Besides constant sunshine and backyard barbecues, one of my favorite things about summer is the produce! From crisp corn to juicy peaches, the bounty of delectable fruits and vegetables this time of year will make any food lover squeal with excitement. My absolute favorite item to eat in the summer, however, has to be the tomato. From the tiniest grape variety to gloriously bulging heirlooms, this vegetable-that's-actually-a-fruit is the star of my sandwich, snack and meal productions this time of year.
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Tomato Slicing Knife
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Fujiro Slicer Cutter, Stainless and Wood
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Rapid Slicer Food Cutter
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Joie Fresh Stretch Pod for Tomatoes
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Farm to Table Tomato Press
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Oxo Good Grips Food Mill
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If, like me, you want to make the most out of these glorious creations, I recommend getting a few of the following gadgets. Whether you want to slice your tomatoes, make homemade marinara or save them for later through pressure-canning, at least one of these items is sure to help you enjoy tomato season just a little more.
Sure, you can use your standby chef or carving knife to slice through tomatoes, but having a specialized number like this one means perfect, uniform discs or chunks every time. It's all about the thin serrated blade — this one's made out of surgical grade T420 high carbon stainless steel. And, thanks to its brushed-finish aluminum handle, it's sleekly pretty too.
One five-star review on Amazon said it's "the best tomato knife in the universe!" They continued: "This will be my second one of these items! The first one was a gift over 20 years ago. I have finally replaced it with a new one, and it’s just amazing how thin you can slice tomatoes and perfectly with every single cut. If you put it in the dishwasher you lose the beautiful brushed aluminum look on the handle. A quick soapy water wash and a paper towel dry will keep it beautiful for years."
Alternatively, you could also get a long serrated knife. This one from Fujiro is a favorite due to its length and quality of the blade; also, it can pull double duty as a bread slicer. Professionals like this chef love it, too: "This bread and tomato knife is the new darling of our kitchen at the great bar I work at in Las Vegas. I've had it for over two weeks and any positive review here is solid; this knife has seen a ton of action in a professional kitchen with impressive results."
We love the compact size, concentrated flavor and, well, cuteness of cherry tomatoes, but slicing them can be a tedious slog. Believe it or not...there's a tool for that! Just place your tomatoes in the tray, gently hold down the lid, and glide your long sharp knife sideways across — done! Oh, and the tray will retain all the juice, which you can then pour onto your salad or sandwich for added flavor. It's also great for rolls, English muffins and certain cuts of meat.
A parent said it's great for slicing food for their kids: "I’ve had this for a week now, but I wish I’d had it for four years. It makes cutting grapes, cherry tomatoes and other things a breeze! Especially helpful since I have a 3- and a 5-year-old and many things need to be cut up for safety."
Sometimes you only need one or two tomato slices for a sandwich or a salad, and you don't want the rest to go to waste or turn into a mushy, misshapen glob in your fridge. Instead of wrapping the leftover fruit in plastic wrap, you can simply stretch this Joie silicone cover over it. It reduces food waste, saves money, and minimizes foil and plastic use. It's also dishwasher-safe! According to reviews, it'll work on onions or apples too!
"This happened to be the kitchen gadget I didn’t know I needed," said one. "I love tomatoes but needed to find a way to keep them fresh because I never eat one in its entirety. A good friend recommended a tomato saver.... This gadget is easy to clean, very sturdy to contain (it uses a twist-and-lock method), and small enough not to take up much space in the refrigerator."
Have so many tomatoes you don't know what to do with them? Turn them into sauce! This tomato press will do just that. Simply feed them into the funnel, and turn the crank! You can use this to make salsa, marinara, tomato sauce and more. Been thinking of exploring the world of home canning? Here's your first buy!
A review said that this is a real time-saver: "We bought this product as a backup to one we have had for a couple years.... It removes the seeds and produces the thick liquid that we boil into sauce for canning. I still skin the tomato, but removing seeds is a plus. There is nothing like grabbing a jar of homegrown tomato sauce.... Canning is work but worth it, as I know exactly what is in the jar.... A great product!"
Here's an item that's both classic and state-of-the-art. This mill's stainless steel bowl is ideal for hot foods and doesn't stain like plastic can. It comes with three grinding discs and it has non-slip legs for secure placement over bowls and pots.
Amazon is full of five-star reviews raving about its ability to remove skins and seeds from tomatoes with ease. This is just one of them: "The Oxo food mill is easy to use — I've only used the largest screen so far and it easily cleans out all the tomato skins and most of the seeds. (If I want all the seeds out, I'll use one of the smaller screens.) I love the 'feet' as they spread out far enough to fit over my four-quart pasta pot."
.All you need to can a batch of tomato sauce is a stock pot, lots of jars and time. But if you're short on the latter, then a pressure canner could be just what you need A pressure cooker like this one from Presto is great not just for canning tomatoes but all kinds of low-acid fruits and vegetables. Of course, it also doubles as a boiling-water canner for fruits, jams, jellies...and, natch, as a stock pot for soups and stews!
"I bought this in the fall of last year and had to work up the courage to use it," said a five-star review. "I wish that I had started sooner. I have canned both meat and meatless spaghetti sauce. I have also canned meatballs with mushroom sauce.... It is a learning process, but I am looking forward to canning other meals to have in the cupboard."
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The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.
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