Updated: Jan 20
I had a whole different plan in mind for this weeks Pie, until I saw green tomatoes in the grocery store. Yup, green tomatoes. I knew somewhere on Taste of Home‘s list ‘50 Pies for 50 States’ there was a Green Tomato Pie. I had planned to put this one off until the end of my journey because, honestly it didn’t sound very appealing to me. I decided since the tomatoes were available I should go for it. So here we are, this week I’m making NEW JERSEY’S Green Tomato Pie.
Green Tomatoes coated in Cinnamon and Sugar
Before getting to the actual pie I wanted to understand why the ‘Garden State’s’ tomatoes were its claim to fame. New Jersey is considered to have the best tomatoes in the nation. Did you know that? Me neither. Classic ‘Jersey Tomatoes,’ a beefsteak variety, earned its popularity from the help of a little, old business called ‘Campbell’s Soup,’ “Mmm, Mmm Good.” Campbell’s Soup began operation in Camden, NJ in 1869. Producing condensed soup using ‘Jersey Tomatoes.’ At one point the company utilized a research facility in which tomato breeders would develop a variety of tomatoes that could grow optimally in New Jersey soil and climate. Therefore creating world famous tomatoes. To ensure the best quality these aren’t shipped across the country. To get your hands on some of the freshest, juiciest tomatoes visit Jersey’s local Farmers Markets during the Summer.
Relaxing at my Sisters house in Jersey
When you say tomato pie, the time- honored, almost pizza like pie might come to mind. The Trenton, NJ style ‘tomato pie’ with a thin crust, topped with cheese and crushed tomatoes is a Jersey classic. I’ve never had one of these, but my Sister who lives in Maplewood, New Jersey, told me “it’s all about the sauce,” the tomato sauce, that makes these so popular. When deciding to make the Green Tomato Pie, I was thinking more savory, like a ‘tomato pie,’ rather than sweet. When I saw the recipe called for cinnamon and sugar, I questioned the whole thing. The only time I’ve had a green tomato, was fried, on a sandwich. I was pretty much expecting a soggy, soup pie. I actually held my breath when I took my first bite. To my surprise, this 100 year old, Depression Pie, had a very familiar taste. Green Tomatoes are actually quite tart, like a Granny Smith Apple. Mixed with cinnamon and sugar, you could have almost fooled me into believing I was eating an Apple Pie. This would be a fun game of guess the pie filling with your friends. With chilly weather and tomatoes still on the vine that won’t ripen, this might be the perfect way to turn them into something beautiful. This pie journey is taking me to places I have never dreamed of going, I’m stepping out of my comfort zone, trying recipes I would have normally skipped over in a cookbook. And I’m discovering so many interesting things about this beautiful Nation I live in. Thanks for following along with me.
*originally written October 9, 2019