Tomatoes are so delicious, aren't they! Especially if they are grown in your own garden and go straight to your kitchen table! There are estimated to be over 10,000 tomato varieties and various culinary uses. They can be used for a fresh-picked snack, pasta sauce/paste, to make juice, to top salads, to put on sandwiches, and many other culinary dishes!
Not only are tomatoes yummy, but they are also full of vitamins and minerals such as potassium, copper, and Vitamins A, C, and K! They range in size from tiny cherry tomatoes that are quite the sweet treat, to giant monsters that weigh a few pounds!
If you are growing our Tomato Garden Starter Kit or Tomato Garden Seed Set, you probably have in mind some delicious meals you'll use them in. We put together 8 of our favorite recipes below, ranging from stuffed tomatoes to a bloody mary recipe, complete with detailed instructions, to give you even more tasty uses for your homegrown tomatoes!
1.) Colorful Caprese Salad Featuring Yellow Pear
Avoid the bellyaches of regular red tomatoes by using low-acid yellow ones instead. Easy to make in one simple step!
Put it all together:
Place all ingredients into a large glass bowl except for the basil and mix until everything is evenly coated. After mixing, place your salad in the refrigerator for an hour to allow the flavors to melt together. Before serving, sprinkle with fresh basil and serve.
This colorful salad is a perfect side dish to pair with steak and potatoes to cut the heaviness. If you're not the biggest fan of basil, garnish with a couple of sprigs of parsley instead!
2.) Super-Stuffed Brandywine Tomatoes - Greek Style
Get stuffed with these stuffed Brandywine Tomatoes that can easily be a main dish.
Precooking side work:
-Place your uncooked rice in a bowl to soak for 25 minutes before cooking
-Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
Dash your olive oil into your favorite shallow pan, heat it until it shimmers, and then add your minced onions and garlic. Reduce heat slightly to cook the chopped onions and garlic slowly; you do not want to brown these, soften them. When soft, toss in your favorite round meat and dried spices and cook until done.
Take soaked rice and add it to the meat mixture on the stove and the crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper, and liquids. Heat the mixture until it boils, and then bring it down to a simmer right away, covering it to allow all the flavors to meld together slowly. Simmer for 10 minutes (while it's simmering, you can do step three!) to let the rice begin cooking, but not completely; it will finish cooking in the oven. After ten minutes, add the fresh herbs.
Prepare your Brandywine tomatoes for stuffing by cutting their tops off and creating little hats that will perch atop the stuffing. Use a sharp paring knife to cut a pentagram shape around the stem and set it aside. After you've cut off the tomato hat portion, use that same knife to carefully slice into the inside of the tomato in a circular shape, making a cavern that you can easily scoop out with a spoon. Be careful not to cut too deeply into the tomato; you don't want to have to quit cooking and look for a band-aid! Take the tomato guts and set them aside; you'll use them!
Get stuffin'! First, make sure you have your 9" x13" dish ready to go by coating the bottom with olive oil and then sprinkling your tomato guts and sliced onion to the bottom, making a bed for the whole tomatoes to nestle into. Place your entire tomatoes on the pan and scoop that delicious meaty mixture into them one by one. After they're stuffed, sprinkle a pinch of salt on top for good measure, and then seal them up with their own little tomato party hats.
Allow your tomatoes to cook, covered, for 30-45 minutes. Take a peek at them, cheer them on, and then uncover them for the remaining 45 minutes. You may need to add a little water to ensure the rice cooks evenly. Your tomatoes will not look very tomato-like, but they'll be delicious and nutritious!
Sprinkle your favorite feta cheese on top and garnish with a few sprigs of fresh thyme for a polished look straight out of a fancy Greek restaurant
3.) Candied Black Krim Tomatoes - An Alternative To Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Sundried tomatoes have nothing on these fantastically flavorful tomatoes, and the best part is that the most challenging part about this whole recipe is remembering to change the oven temperature!
Get that oven ready to go by preheating it to 400 degrees. As it is warming up, take your tomatoes and whittle out the yucky middle part and toss it out, including the stem. Do not remove the seeds, though! Depending on the size of your tomato, you'll want to cut it into wedges that are meaty enough to stay together when cooked but so meaty that they don't soften up. Usually, six wedges are perfect, but you may have to adjust depending on size.
Prepare a metal pan (don't use glass or enamel, they just don't do the trick like metal does) by coating it with a thin layer of oil. Place your tomatoes, wedge side up, on the pan, and cover them with another thin layer of oil. Sprinkle it with salt, then pop them into the oven for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, bump that temperature down to 350 degrees, do not open the oven door. After another 30 minutes, bump the temperature down yet again to 300 degrees for another 30 minutes. Take a peek and if the edges of your tomatoes aren't slightly darker in color, give them another round of cooking, but this time at 250 degrees for 20 minutes. This slow cooking process will cause the tomatoes to tenderize without falling completely apart. Once they've turned a deliciously dark-red color, turn off the oven and allow them to sit before transferring them to your counter to sit for four hours.
Once your tomatoes have cooled, toss with remaining olive oil and fresh chopped herbs and use them immediately. If you're planning on using them at a later date, they freeze wonderfully. Just pop them into double-layers of freezer bags and save them for a rainy day!
Freezing these will allow you to have a taste of summer in the winter months when garden-fresh tomatoes aren't available. Use these as a substitute for canned tomatoes or even to top salads. They have limitless possibilities!
4.) The Creamiest Tomato Soup Ever
Create the creamiest Tomato Soup with your very own San Marzano Tomatoes
Warm the olive oil in a heavy bottom stockpot over medium. Add the onions and a dash of salt and saute until they become translucent. Then add your garlic, thyme, and basil and warm them until the kitchen has a delightful aroma.
While your onions are cooking, blanch your tomatoes to remove skins and then add them to your onion mixture, along with your bullion cubes, chicken broth. Bring the mixture to a simmer and allow it to bubble together into perfection for 20 minutes. After your timer dings, remove from heat and allow to cool.
5.) Glorious One-Step Green Tomato Jam
Skip bland ketchup and use this tangy green alternative instead! You may never go back to the red stuff again!
Step One: (and the only step)
Combine your diced tomatoes, local honey, sugar, vinegar, ginger, garlic, cinnamon stick, cumin, and chopped cayenne pepper in a large pot and heat it up until it starts to bubble in a magical combination. Once it angrily splatters, reduce it to a very low simmer and allow it to mellow out for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. After it becomes thick, transfer to the fridge to cool down before use.
Use this glorious jam as a topping for a thick pork chop! Simply plop a glob atop a roasted chop and garnish with a few sprigs of parsley for an upscale treat.
6.) Super Simple and Savory Soaked Cherry' Maters
Cherry tomatoes are the belle in this ball and no longer take a backseat to lettuce in this side dish.
Create your dressing by mixing the oil, sugar, salt, vinegar, and chopped fresh herbs together in a mixing bowl. Mix until the sugar completely dissolves into the vinegar and looks like something you'd buy at a farmers' market.
Drizzle your dressing over the quarters cherry tomatoes and mix them together until every single nook and cranny of the tomato is coated in your delicious dressing. Pop the bowl in the fridge for a few hours for the dressing to saturate the tissues of the tomato. Mix well before serving.
This salad is perfect for picnics, and as long as it remains cool, it will just get better the longer it sits and the tomatoes marinade. To jazz up this side dish, garnish with a few flowers off the Shasta Daisy from the Edible Flower Grow Kit to offset the otherwise dull red color.
7.) Bloody Mary-worthy Gold Jubilee Juice
With regular red tomato juice, sometimes the acid content can distract from an excellent Bloody Mary's other flavors. Making your own low-acid juice is the ticket to making head-turning cocktails at your next brunch!
Prepare your tomatoes by gutting the tough center out and discarding them. After the guts are gone, cut your tomatoes into quarters, skin and all.
Place your tomatoes, water, celery, onion, parsley, and bay leaf into a large dutch oven and bring to a rolling boil. When bubbles roll, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot with a heavy lid. Allow your mixture to cook for 30 minutes or until all of the veggies are tender.
Depending on your juice's desired consistency, either pour the mixture through a strainer or add it to a food processor and pulse it until it turns into a thick juice. If it is too thick after processing, run the mixture through a strainer. The pulp is where the flavor is! Add the remaining ingredients to your taste, adding a little at a time until your palette is happy. Serve chilled.
If using this low-acidity juice in a Bloody Mary, try using a Pepper flavored Vodka to give it an extra kick in the pants. Garnish with a few extra sprigs of parsley from your garden to cool the burn a little!
8. ) Aunt Ruby's Famous Pickled Green Tomatoes
In an ultimate "don't knock it to you try it" recipe, these tomatoes turn into something that can top any sandwich, hot dog, or dish just as well as any pickled cucumber can!
Bring the vinegar, water, salt in a large pot to a boil. As the water is boiling, place your spices at the bottom of three jars.
Prepare your tomatoes for the jar by slicing them into snack-able sizes, like wedges or slices (do not dice, as they will turn to mush). After cutting, pack them tightly into the jars and pour the vinegar mixture over them, enough to almost fill the jars, leaving only ¼" of room for air.
Seal the jars with the lid and transfer them into a hot water bath (240 degrees) to completely sterilize and seal the jars. When properly sealed, these tasty tomatoes can be stored for up to a year in the pantry.
Using pickled green tomatoes may take some getting used to, but you'll find that their flavor is a perfect complement to a juicy hamburger or even nestled between some lettuce and bacon on your favorite BLT. For a little extra taste, add a little bit of fresh cilantro and onion to create a tasty taco topper!
Want to grow your own tomatoes? You can view our 4-variety Tomato Starter Kit and our 8-variety Tomato Seed Set by clicking the images below!
Happy Tomato Eating!