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Recipe Developer Has Ideas About How To Use All Those Tomatoes

From Eating To Freezing To Baking To Juicing, Your Bounty Will Be Taken Care Of In No Time

caprese salad tomatoes cheese
Photo courtesy of Deborah L. Melian, WisconsinHomemaker.com 

As tomato season pivots toward its end, recipe developer Deb Melian has a lot of advice for the tomato growers among us.

If you want bright, fully ripened tomatoes, pluck them when they’re firm and without blemishes or cuts, said Melian, an online writer at Wisconsin Homemaker. Tomatoes that have ripened a bit too much are OK. If they’re not yet moldy, they’re perfect for sauces and juices.

You can still pick tomatoes that aren’t ripe, she said, and either set them out close to a window and let them redden naturally or put them in a paper bag for the same effect. Just don’t stick them in the refrigerator.

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“That’ll make them become very mealy, and they won’t taste as fresh as it would be if you just let them finish ripening on your counter,” she said.

For whatever you haul inside, Melian said there are plenty of ways to use it.

Make a Caprese Salad

A favorite of Melian’s, caprese salad can be made with minimal ingredients and works well with all different types of tomatoes, she said.

Use whatever tomatoes you have on hand, whether it’s beefsteak, Roma, cherry tomatoes or another variety. Slice them up and layer them with buffalo mozzarella or mozzarella balls. Then, you can tear up some basil and sprinkle that on top.

You can use extra virgin olive oil as a dressing, or even a little bit of balsamic vingear, and top it all off with salt and pepper to taste. For something a bit more acidic, you can swap in red wine vinegar.

Let everything marinate for 10 or 15 minutes before serving.

Eat it as a salad or make it as a meal, Melian said.

“In our family, we’ve put it on toasted bread and layered it up with fresh sliced salami and made it into a great summertime meal,” she said.

Freeze Them

Freezing is an easy way to keep tomatoes on hand all winter long.

Start by slicing them into quarters and place them on a tray. Then, wrap plastic around the tray and freeze them completely.

Once that’s done, you can pull them out and transfer them to freezer bags. Freezing them first helps to prevent the pieces from sticking together when they’re compacted in the bags.

You can use these tomatoes in loads of recipes, from bloody mary mixes to soups, tomato sauces, pico de gallo, tomato paste, ketchup and pizza sauces.

“That’s why I love to freeze it, because it gives you time to be able to use it in all these different recipes,” Melian said.

green tomatoes
Photo courtesy of Deborah L. Melian, WisconsinHomemaker.com

Make Fried Green Tomatoes

Melian starts her Wisconsin fried green tomatoes recipe with about four cups of sliced green tomatoes.

Instead of cornmeal, use flour. To that, you’ll add some paprika, garlic powder and cayenne pepper. Dredge the tomatoes, pat off excess flour and put onto a pan with vegetable oil and fry on both sides.

It takes about 7 to 10 minutes total — Melian said cooking them for less time is often better than overcooking them.

“When you cook it like this in a skillet, it just brings out those flavors,” she said.

If you don’t like that option, you can parcook them on the stove and then finish them in the oven. Bake them at about 350 to 375 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes.

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