By Scaron
Created March 16, 2017

Fresh tomatoes are just starting to emerge here in the Northeast. I am not talking about the ones grown in hothouses, but the ones grown outside on the vine, where they are sun-warmed and ripened. Those are the ones that true tomato lovers wait all year to experience.

This year is my second year growing tomatoes in my raised bed garden. Last year, despite the Late Blight that affected many tomatoes in Connecticut and beyond, I was able to harvest a few pints. So far this season, I have collected as many. Here's to a great tomato season.

So, what will I be doing with the tomatoes once they are ripe?

Well, slicing tomatoes like Green Zebras, Beefsteak and Brandywine, are fabulous with just a drizzle of really good olive oil and a sprinkle of course sea salt. They are also delicious with slices of fresh mozzarella and fresh basil.

And, of course, there is the ubiquitous BLT sandwich -- which is perfect for a breezy summer afternoon. I like to build mine on slices of ciabatta bread with good bacon and some Boston Bibb lettuce. YUM!

But I also try to save tomatoes for during the rest of the year too. To that end, I make and freeze Tomato Basil Marinara. In the past, I have also made tomato paste, which was delish.

When plum tomatoes come in season, you can bet that I will be making many, many batches of Slow-Roasted Plum Tomatoes. The fantastic, dried little tomatoes have so many uses. You can eat them alone as a snack (which I do often!). Or put them on crackers with a sliver of asiago or Romano cheese. You can also chop them and add to pastas. Another idea? Make a crostini with a little pesto, a tomato and some fresh mozzarella.

Oooh. They really are good.

What do you do with your tomatoes?

Looking for more tomato inspiration? Check out these recipes.

Sarah W. Caron (aka scaron) is a food writer, editor and blogger who writes about family-friendly foods and raising a healthy family at Sarah's Cucina Bella.