11 Ways To Enjoy Homegrown Tomatoes This Summer

There is no tomato that tastes quite as good as one that's homegrown. They're fresh, redder, juicier, and rounder, and just generally full of tomato goodness. Even the reddest of store-bought versions don't begin to compare to those that come out of your backyard. Yes, they are really that delicious; if you haven't had one yet, go eat one ASAP. If you love veggies or the flavor of anything fresh, chances are this is the pinnacle of garden fare. Even if you don't grow them yourself, they can be readily found at a local farmer's market. There are also plenty of ways to eat these tomatoes so you can enjoy all of their flavorful goodness. Check out these easy recipes, including our farm-fresh favorites. From sliced and virtually plain, to dressed up and fancy, take your cooking to the next level while enjoying the best tomato flavors that summer has to offer.

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11 Sliced And Plain Or With Salt And Pepper

When tomatoes are this tasty on their own, why dress them up? Simply pop out the core and slice them up on a plate. If you prefer salt and pepper on yours (or just one or the other), get 'em flavored and enjoy with your favorite condiments. These alone can be a tasty snack, or you can save them in the fridge to enjoy a slice at a time. Add to sandwiches or enjoy with cheese and crackers.

10 On A Garden Salad

There's no denying that salads are the freshest and tastiest when the veggies are fresh. From the base layer of lettuce to the toppings you mix in, like carrots and cucumbers, it's all fresh out of the ground, local, and tasting great. Tomatoes are just another layer that can help bring in flavor and color. Better still, you can experiment with different sizes and colors for a different spin on a somewhat static idea. No matter how popular or how frequent you opt for this fresh tomato dish, it never ever gets stale.

9 As A Snack

Cherry tomatoes are perfect for eating when you're on the go. They're easy to pack for a lunch, simple to eat, and pretty much eliminate the mess of chopping of tomatoes. Just pop the entire thing in your mouth and enjoy – it's an easy and healthy way to snack. You can even dip them in dressing to add some extra flavor. Or enjoy them all on their own and satisfy your healthy food cravings with zero work and zero mess.

8 In A Pasta Salad

Or a bean salad, potato salad, etc. Whatever your choice of side dish, tomatoes can be a nice addition. One that adds flavor, nutrition, color, and plenty of visual appeal. Tomatoes, in general, are a great way to make your side dishes pop, but when they are homegrown tomatoes, you get the added perk of flavor. Yes, most tomatoes taste good, but not all of them taste near as great as those that are fresh off of the "farm." Even better, you can add in tomatoes for each of the favorite dishes you already know and love.

7 Make Tomato Sauce

If you have the time and patience to make homemade tomato sauce, homegrown veggies are prime ingredients. Your sauce will taste a million times better and the tomatoes are deeper, more saturated in color, too. Besides being fresher and longer lasting, and the sauce is fairly easy to make. Can your sauce and keep it for the long term – you can use it every time you decide to make spaghetti or lasagna – or opt for a single-time cooking usage. Either way, you're sure to be in for a tasty round of tomato sauce that's full of both flavor and nutrition.

6 Make Tomato Juice

When you're cooking or chopping up a tomato, you've likely noticed that there is an abundance of juice. It's everywhere, including the counter -- that stuff will not stay within its designated cutting board area. Rather than throwing all of that juice down the drain, however, you can save it for later use. Drink it, pour it into your beer for a tomato version of your favorite bar drink, and so on. Essentially, anything that you would use tomato juice in, you can use your homemade version. Simply put in a jar in the fridge for easy use.

5 Eat Salsa

There is absolutely no salsa like a salsa that is made with homegrown tomatoes. The same goes for pico de gallo -- it just tastes great with juicy, flavorful tomatoes added in. Using canned or store-bought versions, in contrast, offer a meal alternative. Or one that simply tastes artificial. While the untrained pallet might not be able to tell, once you've tasted the difference, you will know salsa with better tomatoes as soon as you taste it. Get on board with this recipe for an easy way to up your Mexican food and salsas game – you will definitely not be disappointed.

4 Make Pizza

Why not take your pizza to the next level and put tomato slices on your pie? Chop them up with other veggies or put whole slices right on top for big bites of veggie goodness. Pair with your homemade tomato sauce for a double dose of homegrown tomatoes with a single pizza recipe. You can also ask around and see if any local places do the same with their pies. That way you can enjoy all of the flavors, but without having to do much work.

3 Enjoy Like An Apple

Hey if you love tomatoes, why not jump right in and take a bite straight out of the entire thing? Believe it or not, a lot of people prefer to eat tomatoes this way. Some even sprinkle on salt and pepper with every single bite. Just beware of the juice – depending on the type, you could be in for an entire chin full of seeds, and maybe a shirt-full too. So long as you're ready and standing by with a napkin (or a few of them), this is a unique and tasty way to enjoy a tomato. And it's portable, too!

2 Oven Roast Your Tomatoes

This method is growing in popularity: roast your whole tomatoes and they make an awesome side. Think of roasted potatoes, onions, asparagus, etc., only with tomatoes instead of these classic versions. You can roast cherry tomatoes, larger or yellow sizes, etc., or mix them all together for a multitude of flavors and colors all in a single dish. You can also add tomatoes in other dishes for an easy way to spice up classic dishes.

1 Make Bruschetta

A classic Italian dish, bruschetta is an appetizer that folks have been enjoying for years. It consists of toasted bread, chopped tomatoes, and often an addition of herbs, oils or flavored vinegar. Maybe even a layer of cheese for good measure. And it's pretty dang tasty, no matter which combination you choose to order. But, when fresh and flavorful tomatoes are used with bruschetta, the entire appetizer comes together even better. Chop up your own favorite blends of tomatoes for an own take on bruschetta, or consider ordering it as an app the next time you're eating out.

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