There’s no such thing as having too many tomatoes, but it does pay to be prepared for the onslaught. The fruits are just beginning to ripen in East Coast gardens, so we have about two weeks to get ready for tomato mania.

Until then, take advantage of near-ripe varieties by making fried green tomatoes. Green ones appear in September and October (when there isn’t enough heat to fully ripen those still growing), so now is a great time to test and refine your techniques for the main event. A dollop of goat cheese on top with some torn fresh basil and cayenne powder will balance the tart flavor. Or keep the stove off by making a raw tomato sauce. Dice fresh tomatoes, and mix them with olive oil, finely chopped garlic and basil, along with some rosemary and sage.

The ruby-red prizes will start popping up in the next two weeks, so below is a primer to the tools you’ll need to can the fruit to have year-round.

What to have on hand:

  • Colanders (for proper ventilation as you store tomatoes on the countertop)
  • Large bowls
  • Paper bags (for ripening)
  • Freezer bags (for quick storage)
  • Canning jars and lids
  • A food processor or blender
  • 1-2 …read more

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