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It’s tomato time!

A man slicing a yellow tomato.

Aug. 5, 2021—Summertime—and the tomatoes are plentiful. So plentiful, in fact, that you might feel swamped and wonder what on earth to do with all those plump, ripe beauties in your garden and at your farmers market.

First of all, savor them: They're bursting with flavor. They're also filled with health boosters, including vitamin C and vitamin A. Plus, they're low in calories, fat and sodium. So rather than letting tomatoes go to waste—that's just a shame—make them the stars of your meals and snacks this summer.

Time is on your side more than you may know: If you store ripe tomatoes at room temperature and away from direct sunlight, they won't spoil for about a week. Now, here are five suggestions from the Produce for Better Health Foundation and other experts. Do this seasonal staple justice by turning them into a:

  • Healthy tomato vinaigrette. Blend a chopped tomato, 2 tablespoons of vinegar, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of Dijon mustard and your favorite herbs (like basil or thyme).
  • Stewed side dish. Simmer a sautéed, diced onion; 1 tablespoon of olive oil; basil; a dash of salt and pepper; and about six chopped and skinned tomatoes.
  • Quick pizza. Top a whole-grain English muffin, pita bread or pizza crust with tomato sauce, reduced-fat cheese and sliced tomatoes.
  • Great gazpacho. In a blender, combine finely diced veggies—tomatoes, cucumbers, green onions and peppers—with tomato juice, a teaspoon of olive oil and a splash of cider vinegar. Pulse once or twice. Then chill the soup.
  • Roasted treat. Drizzle olive oil over grape tomatoes (or diced larger varieties), then season and bake at 425 degrees until soft, about five to eight minutes.
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