Tomatoes' vibrant colors, juicy texture, and tangy flavor make them a versatile ingredient that can elevate any recipe. Whether you prefer them raw, roasted, or simmered into a sauce, tomatoes offer endless possibilities in the kitchen.
Tomato Harvesting Tips and Tricks
It's important to know when and how to pick tomatoes. Tomatoes are best harvested when they are fully ripe but still firm. Look for tomatoes that have a deep, rich color and give slightly when gently squeezed. Gently twist the tomatoes off the vine or use a pair of garden shears to prevent damaging the plant. Once harvested, store your tomatoes in a cool, dark place to prolong their shelf life.
1. Pickled Tomatoes
Pickled tomatoes make a nice addition to salads, sandwiches, or can be enjoyed on their own. Cherry tomatoes are particularly good for pickling due to their small size. This is an excellent and very simple recipe for refrigerator pickled tomatoes -- ready in just a couple days.
2. Sundried Tomatoes
Drying tomatoes allows the flavors to concentrate. You can dry tomatoes in the sun, use a dehydrator, or the oven. Sundried tomatoes are super easy to make, too.
- If you dry the tomatoes out thoroughly, to bone dry consistency, they can be turned into tomato powder -- another fun tomato use!
3. Frozen Tomatoes
Freezing tomatoes is a simple and convenient way to preserve them. Wash and dry the tomatoes, remove any stems or blemishes, and place them in freezer-safe bags or containers. When you're ready to use them, thaw them out and use them in a recipe.
4. Tomato Paste
Tomato paste is made by cooking down tomatoes until they reduce into a thick, concentrated paste. You can make your own tomato paste by cooking down fresh tomatoes on their own or with added herbs or seasonings.
You can make a simple pico de gallo with diced tomatoes, onions, cilantro, jalapenos, lime juice, and salt. Or, if you want to preserve your salsa for longer, try canning it.
6. Tomato Relish
Tangy and full of flavor, tomato relish can be used as a condiment or a topping for a variety of dishes. Stir it into pasta salads, use it as a spread on sandwiches, or spoon it over grilled meats.
7. Tomato Chips
Tomato chips are thinly sliced tomatoes that are dehydrated until they become crispy. They are a excellent alternative to potato chips and can be seasoned with various herbs and spices to suit your taste. Tomato chips are also a great way to use up excess tomatoes.
8. Tomato Chutney
Made by cooking down tomatoes with onions, ginger, garlic, and spices, tomato chutney is a versatile condiment that can be customized to your taste preferences by adjusting the level of spice or sweetness.