4 Uses for Overripe Tomatoes
By Paul Rothbart
Fresh, local tomatoes are one of the joys of summer. Firm and juicy with that beautiful acidic flavor, they are great in salads and a nice pop of flavor to your favorite sandwich. Like any fruit, tomatoes continue to ripen off the vine. Eventually, they become a little too ripe. Or perhaps you were in a hurry when shopping and chose one with a bruise that you didn't see. It's a shame to throw away food. Fortunately, you don't have to. Here are four uses for overripe tomatoes.
A classic lunch, especially when paired with a grilled cheese sandwich, tomato soup is a great way to use those less-than-perfect tomatoes. It's nutritious, delicious, and easy to make. Saute some onions, shallots, or garlic in olive oil, then add your tomatoes. Season to taste and let it simmer. You can add some water or vegetable stock to reach your desired thickness. Another ingredient you could add is some cream. In no time at all you will have a tasty soup.
Another staple of many cuisines, using your beat-up tomatoes to make a sauce gives you an ingredient you can use in many dishes, especially with pasta. After boiling the tomatoes for a short time, peel them, chop them up, and let them simmer in a pot. The longer they cook, the more flavor develops. Add garlic, onion, seasonings, or vegetables to create your preferred sauce. You now have a homemade sauce without the excess sugar of many jarred sauces. You can use it over your favorite pasta or make your own pizza.
Strawberry and grape seem to be the most popular flavors but you can make a very tasty jam from tomatoes. Either simmer or roast them with a little sugar and salt and a touch of lemon juice. You can add other seasonings to make it sweet or spicy. Tomato jam is a delicious bread spread that you can use on toast or English muffins for a healthy breakfast side.
A Latin cuisine staple, salsa can be chunky, spicy and its bright flavor is great with tortilla chips or with nachos. Using a food processor or blender, combine the tomatoes with garlic, onions, cilantro, and some lime. Add some cumin for an authentic taste and some jalapenos or other peppers to make it as hot as you like.
It can be upsetting to throw food away. This includes tasty tomatoes that are a little too ripe. Try these suggestions to turn those past their prime tomatoes into delicious foods that you can enjoy with family and friends.
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