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Nothing beats a fresh, locally grown tomato. Whether tucked between two slices of fresh sandwich bread, with mayo and a little salt and pepper or sliced over fresh green beans or corn, many of us look forward to that first bite of fresh tomato each summer. Below you will find a few recipes to help you enjoy local tomatoes. Scroll down further to find a link to instructions on preserving tomatoes.

Bruschetta  – A wonderful appetizer or snack

10 large fresh basil leaves, sliced thin or 1/2 teaspoon dried basil

2 cups firm, ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped (about 1 pound)

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/3 cup  olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 loaf French baguette

½ cup shredded parmesan cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 425°F. If using fresh basil, roll up half of the leaves; slice into very thin strips. Repeat with remaining basil. In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, basil, salt and pepper and set aside. Slice bread into angled 1/4-inch pieces. Combine olive oil and garlic; brush on bread slices and place on baking pan. Bake until lightly toasted, but do not over bake. Using a fork or small slotted spoon, top each piece of toast with tomato mixture. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Garden State Gazpacho – A refreshing chilled soup

6 large, medium ripe tomatoes, chopped

1 large cucumber, peeled & chopped

1 large red or orange bell pepper, seeded & chopped

1/2 large sweet onion, chopped

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 Tablespoon vinegar Fresh basil, to taste

2-3 cloves garlic, or to taste

Salt & pepper, to taste

Make it your way by trying any of these options:

1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded

Fresh cilantro instead of basil

Lime juice instead of lemon juice

Wash all vegetables thoroughly. Combine tomatoes, cucumber, pepper and onion in food processor and process until fairly smooth. Add the remaining ingredients & season to taste. Serve chilled.

Source:  Adapted from Rutgers University Extension.

Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Salad

Medium-large tomatoes, sliced thick (amount depends on your preference)

12 oz. or a large pkg. Mozzarella cheese, sliced

Fresh, large basil leaves (12-15)


Balsamic vinegar or Balsamic vinaigrette dressing

Directions: On a platter, arrange tomatoes, cheese, basil leaves; overlapping them. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Lightly drizzle with vinegar or dressing.

Source: Rutgers Cooperative Extension

Fried Green Tomatoes

⅓ cup flour or cornmeal (or a mixture)
1/2 teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon pepper
1 egg plus 1 teaspoon water
4 to 6 green tomatoes, cut horizontally in ½-inch slices
Vegetable oil

Combine flour, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish. Beat egg slightly with water. Dip tomato slices in egg mixture, then dip in flour mixture. Coat both sides. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When water dropped on the skillet surface sizzles, fry tomato slices, a few at a time, until golden. Turn and brown other side. Watch these carefully to avoid over browning. Drain on paper towels. Add more oil as needed. Source:  University of Alaska Extension.

Instructions for preserving tomatoes and tomato products