Tomatoes, Tomatoes, Tomatoes

I don’t think there is anything better in the summer than fresh, homegrown tomatoes.  After planting mine a bit late, babying them through a serious heat wave, and then have a large tree branch fall on three of my six plants in a storm, I didn’t think we would ever have any tomatoes!  But as July is wrapping up, I do have some beautiful heirloom tomatoes that are gracing my table on a regular basis from my omelets at breakfast to a salad for supper!
Brandywine tomato growing beautifully.

Clusters of Roma’s ready for a delicious pasta sauce.
Tomatoes are so versatile.  Classified as a fruit, they also work well as a vegetable and can be prepared in so many delicious ways.
Our family favorite?  
Fried Green Tomatoes.

Of course at this point in time, nothing fried is coming through my kitchen, so improvising to get a similar effect is necessary.
Dipping my sliced green tomatoes in buttermilk, I coated them in Panko (Japanese Bread Crumbs) seasoned with a little cayenne pepper and onion powder, then baked them at 400 degrees about 15 minutes or so.



The result was crispy and tasty “fried” green tomatoes that pleased my feisty family.

My twelve year old son likes his tomatoes best cold.  It is nothing for him to eat one like an apple, but his most favorite way to have them is on a good old-fashioned BLT sandwich on lightly toasted Sunbeam bread.  
Add a little light Miracle Whip & smear of French’s mustard, and I think I could eat several of these right now.


But, I suppose my favorite way to prepare tomatoes in the summer is a lovely Caprese salad.  Using fresh tomatoes and basil right from the garden then pairing it with fresh (skim) mozzarella cheese, I think I could sit and eat an entire plate of this refreshing salad!
I think everyone prepares their Caprese salad a little differently.  For this one I layered my tomatoes and thinly sliced mozzarella cheese and then topped it with freshly ground black pepper, a very light pinch of Kosher salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil, and a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.  To finish it off, I shredded fresh basil on top for a fabulous accompaniment to grilled BBQ chicken for supper. 
At the end of the day we can’t possibly eat as many tomatoes as we have coming in the house, so canning them to carry on a little of this fresh flavor into the winter is a great solution.  Nothing brightens up a savory soup, stew or winter pot roast more than home canned tomatoes!
I like to cold pack my tomatoes which allows for me to do as few or as many at one time as possible.  Cold packing tomatoes is fairly easy, especially when you are using firm and fresh tomatoes. 
First, I prepared my jars by washing them, then boiling them in a large pot about fifteen minutes.  I usually put my lids in a separate pot to boil so that they are easier to access.  
While my jars are boiling I also prepare a pot of boiling water to drop my tomatoes in after I have rinsed them off and slit their skin a little.  I let them sit in the hot water about 1minute, then remove them to cool.  The skins should just slip right off!  
I try to remove as many of the seeds as possible and then dice my tomatoes.  
Removing each of the jars from their pot, I pack the tomatoes in firmly.  For each pint or 1/2 liter I add  1 Tablespoon of lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Finally I seal each jar and then process in boiling water for 20 minutes.  Since I am cold packing they need to process a little longer than necessary to heat through and seal. 
See, I told you it was easy!
{Very messy though.}

Linking up with Foodie Friday this week.
What is your favorite fresh summer treat?
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5 thoughts on “Tomatoes, Tomatoes, Tomatoes

  1. Oh I'm with your son all the way on this one…eat it fresh over the sink or have a great BLT on white bread. (We haven't had white bread in the house since forever, but I may make an exception.)

  2. I love tomatoes specially off the vine…I can't wait for mine. they are just coming out too..I would love to pack some fresh tomatoes. I love your little jars…Thank you for stopping by It was so nice to have you visit me…Have a great Friday and weekend..with love Janice

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