A welcome sign of summer is a bounty of tomatoes ripening on the vine. If you're a gardener, you may enjoy the following ideas for tasty tomatoes or the tomato tips shared below. There are also some recipes that can help you put your tomatoes to good use.
The time's ripe to experiment with some of the luscious tomato varieties now available.
- Slice pink or red classic beefsteak tomatoes—such as Big Beef, Ponderosa Pink or the heirloom Brandywine—for juicy flavor in sandwiches and salads.
- For a less acidic taste, opt for yellow Green Zebra, heirloom Hillbilly or the sweet dark Purple Cherokee.
- Or indulge in healthy handfuls of cherry or grape varieties for quick snacking and cooking.
My husband and I grow our own tomatoes and enjoy this simple, delicious salad all summer long. It's great with warm French bread and butter for lunch or can double as a quick appetizer.
—Kim Bovino, Milford, Connecticut
Italian Red Pepper Bruschetta
To make an easy appetizer, start by halving a loaf of Italian bread. Then top it with a blend of fresh basil, oregano, garlic and red peppers, tomatoes and cheeses. It's hard to eat just one slice of Italian Red Pepper Bruschetta.
—Josephine Devereaux Piro, Easton, Pennsylvania
Where's the Squash Lasagna
I devised the recipe for Where's the Squash Lasagna to hide zucchini from her unsuspecting grandchildren and any others who think they don't like it. It's always a hit.
—Norma Brinson, Greenville, North Carolina
Italian Stuffed Tomatoes
Served with crusty French bread, Italian Stuffed Tomatoes makes a great summer meal. My husband and our two daughters ask me to fix it for them frequently.
—Michele Shank, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Tomato-Basil Chicken Spirals
After tasting a wonderful pasta dish at an Italian restaurant. I experimented until I came up with Tomato-Basil Chicken Spirals. It's become one of our favorite low-fat meals. The riper the tomatoes, the better it is!
—Sandra Giguere, Bremen, Maine
- A quick way to core tomatoes is to slice off the ends and use a grapefruit spoon to scoop out the core. —Nancy Johnson, Lombard, Illinois
- I save leftover tomato paste by freezing 3-tablespoon-size portions in ice cube trays. Then I transfer them to a heavy-duty resealable freezer bag. It's easy to remove a frozen cube whenever I need a small amount of tomato paste. —Carre Gardner, Gray, Maine
- To peel tomatoes quickly and easily, cut a shallow "x" on the bottom of the tomato. Put it into a pot of boiling water for about 1 minute, then rinse under cold water. The skin will peel right off. —Claire Groff, Murphy, North Carolina
- Mulch tomato plants with grass clippings or straw to keep weeds down and help conserve moisture. —Lois Scholbrock, Des Moines, Iowa
- To ripen green garden tomatoes, put them in brown paper bags. Don't stack too many in one bag, or they might get bruised. Check them every few days and remove the ripe ones. —Delia Kennedy, Deer Park, Washington