Red, yellow, orange, purple, green. They’re here!
“What’s for dinner?”
“Didn’t we have tomatoes for lunch?”
“Yep. Guess what we’re having for breakfast?”
We wait all year for that blush of red in the garden, and the first few are precious. Nothing beats the flavor of fresh tomato, unadorned except for a sprinkle of salt, or the ritual of the first tomato sandwich – white bread, mayonnaise, thick slice of tomato, salt.
Then, all at once, we have tomatoes in abundance! We make bruschetta, fresh salsa, tomato sauce, tomato sauce to freeze, tomato soup, tomato water, and, of course, salad Caprese and other tomato salads of all kinds and colors.
I have two cherry tomato plants in my yard, and one morning picked over 100 tomatoes! Then, a friend dropped off another pint! An embarrassment of riches of the best kind.
If you don’t have a garden, this is the time of year to scout the farm stands and farmers’ markets for bulk baskets of “canning tomatoes” or those which might be blemished or contorted shapes, but still packed with intense flavor.
Can or freeze?
My mother used to can tomatoes, and if you have never canned before, this high-acid fruit is a good place to start. There are many good on-line sources of information, or you can follow the canning jar manufacturer’s step-by-step instructions for safe handling.
You can also tuck tomatoes in the freezer with little prep for use all winter in soups and stews and sauces, my preferred method. Skin them first if you like, but if the skin is thin, this is really not necessary.
There’s always dehydrating
For a different taste and texture, dehydrating is a great way to preserve the sun of the summer.
You don’t have to “sun dry” them, your oven can do the work, and does not rely on the weather since our New England summers can be quite humid and wet, not ideal drying conditions.
Those 100 cherry tomatoes? They ended up sliced in half and placed cut-side up on a parchment lined baking sheets, drizzled with a bit of olive oil, to rest in my convection oven for four hours at 175 degrees. If your stove does not go that low, put it on the lowest setting and prop open the door. The time will vary greatly, so check at two hours; it may need more than four hours, it all depends on the size.
The texture will feel dry, but still rubbery, and they will have an intense sweetness. Once dried, place them in olive oil and store in the refrigerator with some herbs to impart more flavor, or store as is in a jar in a cool dry area.
Experiment with something different
This is also the time of year to experiment with different tomato recipes. Since there is also an abundance of zucchinis around, slice up a few and layer in a casserole with sliced tomatoes, some garlic and herbs and a minced shallot. Really mound it up, the tomatoes will shrink down as they bake.
Top with fresh breadcrumbs and cheese and bake until brown and aromatic. This is good hot or cold.
And let’s not forget our salads!
Roasted Tomato Sauce
Tomato Water Granita
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All great ideas!!
Thank you so much!
Tomato Season is the best!
I enjoy tomatoes any time of year but especially in the summer when you can get home grown or farmers market tomatoes. They are so tasty and meaty and you can make so many things with them. I love all the colors you have shown, really gorgeous presentation!
Thank you so much! I had really beautiful and cooperative models!
So much ideas, just with tomatoes 🙂
These are beautiful and look like I could eat them off the screen!
Thank you! So tempting with their vibrant colors!
Thank you Jeanne! They are beautiful!
You are very welcome. They are picture perfect!
What beauties! I dehydrate just about everything and never thought about doing tomatoes. Probably because we eat and give away whatever we grow. This year we cut back on tomatoes a bit. Thanks for such a colorful and informative post!
Thanks Diane! I used to try to dry my tomatoes the way my mother did, outside between two old window screens. Somehow, it worked for her, but I guess she managed to time it on really dry days. It doesn’t seem like we’ve had any of those this year!
Love this post! Such beautiful tomatoes.
Thank you Mimi! I know you have lots of tomato ideas up your sleeve!
It is an embarrassment of riches this time of years. You have some delightful and creative ideas about how to use this abundance.
Thanks Bernie! So many possibilities, and it is indeed an embarrassment of riches!
My triple kitchen windowsill is covered with tomatoes from tiny to large. I plan to eat each and every one. 🙂
There’s nothing like tomatoes on the windowsill this time of year, it’s almost like a little treasure trove. Which one will be ready today?
I love these ideas! And I make that baked dish with both zucchini and yellow neck squash!
It’s wonderful, isn’t it? I actually love the yellow squash even more than zucchini!
Oh my! I do envy you right now! I love them in all possible ways 🍅😋
So good in so many dishes! And even more appreciated next winter!
Tomatoes like my strawberries I always smell my tomatoes… such a wonderful smell one of my very favourite things…Glorious images, Dorothy 🙂
Yes, Carol! And I love the small of the foliage on tomatoes because it says summer to me!
Absolutely, Dorothy x
What a great overview of this fabulous ingredient
Thank you! There’s so much to love right now!
Beautiful, delicious, healthy. Tomatoes are my superheros among all vegetables.
When tomatoes come into season, I turn into a glutton. 😜🍃🍅
There is nothing better than summer tomatoes!
First off… gorgeous pictures my friend! Amazing recipes and tomato ideas. I like the tomato and zucchini casserole.
I just sautéed some cherry tomatoes in olive oil and garlic last night until they made a sauce all on their own. Added some pasta and fresh Basil… mmm… it was so good!
Have a beautiful weekend and enjoy every single bit of garden goodness!
When I was a kid, someone told me “Tomatoes are not vegetables. They are fruit.” So I picked one up and ate it like an apple, and have continued doing so for 50+ years!
Yet in all my years, I had never seen ripe green ones till coming to Kentucky. I still never saw purple ones!! I’ll start searching. 😉
Green, striped green, purple, almost black, white, yellow, yellow and pink, orange, oh, and even red!
When I read your first words “What’s for dinner?” I basically shouted TOMATOES because I love tomato season. I never dehydrated my cherry tomatoes but I will definitely try!
Thanks! The cherry tomatoes are so sweet, they dehydrate beautifully.
Many a night when we had our New England gardens, we would make a meal of just tomatoes and corn. Some of the tomatoes we grew were so large, one sliced up would fill an entire plate.
We had just corn on the cob two nights ago. Nothing better! And I think I had tomatoes just about every day in some form!
Yum! Tomatoes several times in one day! Has the pandemic affected business at your bed and breakfast, Dorothy? It seems like people are traveling a lot more, so I’m guessing things may be closer to “normal.”
After 18 years of operation, our B&B is now only open for artists and musicians who are performing in the area, our way of supporting the arts. I’m so glad we made the decision before Covid hit, and maybe that actually reinforced that we were making the right move.
I love your options. If only I had an oven. . .
Tomatoes for every meal sounds perfectly acceptable to me, especially with all the creative ideas you have for them! This week, I had the most incredible pizza with fresh tomatoes, and it was just about the best thing I’ve tasted all summer. Thank you for linking to some of your past tomato specialties, including the tomato water granita. My goodness, that sounds so perfectly refreshing!
The granita is one of my absolute favorites Terrie. We use to serve this to our inn guests as a starter at breakfast when the humidity and heat was high. It was always a hit!
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