Fresh tomatoes can be served raw in salads or used to make an easy salsa. When cooked, I prefer them roasted whole or blended in soups and sauces.
Select tomatoes that are plump and firm. The ripest tomatoes will be the most aromatic. Heirloom varieties tend to be oddly shaped but as long as the skins are smooth, without splits, they’re still good!
Store fresh heirloom or delicate varieties upside down on the countertop to extend shelf life and preserve flavor. Never store tomatoes in the refrigerator. Canned tomatoes (whole or diced) are also a great way to keep a bit of summer for later.
There are thousands of tomato varieties, but a few of my favorites are Cherokee, Lemon Currant, and Super Italian Paste.
While botanically a fruit, tomatoes are the highlight of summer vegetables. There are many reasons to eat in season, and for me, tomatoes are a prime example . The sweet taste of a freshly picked tomato is exceptionally better than any grocery store tomato. My favorite way to eat a tomato? Thickly sliced with a pinch of salt and pepper sprinkled on top!
When it comes to preserving tomatoes, the sky's really the limit. You can freeze, dry or can tomatoes with ease. Tomatoes can be frozen whole with skins on or off (I often remove the stems). To remove the skin, blanch tomatoes in hot water for 30 seconds to loosen the skin. Place whole tomatoes on a baking tray and stick in the freezer. Once frozen, place in any freezer safe container. You can also make tomato sauce (see recipes below) and freeze that instead of canning. If you want the flavor of a sun-dried tomato, try this easy way of drying them in the oven.
Tomatoes come in such a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors! They all have different flavors and are perfect for many uses. I recommend tasting all the varieties you can to savor summer!
Roasted Tomato Gazpacho