Tomatoes

June-Oct

Like other “fragile” fruits, tomatoes can get a little bumped up on their trip to your kitchen. The most important thing you can do is sort them out, setting aside the ones that had gotten banged up on their journey. Rinsed, any questionable parts cut off, those tomatoes can go into the food processor, some with a clove of garlic, some with some onion, to be coarsely chopped. The chopped tomatoes, onions and garlic can go into a big refrigerator container and now you have a fabulous start to a whole range of dishes. Stewed okra, stewed corn, a start for gazpacho or for a hot soup, zucchini and tomatoes, salsa …. the list is endless and all you have to do is ladle out a cup or two as needed. In my house, a lot of it will just be eaten directly out of the container! I love it mixed with hummus, served up with cottage cheese, drained a little and put on bruschetta …. you get the picture. You can also freeze it in small portions and then you have a start to all those things I just listed, but ready for them when fresh tomatoes aren’t in season.

The unblemished tomatoes should go on your counter. Never refrigerate them unless you’ve cut into one and haven’t finished it. You can dehydrate tomato slices if you think you can’t eat them up before they go bad. And I understand you can freeze whole tomatoes although I’ve never done it. They’ll be mushy when they thaw but that’s perfectly fine for all those recipes were you would have used canned tomatoes. And yes, of course, you can can tomatoes, but that requires a lot of special work since tomatoes are a low-acid fruit and need special handling for making them safe for storage.