Sweet, juicy tomatoes can be the star of any summer menu. From soups to salads, appetizers to main dishes, tomatoes can be used in any number of ways to enhance the flavor of a dish.
If you’re like me, then you go through countless tomatoes, especially during the summer months. If you have a garden with tomato plants, then you might be starting to get overwhelmed by the crop that you have. If you go to the store or farmer’s market, then you will see the shelves and tables overflowing with gorgeous tomatoes.
So, for all of you who love tomatoes just as much as we do in our house, here are tips and tricks to help you enjoy the summer’s showstopping vegetable … errr … I mean fruit.
How To: Purchase Tomatoes
- Buy local (if/when possible) because the less the tomatoes have to travel, the more likely they were picked when ripe.
- Select tomatoes that actually smell like the garden aroma of the plant. If the tomato smells fresh and, well, like a tomato, then the more flavorful that it will be.
- Choose tomatoes that are firm, glossy, smooth, plump, and free of bruises.
How To: Store Tomatoes
- Avoid refrigerating fresh tomatoes since the refrigerator lessens the flavor.
- Make a green tomato ripe by placing it in a paper bag in a dark spot for three to four days.
How To: Cut Tomatoes
- Use a serrated knife when cutting tomatoes in order to avoid bruises and damages to the skin.
How To: Use Tomatoes
- Eat a tomato like an apple. That’s right, just bite right into it. Sprinkle on the salt and pepper to enhance the flavor. Also, don’t forget to have napkins handy to wipe the juices off of your chin.
- Make a fresh tomato salsa by coming chopped tomatoes, onions, peppers, cilantro, and any other flavors that you enjoy in a salsa.
- Make a homemade tomato pasta sauce. All that you need to do is add basil, onion, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, and maybe a few splashes of wine. Allow the flavors to marry by simmering the sauce in a pot for a while.
- Toss tomatoes into a salad or create a Caprese salad.
- Create a Bruschetta appetizer by combining chopped tomatoes, chopped onions, chopped basil, chopped, salt, pepper, and extra virgin olive oil in a large bowl and allowing to marinate. Take bread slices, brush both slices with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle on garlic salt and dried basil. Toast the bread slices until lightly brown. Top the slices with the tomato mixture. Sprinkle the tops with mozzarella cheese and return to the oven until the cheese is melted.
- Add tomatoes to any pasta dish to add freshness and flavor.
- Add tomato slices to a deli or panini sandwich.
What’s your favorite tomato dish?