Tomatoes, like nothing else, just scream “summer” to me. Summer brings the bountiful abundance of home gardens and farmers markets, nothing is more sought after than “homegrown” tomatoes.
Whether or not they are the huge beefsteak or petite cherry, vintage heirloom or modern hybrid, they always have a sweet and juicy taste you can’t forget.
Tomatoes, called pommes d’oro, or “love apples” by the French, are on many tables in the thick of their growing season in June and July.
The high acidic content of the tomato makes it an ideal candidate for canning. This is one of the main reasons tomatoes are the most canned vegetable in the world.
Iconic American condensed tomato soup was introduced in 1897 by Joseph Campbell. Campbell had struggled with a way to distribute the product that was inexpensive to make but costly to ship. So, he removed the water from the finished product and invented “condensed” soup. This version set the company on the road to wealth as well as further endearing the tomato to the general public.
This changed the whole tomato soup world…
How to Eat Fresh Tomatoes
Tastes and traditions vary widely about the best way to eat fresh tomatoes. A quick internet survey finds this:
- Caprese style – with fresh mozzarella, basil and balsamic dressing, thick sliced with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- A few connoisseurs say eaten like an apple, no seasoning required.
- The overwhelming most popular way to eat a tomato is served in a BLT sandwich; salty crisp bacon and juicy sweet tomato with the cool crunch of lettuce served on soft white bread. (Maybe served with a side of Mr. Campbell’s condensed soup? Heaven.)
Cooking Fresh Tomatoes
Try this recipe for a delicious tomato pie. This is a great way to use those blemished or small tomatoes.
- 1-1/4 pounds plum tomatoes about 5 large, cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 1 pastry shell 9 inches, baked
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil OR 1/4 cup pesto sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup shredded fresh mozzarella
- 2 bacon strips cooked and crumbled
- 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
- Place half of the tomatoes in pastry shell. Top with onions and remaining tomatoes. Sprinkle with the basil, salt and pepper. Layer tomatoes, mozzarella and basil or pesto; leaving 1-1/2 in. around the edge. Sprinkle with bacon and Parmesan cheese.
- Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until tomatoes are tender. Yield: 8 servings.