Now is the best time to take advantage of the sweet, earthy, juicy flavor of tomatoes. Discover more than 10 ways to eat and prepare tomatoes this summer from Cristina Ferrare.
I prefer to eat tomatoes only during the summer months when they are sweet, the seeds aren't bitter, the skin is thin and they actually taste like a tomato! I always compare tomatoes to the ones I would eat as a child. Growing up in Cleveland, we only ate tomatoes in the summer because they just weren't available in the winter months. I couldn't wait until spring when I would beg my dad to take me to the garden center to buy packages of seeds for my garden. I would plant basil, parsley, thyme, oregano, onions, lettuce, cucumbers, zucchini and three different varieties of tomatoes.
Ah, the tomatoes from the garden! One of my favorite things to do was to pick a ripe tomato, take out my little tiny shaker of Morton salt (the company use to make individual small shakers of salt that you could carry in your pocket), break open the skin to expose the inside and sprinkle the salt over the opened area. I would pull off a fresh basil leaf from the thick rows growing right next to the tomato vines, pop it into my mouth and then take a big, juicy bite out of the sweet, vine-ripened fruit!
There was something about the way the tomatoes smelled while still on the vine—so earthy and clean that it would literally shift my mood upon inhaling it and had a calming effect on me. To this day, the flavor and aroma is indelibly ingrained in my taste buds. The only way to enjoy that same distinctive flavor is to eat tomatoes that are grown organically in a home garden. If you don't have a garden, the open farmers' market in the summer will have great-tasting tomatoes. They're not quite as spectacular as the ones pulled seconds off the vine, but at least they are flavorful.
Personally, I love the beefsteak, Roma, heirloom and the tiny baby cherry tomatoes:
Get more ideas for how to use tomatoes in delicious dishes this summer