Tomatoes, Tomatoes!

Indulge in one of summer's treats!

By FamilyTime


Good news! Tomatoes are in season.

Summer's finest crop is best served raw or very minimally cooked. And is best enjoyed as often as possible.

Buy tomatoes as locally as you can, which is not difficult during August when the fruit is at its best. Those in supermarkets are never as good as the tomatoes sold at farmer's markets, roadside stands, or picked from your own garden.

The best are plucked from the vine ready to eat. Tomatoes do not travel well, and so those sold other times of year are shipped when firm and gas-ripened. Which, while harmless, results in pink flesh and a mealy texture.

Locally grown and harvested tomatoes, kissed by the sun, are bright red or deep yellow all the way through and their flavor and texture is fresh and juicy. For many of us, nothing is better!

Tomatoes at Home

Allow firm tomatoes to sit on a sunny windowsill for a day or two to fully ripen. Otherwise, store ripe tomatoes at room temperature (not in the refrigerator, where their flavor will diminish) for a few days. Refrigerate cut tomatoes.

Serve tomatoes sliced and sprinkled with a little salt. Or, serve sliced tomatoes with fresh, high-quality mozzarella cheese, fresh basil leaves, a drizzle of olive oil, and salt and pepper.

Raw tomatoes are great in sandwiches or salads. In fact, one of the best summer sandwiches is a tomato sandwich: nothing but sliced tomatoes on good bread or toast with a smear of mayonnaise.

Pasta loves chopped tomatoes that are allowed to mingle with torn or chopped fresh herbs, minced garlic, and a little olive oil. Toss the hot noodles with the uncooked sauce. Wow!

Fresh, chopped tomatoes are wonderful in salsas and fresh relishes. Try them on large rounds of garlic toast for classic brushetta--a meal in itself or a great hors d'oeuvre

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Tomatoes are one of those special crops that, while short lived, rarely disappoints when it's in season. Tomato lovers eat them for breakfast (try them lightly grilled and served alongside eggs), lunch (think sandwiches, sandwiches!), and for dinner (how about salads and fresh pasta sauces).

Enjoy this simple summer pleasure. Sad to say, but fall will be here soon enough and the tomatoes just won't be as good as they are now!