5 Easy Ways to Use Up Your Ripe Tomatoes
Garden overflowing? Enjoy the surplus
Fresh produce is one of the joys of the summer season, and ripe, juicy tomatoes are arguably the best part of late summer. But come August, what do you do when your tomato plot is exploding and you've eaten all the tomato salads and sandwiches you can stand?
First, keep them out of the fridge at all costs (unless of course you've cut them up). Then try these five ideas.
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1. Dry them. Slice up a few pounds of firm, ripe tomatoes and put them on a cookie sheet to form a single layer. Bake at 170 degrees in the oven for about 3 hours for easy dried tomatoes. During their time in the oven, prop the oven door open about 3 inches to let the moisture escape. You can add your dried tomatoes to pasta and salads during the winter for a nice reminder of summer. (Photo: joannawnuk/Shutterstock)
2. Cook up some tomato sauce. With a few ripe tomatoes, onion, bell peppers and fresh basil, you can create a easy homemade tomato sauce. Add wine or beef broth for a more flavorful sauce. Choose your own consistency — chunky or smooth. Make as many batches as you want, and freeze or can what you can't use right away. If you're canning it, just make sure to can it the right way and avoid botulism.
3. Make salsa. Grab a few tomatoes and dice them up with mango, onions, jalapeños and lime juice for an end of summer fresh salsa. You can also trade off the mango for pineapple, watermelon or any other summer fruit. Use tortilla chips to scoop it up or put the salsa on top of baked fish or chicken for a fresh bite. (Photo: baibaz/Shutterstock)
4. Keep it cool with gazpacho. Gazpacho, a Spanish-style cold soup made with fresh vegetables, is great for those times when you're garden is bursting. Use your tomatoes to make this treat with bell peppers, cucumbers, onions, garlic and spices. It's a healthy lunch and the perfect appetizer to help you cool off during the last outdoor parties of the summer.
5. Freeze them. If you can't get through your stash of tomatoes before they go bad, go ahead and freeze them. Stick them straight into freezer bags. You can pull them out later in the fall or winter to make sauces and still get all of the flavor. Even better, according to The Kitchn, freezing tomatoes makes it easier to pull the skins off once they're thawed in the fridge.
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