Nothing says summer like the first bite of a garden tomato.
No sooner do you take that taste than all the backyard tomatoes turn red and beg to be picked. Or so it seems.
Not to worry. We have plenty of ideas on how to use up those red beauties.
Freeze them: Varieties used for sauce, such as romas or plum tomatoes, are easy to freeze. Cut out the cores and bag and freeze. When you’re ready to use them, drop them in warm water for a few minutes and the skin will slide right off.
Puree them: Boil them with a little water, put them through a food mill and place in 1-cup amounts in zip-close bags. Label and freeze.
Roast them: Core and halve the tomatoes, place in a single layer in a roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil. Roast at 325 degrees for 90 minutes to 2 hours, until they’re very soft. Bag and freeze, or cover with their cooking oil and refrigerate for a week. You can also puree and freeze.
Dry them: Reader Elizabeth Burns suggests doing it outdoors.
“It’s cheap and easy and delivers colorful, flavorful tomato morsels just right for snacks, salad or casserole garnish or extra zing in nearly any meal,” she writes in an e-mail.
Burns says to line cookie sheets with plastic wrap. Slice tomatoes crosswise, about 1/4-inch thick, and lay slices on the trays, with no overlapping. Cover against bugs with a protective screen or cheesecloth and set out in full sun. After a hot day or two, they may be dry enough to turn.
“Depending on the weather, you can just leave them out 24 hours/day until they are dry (about 3-4days),” she writes.
Store dried tomato slices in zip-close bags in the refrigerator to enjoy during the winter.