil


  1. Salt the tomato slices and let them stand for five minutes.
  2. Combine the egg and buttermilk in a shallow bowl. If you don’t have buttermilk, add half a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to half a cup of whole milk and let it stand for five minutes.
  3. Combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour with the cornmeal, salt, and pepper in another shallow bowl.
  4. Add bacon grease (or vegetable oil, if you must) to a depth of between 1/4 and 1/2 inch in a large, heavy skillet. Heat over medium-high till well-sizzling.
  5. Dip each tomato slice in the remaining flour, then in the egg and buttermilk. Allow any excess liquid to drip off. Then coat again with flour, and finally with the cornmeal mixture.
  6. Cook the tomato slices, in batches, two minutes on each side, in the sizzling oil. Drain on paper towels or wire racks. While hot, sprinkle with more salt. Eat right away.

About the Author

Jo Elizabeth Pinto was among the first blind students to integrate the public schools in the 1970’s. In 1992, she received a degree in Human Services from the University of Northern Colorado. While teaching students how to use adaptive technology, she earned a second degree in 2004 from the Metropolitan State College of Denver in Nonprofit Management. She freelances as an editor and a braille proofreader. As an author, Pinto entertains her readers while giving them food for thought. In her fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, she draws on personal experience to illustrate that hope is always an action away. Pinto lives in Colorado with her husband, her preteen daughter, and their pets. Visit her website at

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5 thoughts on “Fried Green Tomatoes with Jo Elizabeth Pinto”

  1. Barbara Spencer says:

    Loved the article even though I don’t cook but I do love food – and fried green tomatoes look perfect.

    1. Hi Barbara and All. Jo always comes up with the most delicious recipes, and I am now hungry all over again after reading so I could share today.
      Thanks so much for commenting here.

  2. Thanks, Barbara and Patty. And thanks, Ernest, for posting my recipe.

  3. Gotta say, this is one of my favorites of all I’ve read of your recipes.

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