Updated: Jul 13
What started as a diverse wild plant growing in the Andes Mountains eventually evolved into one of the world’s most popular foods– tomatoes! 
I love these versatile, delicious fruits that are easy to work with in the summertime. It’s a bonus if you’re able to get fresh tomatoes from a local farmer’s market or harvest them from your garden.
If your tomatoes are whole and almost ripe or ripe, store them at room temperature with the stems facing up. When stored at room temperature, the tomatoes will have the best flavor! 
You can store your tomatoes in the fridge if you’d like (in a breathable bag in the crisper drawer), but there is no need to do so unless they are nearing over ripeness. Once you cut up your tomatoes, then you should store them in your fridge in a sealed container, and they will be good to eat for at least 3 days.
If you find yourself in a situation where you need to eat up the tomatoes before they go bad, there are plenty of ways you can use them in tasty dishes.
Salads are always a refreshing and light option during the summer months, but do not fret if salads aren’t your thing! Below is a recipe for one of my favorite dishes – a simple tomato and basil bruschetta that also helps you finish the leftover bread in your home before it goes stale.
Classic Bruschetta Recipe 
Ingredients for Tomato Mixture
· 4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
· 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
· 4 large tomatoes, diced
· 1/4 c. thinly sliced basil
· 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar (optional)
· 1 tsp. salt
· Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Ingredients for the Bread
· 1 large baguette (or other leftover bread), sliced into ¼" thick pieces
· Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
· 2 cloves garlic, halved
1. In a medium skillet over medium-low heat, heat olive oil. Add sliced garlic and cook until lightly golden, 2 to 4 minutes, then remove from heat and let cool.
2. In a large bowl, toss together tomatoes, basil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and red pepper flakes. Add garlic and oil from skillet and toss to combine. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, toast bread: Preheat oven to 400°. Brush bread on both sides lightly with oil and place on large baking sheet. Toast bread until golden, 10 to 15 minutes, turning halfway through. Let bread cool for 5 minutes, then rub tops of bread with halved garlic cloves.
4. Spoon tomato mixture on top of bread just before serving.
 (SeedChange, 2019)
 (Storage - Save the Food, 2022)
 (Gore, 2022)