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Divas on a Dime: What to do with a bounty of garden tomatoes

It’s that heavenly time of year every gardener loves. It’s finally cooling down enough for the tomatoes to ripen and explode into abundance.

When temperatures are over 85°F, the ripening process slows because lycopene and carotene, the pigments responsible for giving the fruit their orangey red appearance can’t be produced. That’s why they ripen in autumn here.

It’s going from famine to feast. What do we do with all these tomatoes?

Tomato Sandwiches. Few treats are sweeter than a perfectly ripe tomato. Splurge on some nice bread and slather with fresh herbed mayo. Add some thinly sliced cucumber and avocado. This is summer in a sandwich. Add bacon for the ultimate BLT.

Pico de Gallo. There is no cooking involved with this fresh salsa so it’s especially good when it’s still too hot to cook. No recipe needed, just chop up the tomatoes and add onions, jalapeno, garlic, and cilantro, toss it with a little lime juice and salt, add a pile of tortilla chips and you’re good to go!

Roast Tomato Soup. Take about eight tomatoes – cut in quarters, one sweet onion – quartered, a couple of carrots – chopped, a few cloves of garlic – smashed and place them on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and roast at 425°F until nicely browned but not burned, about 20 minutes. Place all ingredients in a blender and process to a soup-like texture. Pour into a saucepan and heat to a simmer, serve hot. Excellent with a grilled cheese sammie.

DIVA’S TOMATO JAM

This stuff is ridiculously delicious. Seriously. It will make you popular. Makes about 2 cups so double this if you want to be really popular.

What You Need:

2 tablespoons butter

½ cup sweet onion – minced

½ cup white sugar – divided

2 pounds good ripe tomatoes – coarsely chopped

1 cup light brown sugar

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon crystallized ginger – minced

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cayenne

Here’s How:

In a heavy-bottomed skillet on medium-high, melt butter, add onion and one teaspoon sugar. Cook until translucent. Add tomatoes and crank the heat to high for five minutes. This lets the tomatoes release a bunch of moisture. Keep them moving to avoid scorching.

Add the remaining ingredients and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring to incorporate. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally until the mixture has thickened to jam-like consistency. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. It won’t last that long. Makes a great gift.

Serve this on anything your heart desires! Great on crackers with cream cheese or goat cheese. Or you can serve it with chicken, pork, salmon, scallops, eggs or roasted cauliflower! Or eat it with a spoon when no one is looking. Delish!

Frugal Food by Patti Diamond from Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous! Website and blog – www.divasonadime.com Join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom.

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