— 22.10.2018

How to use a tomato during every stage of its life cycle

It’s never been more important to take care of our planet, and at Respect Food, we are all about making the most of produce. Fresh fruit and veg are critical to a balanced diet, but it can be hard to use them at that moment of perfect ripeness.  This may be part of the reason that in the EU we waste an average of 35 kg fresh fruit and veg per person annually! You can find out more about taking care of fresh produce here, or keep reading to learn how to make the most of your delicious tomatoes.

How to use a tomato during every stage of its life cycle

Tomatoes are one of Mother Nature’s tastiest and most versatile ingredients, which is why it’s easy to find yourself buying way more than you can eat – more than you think you can eat, anyway. The good news is that tomatoes are delicious to eat and cook with at all stages of their life-cycle: you just need the right recipe.

Underripe

Underripe tomatoes are great because their firmer texture makes them less likely to fall apart when cooked. Fried green tomatoes is a classic Southern dish that is both fresh and comforting. Simply slice your tomato and dip those slices in a beaten egg, before covering in breadcrumbs. The great thing about using breadcrumbs is you can easily add whatever herbs and spices your heart desires. I like to give mine a kick with some Harrisia and finish everything off with a zingy squeeze of lime.

Ripe

When they are at their “best”, tomatoes are simply perfect on bread with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. The Spanish have a phrase: “Ser mas verdad que pan con tomato“ (more truth than bread and tomato), a way of saying something is the real thing. Use whole slices, smash or blitz, before spreading on toast. You’d be hard pressed to find a simpler and more authentic snack.

Sweet and juicy ripe tomatoes are perfect to throw into a salad. If you have an abundance of them and a dehydrator this would be a great time to use both: dried tomatoes are a great way to add flair to any pasta dish. You can find more information on dehydrating foods here.

Sweet and juicy ripe tomatoes are perfect to throw into a salad. If you have an abundance of them and a dehydrator this would be a great time to use both: dried tomatoes are a great way to add flair to any pasta dish. You can find more information on dehydrating foods here.

Overripe

A tangy salsa is a great dish for using up overripe tomatos. Just chop them up and lightly blitz in a processor before use a sieve to strain out any liquid. Then you can add in onions and seasoning and anything else you want. Try chopping in some mango, for a fruity twist, or check out this great lentil salsa recipe.

Really over-ripe and bruised? You can always turn them into a tasty sauce: just cook down any other vegetables you’d like, add the chopped tomatoes and season to taste. If you want to store it, pouring a little olive oil on top helps seal it for longer, and makes it perfect for using as a pasta sauce. Or you could crack a few eggs in and let them poach for a light, warming, Shakshuka.If you’re short on time, why not try out this no-cook tomato relish?

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