20 Tricks To Make Your Tomatoes Even More Delicious

There is something special about walking out to your bountiful vegetable garden to find bright, earthy colors popping through the green vines and stalks. One hue that stands out a bit brighter than the rest is red, thanks to those tall tomato plants.

Whether you anticipate bodacious beefsteaks or fancy a garden full of pretty plum tomatoes, there is nothing quite like the taste of a sun-warmed tomato you planted yourself. But, because not all of us are gardeners at heart, you can use your (not-so-green) thumb for other tasks at the farmers market. After all, in-season produce reigns superior always.

We understand that we can't all have top crops year-round, so sometimes, we have to improvise a bit to help improve things in the flavor category. But even during harvest season, when those fresh beauties are at peak flavor, there are many tasty ways to help tomatoes taste even more delicious. 

Keep things simple with flaky sea salt

Sometimes, embracing simple food combinations is the best thing you can do for your mind and body. Not only does it allow you to keep the stress off while in the kitchen, but you can appreciate the natural flavors that your ingredients offer that way.

Tomatoes picked during peak harvest season are exceptional compared to out-of-season mediocrity. However, there are two humble ingredients that can easily enhance the flavor of tomatoes — salt and extra virgin olive oil.

A decent sprinkle of flaky sea salt will help concentrate flavor by drawing out water and providing richer-tasting tomatoes. This method works wonders for hot baked foods like quiches and pies that celebrate the red produce. A drizzle of high-quality cold-pressed olive oil over the top will perfectly finish a splendid snack too.

Pair tomatoes with this unlikely perennial vegetable

Fresh herbs, garlic, olive oil, and salt are all common ingredients that pair beautifully with plump tomatoes, but there are some unexpected foods that help bring out the best in the famous fruit. Believe it or not, the sour stalky vegetable we call rhubarb does something special to tomatoes.

Typically rhubarb is used in hot sweet dishes like strawberry rhubarb pie. A unique complexity of flavor happens when you combine the sourness of rhubarb with the oh-so-sweetness of strawberries. Believe it or not, you can use the same method for a ripened tomato that is overly sweet. The tart stalks will help balance the tomato's flavor elements where they may be lacking. Consider adding rhubarb to tomato sauces, homemade ketchup, and barbecue sauces. You'll appreciate what the tart sour vegetable will do.

Hold on to that freshness with a tomato compound butter

Towards the end of harvest, many gardeners turn to preservation methods like canning and freezing to save that top-notch quality for out-of-season months. But have you ever tried preserving tomatoes with the help of butter?

The method might seem a bit different, but if you love butter as much as we do, then you'll have to give it a churn. Simply cook down a few tomatoes until they reach a paste-like consistency, then let the paste cool. Combine the cooled-down tomatoes with room-temperature butter and other choice ingredients. Roasted garlic, fresh basil, and onion all provide a lovely touch of flavor. The compound butter can be warmed and basted over grilled fish and seafood, spread on fresh slices of French baguette, or topped over a grilled steak.

Make a batch of sun-dried tomatoes

Another excellent way to preserve in-season tomatoes is by turning to Mr. Golden Sun for help. Making an authentic batch of sun-dried tomatoes is not only cheaper than buying them, but the quality flavor and ability to flavor them yourself are constantly superior.

This works great for your overflowing batches of cherry tomatoes and Romas because they are smaller. The key is to make sure your sun-dried batches of tomatoes are relatively uniform in size so each piece dries out at the same rate.

Slice and salt your tomatoes and let the sun do its job of drying them over several days. If you prefer your sundried tomatoes plumped in olive oil, you can rehydrate them by boiling them in water for a few minutes and patting them dry. From there, place your tomatoes in a jar and fill with extra virgin olive oil herbs and store them in your fridge. Sun-dried tomatoes taste lovely in cold pasta salads, hot pasta dishes, and over chicken entrees. 

A sweet balsamic glaze over sliced tomatoes transforms flavor

Balsamic glaze (also called a balsamic reduction) is quick and easy to make, plus it tastes fantastic during peak harvest season when tomatoes and other garden pickings are in their prime. If you already love the tanginess of fresh balsamic vinegar, you'll undoubtedly appreciate the nuances of a gorgeous glaze.

A traditional sweet balsamic glaze comes together in minutes with some help from some heat and patience. As the vinegar simmers over time, it will reduce until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Several recipes also call for adding one additional ingredient to help temper the tanginess and provide a sweetness like no other.

Brown or granulated sugar is often used for this, but you can also use honey or maple syrup in its place. All that's left to do is drizzle some of the sweet goodness over a few slices of tomatoes.

A smear of mayonnaise does something special

Whether you're hungry for a decent lunch or don't know what to make for dinner, tomato sandwiches save the day. There is something special about a few slices of fresh bread stuffed with juicy tomato slices, a bit of cheese, and some salt and pepper. Mayonnaise is one ingredient that does something even more exciting, and the creamy richness complements an in-season summer tomato like no other.

BLTs and club sandwiches are great examples of how the simple condiment pairs well with sandwiches that boast thick tomato slices. When making the sandwiches, you can use whatever tomatoes you have in your garden; we typically reach for heirlooms or beefsteak, but most varieties taste amazing.

Bring on the juiciness with a tomato and watermelon pairing

If you are always looking for new summer recipes to add to your collection, you'll have to consider this vibrant tomato pairing. Using two unlikely ingredients, raspberries and watermelon, you'll learn to whip up a vibrant salad that will make your taste buds dance in glory.

Juicy chunks of watermelon combine with sliced heirloom tomatoes, fresh raspberries, and ricotta cheese — because you can't have a salad without cheese. Fresh basil leaves also find their way to intertwine between each ingredient, bringing on a quality flavor. A homemade raspberry vinaigrette will be made up to help bring all the fresh ingredients together. The sweet, tangy dressing rounds out the dish and helps complement all flavors into one.

Bake up a fresh cheddar heirloom tomato pie

Most of us run to the granulated sugar, eggs, and sweet fruit when we think pie, but there's a savory selection your recipe collection is missing. Heirloom tomato pie combines an herby homemade pie crust with fresh sliced tomatoes, mayonnaise, and shredded cheddar to create a rich and flavorful dinner.

Consider it a cross between pizza and pie, using only the freshest garden ingredients you have. It's a lovely way to celebrate your garden's harvest and a unique recipe that will give you a bit of a daring edge. The recipe will walk you through each step, but make sure not to forget to sprinkle salt over your sliced tomatoes. This will help draw out the water and concentrate flavor — both essential for creating a superior flavor and texture combination.

Garlic and tomatoes are culinary besties

In case you didn't know, garlic and tomatoes pair beautifully botanically and culinarily. During the planting season, you'll have no problem planting tomatoes near garlic, as the two are considered great companion plants. Even after harvest, the two ingredients just can't get enough of each other, so you find yourself adding them both to many recipes. Whether you are whipping up a fresh bruschetta to top your fresh baguette or it's homemade pizza night, tomatoes and garlic always find their way to one another.

Tomato sauces, savory galettes, and homemade tomato pesto all benefit from this dynamic duo. Plus, your taste buds surely will appreciate the flavorful combination as well. Next time plan to make something with tomatoes; see how garlic will fit into the recipe.

Always top your baked mac and cheese with juicy slices

Baked mac and cheese has nostalgia written all over it. Little macaroni elbows folded into a homemade cheese sauce, then baked to a bubbly perfection; it's no wonder you loved it as a kid and still do today. But, there is one ingredient perhaps that you have never considered adding to this classic casserole, and it truly adds something unique to the baked dinner. If you already have a homemade macaroni and cheese recipe you love, follow the steps as usual.

Only next time you make it, consider adding thick juicy slices of beefsteak tomatoes over the top before placing it in the oven. A bit of sea salt and cracked black pepper cranked over the top will help enhance flavor too. The fresh tomatoes, which break down in the oven, help bring a delightful flavor to the dish. Between the cheese and tomatoes, you are looking at umami heaven!

Use up your leftover bread for panzanella

Panzanella comes in clutch when you have leftover ciabatta, fresh heirlooms, and other garden pickings. Together the ingredients create a colorful salad full of flavor. Plus, your bread will soak up all the leftover juices creating some of the juiciest croutons around.

The recipe is so simple. Prep your produce by cubing up a few heirlooms, cucumber, a shallot, and fresh herbs like dill and basil. Add red onion, garlic, chives, greek olives, and pepperoncini. Then cut a small section of bread into cubes and throw them in the oven until you reach a sheet pan of toasty croutons.

You will want to hold off on putting your salad together right before serving to ensure your toasty bread doesn't sog up too much. When your guests are ready, toss the veggies and bread cubes with oil and vinegar. A bit of sea salt and black pepper won't hurt, either.

Skip the fridge, save the sun-warmed heirlooms

Ever wonder if you're supposed to refrigerate tomatoes? While you can throw yours in the fridge, some studies have shown that doing so will alter the taste. When you put a freshly picked tomato in the refrigerator; the cold environment can cause it to go into shock, changing how it tastes.

So, if your grocery store has carts of in-season varieties, set them in a safe place on your counter instead. Otherwise, if you are fortunate enough to have a few tomato plants growing in your yard, let the sun do its job, and pick a fresh tomato right before using it. A garden tomato's fresh, vibrant flavor will always lead in the flavor category. Don't believe us? Consider testing the theory yourself — you will appreciate the sun-warmed freshies over the cold tomatoes all day.

Craft a sun-dried tomato pesto

There is only one thing better than an authentic batch of homemade sundried tomatoes — sun-dried tomato pesto or pesto rosso. With minimum effort, your little oil-drenched jar of tomatoes will blitz into a flavor-packed pesto that tastes amazing on several dishes.

The Italian classic is a pesto made with sundried tomatoes and replaces most of the basil hence the bright red hue. Other ingredients like grated parmesan cheese, garlic, pine nuts, and olive oil make their way into the batch, and what you'll reach is an umami-packed pesto.

While grilling, combine a few tablespoons with garlic butter for a lovely fish or seafood baste. Otherwise, toss yours in with your pasta, along with the help of a little leftover pasta water. You can spread some on a crostini or smear a bit in a hot panini too. 

Go with a classic Caprese combo

If you love munching on quality fresh ingredients, then there is no doubt you will love yourself a cold caprese plate. Soft, fresh mozzarella, delicate basil leaves, and juicy tomato slices create a delicious meal most cannot get enough of. You'll also find other simple ingredients like extra virgin olive oil, balsamic glaze, or balsamic vinegar that make their way over the top in a classic Caprese. Another straightforward way to enhance a classic Caprese is with a little salt and pepper.

If you're more of a sandwich person, consider throwing all these ingredients into a panini or a fresh ciabatta roll. The tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella taste lovely when enjoyed in a warmed naan or placed over a grilled chicken too.

Fire-Roast them for smoky goodness

If you love the flavor of charred tomatoes, you'll appreciate making a quick batch of fire-roasted romas. Making them is super easy and only uses a few ingredients. Fire-roasted tomatoes can be made a few different ways, but the easiest method is using your good old oven. Slice your Roma tomatoes lengthwise, then brush each slice with olive oil. Finish them with salt and pepper, then let your hot box do the rest.

The tomatoes will roast nicely at about 450 degrees Fahrenheit. You'll know they are ready when the red skins begin to blister and darken with black char marks in some spots. Use fire-roasted tomatoes for chilis, breakfast omelets, and homemade salsas, or place them in a tomato sauce.

Fresh herbs will do wonders

Fresh herbs help bring out the best in tomatoes, and you don't have to limit yourself to only one or two options. Some of the best herbs include basil, mint, cilantro, chives, and even dill; the meal you prepare makes all the difference in what herb you select.

For example, a fresh pico de gallo will take ingredients like jalapeño, onion, tomatoes, and seasoning, but it won't be the same without adding cilantro. The same goes for fresh guacamole. Don't make a fresh bruschetta without basil either; the entire recipe will taste off.

If you plan on making a grilled salmon dinner, consider topping your filets with homemade dill and tomato salsa finished with olive oil and salt. If you're looking for new ways to enjoy breakfast, consider making scrambled eggs topped with diced tomato and chives. The possibilities here are endless.

Goat cheese crostini's love tomato toppers

If you want a new way to enjoy your favorite soft cheese, do yourself a favor and craft a few crostinis. Slice a French baguette, then brush each piece with olive oil before toasting them in the oven for a few minutes.

Work on a simple tomato topper while they toast up in the oven. Combine diced tomatoes with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a small grated clove of garlic. Once each piece is toasty, crumble some goat cheese over each slice, then top with tomato mixture and finish with chopped chives.

The cold tomatoes taste lovely, but if you want a warm meal, you can place them back in the oven for a few minutes too. Both options deliver excellent results.

Give those tomatoes sexy grill lines

We are big suckers for tasty foods embellished with grill lines. There is something about the charred marks made by a hot dancing flame that gives your food a gorgeous aesthetic that also tastes amazing. Tomatoes are some of the most stunning to enjoy this way. 

Whether you're making a batch of grilled halloumi and tomato skewers or plan to throw one or two vines right over your scorching grates, you'll love the flavor outcome. In the hot months of summer, you'll especially appreciate that grilled tomatoes lend you the closest flavor substitute to fire-grilled tomatoes. They pair beautifully with other grilled vegetables, and you'll love eating them alongside a steak or topped over a pesto-dressed pasta dish.

Sweeten out-of-season tomatoes in the oven

We all find ourselves purchasing out of seasons during the colder months for specific recipes, and we all know the flavor won't be as good when we do. Out-of-season tomatoes tend to taste a bit bitter and don't shine as bright as in-season varieties.

However, Nigella Lawson has a nifty trick for sweetening them; it pretty much only requires patience. You'll need to get started the night before making your tomato-filled dish. She says to turn your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit while prepping your tomatoes. A bit of salt and sugar over your halved Romas is all it takes before placing your tomatoes in the oven. Then turn your oven off and return to sweetened tomatoes the following morning. The new flavorful results will shock you.

Sprinkle a bit of baking soda in your soil

There is one ingredient that will help your homegrown tomatoes taste sweeter, so if you consider yourself an avid gardener listen up. A little sprinkle of baking soda goes a lot way in the springtime when you plant your tomatoes, thanks to a little thing called science.

Sodium bicarbonate (aka baking soda) is an alkaline ingredient that counteracts acidic ingredients like tomatoes. So sprinkling a bit of the white powder in your garden soil will help lower the soil's acidity levels and create a neutral base for your tomato plant. The results will lend to less acidic tomatoes that actually boast a sweeter flavor. You'll also appreciate that baking soda also helps remove mold in soil and ward off insects.