Ways to put your fresh tomatoes to good use

Tomatoes, a versatile and flavorful fruit, are a staple of many cuisines around the world. You'll find them in the marinara sauces of Italy, the tikka masala sauces of India, and the ketchup bottles of the United States. They're chock full of nutrients, and have been hailed for their health benefits. And frankly, they taste pretty darn good by themselves. But what do you do if your garden is overflowing with these red-orange wonders? Or if you bought too many and they ripened faster than you expected? Fortunately there are a myriad of options and formats for your leftover tomatoes. Here are some ways to put your fresh tomatoes to good use.

Cheddar tomato cobbler

If you happen to have a huge stash of cherry tomatoes on hand, this savory cobbler from Midwest Living is calling your name. It combines tomatoes with savory cheese and caramelized onions for a gorgeous dinner — what's not to love about that?

Tomato jam

Tomato jam may be simple, but it really allows the natural flavor of the tomato to shine. So if you're savvy with canning, this recipe from Epicurious is a great way to make delicious preserves. You can serve it on a cheese plate, use it as a filling for savory cookies, or simply spread it on toast for a bright, acidic kick. 

Grilled tomato melts

If you're looking for a stellar side dish to accompany your grilled meats, consider bringing sliced, fresh tomatoes to the party. You can either grill them or roast them in the oven — either method will suffice. This recipe from Midwest Living combines the acidic, tangy flavor of tomatoes with the salty, unctuousness of melted cheese — you can thank us later.

Homemade tomato chutney

Indian cuisine does beautiful things with tomatoes, and chutney is no exception with it's unique depth of flavor. And this recipe from the BBC is simple to make and delicious with hard cheese or stirred in with jasmine rice. Once it's done, you can store it in jars for as long as six weeks — bonus! 

Cucumber tomato avocado salad

You know it's summertime when tomatoes and avocados are everywhere. Bring cucumbers to the party, and you have a food combination that sings with its textural balance and cooling flavors. This recipe from Natasha's Kitchen highlights these ingredients in a delicious and healthy salad.

Fried red tomatoes

If you prefer to keep tomatoes in their natural state as opposed to blending them in a food processor, this recipe from Food is a great choice. This is especially great for heirloom tomatoes that are about to hit the ripening point, but any tomatoes that haven't yet fully ripened will do.

Roasted jalapeño salsa with fresh cilantro

Sure it's easy to buy salsa at the store, but it's so much better when you make it at home with fresh tomatoes. And this recipe from Epicurious summons classic flavors like roasted garlic and pounded chiles to recreate authentic Mexican salsa.

Fresh tomato bloody Marys

Bloody Marys are a favorite brunch beverage, with their savory spicy flavor and refreshing finish. Plus, the booze helps! This recipe from Epicurious uses fresh tomatoes to make a classic cocktail that's even a little bit healthy — and perfectly acceptable to serve any time of the day!

Roasted tomato and basil compote

Tomato compote is a great accompaniment for a variety of main dishes, like fish, poultry, or pasta. Plus, if you happen to grow basil in your garden, you can use up any excess along with leftover tomatoes, killing two birds with one stone. And this recipe from Food and Wine makes it super easy, too, to get a compote made with minimal effort and little fuss. 

Southern tomato sandwiches

You don't have to be an ace in the kitchen to make a Southern tomato sandwich properly. But you can sabotage yourself by getting too elaborate or making what seem to be artisenal culinary choices. For one, don't get too fancy with the bread — it should be simple and it should be white, not wheat or seeded. Additionally, don't sub out the mayonnaise for a spicy aeoli, and of course don't add extra veggies to the mix. This recipe from Real Simple lays it out perfectly, so dive right in and enjoy.

Gazpacho

Gazpacho is a super refreshing Spanish soup that's served cold, great for dinner on a hot summer night. If that sounds good to you, check out this recipe from Alton Brown at the Food Network. 

Ketchup

What better thing to do with your leftover tomatoes than make the quintessential American condiment that is ketchup? And this recipe from Food brings a host of spices to the party, making for a great depth of flavor. Achieving ketchup perfection can take up to six hours, but it's worth it.