Creative Ways to Use Fresh Tomatoes

Too Many Tomatoes?

There’s nothing better than a just-picked, homegrown tomato or firm new cucumber—and August is prime time for Michigan’s bounty.

Packed with vitamins and nutrients, both tomatoes and cucumbers are excellent choices when you’re trying to include more fresh produce in your diet.

Tomatoes offer vitamins A, C and K, fiber, folate, potassium and lycopene, which has been linked with reducing risk for prostate cancer. Cucumbers provide a low-calorie crunch and are a good source of fiber and potassium.

Early in the season, it seems you can’t get enough of them. But whether you have a home garden or frequently visit farmers’ markets and roadside stands, you may soon get tired of the same old recipes. Here are some fresh new ways to take advantage of summer’s best.

Gazpacho with Watermelon & Cucumber

  • 4 medium-size ripe tomatoes, core removed
  • 4 cups seeded, diced watermelon
  • 1 English cucumber, diced
  • Up to 1 minced jalapeno, to taste (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup packed fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon each salt and black pepper

In a blender or food processor, puree tomato with 2 cups of the watermelon, oil and vinegar. Transfer to a bowl and stir in diced cucumber and remaining 2 cups watermelon. Stir in jalapeno, mint, salt and pepper to taste. Serve chilled. Makes about 6 servings.

Green Tomato Relish

Use this recipe with grilled meat or fish, burgers, sandwiches or anywhere you’d normally use relish; it’s great in tuna salad!

  • 6 medium-size green tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped vegetables, any combination of: cucumber, bell pepper, celery or cabbage
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pickling spice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups white or apple cider vinegar

In a large bowl, sprinkle salt over vegetables and mix. Let stand 3 – 4 hours. Rinse and drain vegetables thoroughly. In a saucepan, combine sugar with spices and vinegar and simmer to dissolve the sugar. Pour over vegetable mixture and portion into desired containers with lids.

Keep refrigerated; let sit one week before serving. Makes 4 cups; keeps 3-6 months in the refrigerator.


What are your favorite ways to use fresh tomatoes or cucumbers? Share a recipe with us below.

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