It’s nearing the end of peak tomato season. If you grow your own or buy garden-fresh tomatoes in abundance, you might be sick of plain tomato slices and salads by now. How can you use up the rest before they go bad?

At the second annual Tomato Fest, hosted recently by the University of Missouri Extension Office, Northwest Missouri Master Gardeners were on hand to share tomato and recipe samples, give presentations and answer questions about summer’s favorite fruit.

“Tomato Fest is a way to introduce the community to tomatoes and all about growing tomatoes, the different kinds of tomatoes,” Master Gardener and publicity representative Barbara Bramblett says.

She says more than 25 different heirloom and hybrid varieties were featured at Tomato Fest. Visitors could taste the different types and mark their favorites so they can purchase the plants at the Extension’s plant sale next spring. Heirlooms are hard to find at farmers markets and nearly impossible to find at grocery stores, so visitors were treated to the various flavors and colors the varieties offered.

“They’re all individual pieces of art,” volunteer Janice Mallon says.

Cindy Werthmuller says there are many ways to use the rest of your summer tomato stock. She suggests canning them, drying them or making homemade spaghetti sauce, soup base, salsa or caprese salads. At Tomato Fest, she and other volunteers handed out samples of fried green tomatoes, tomato herb dressing and tomato bread.

The Master Gardeners compiled an inexpensive cookbook for Tomato Fest with helpful tips and recipe ideas for those stuck in a tomato funk. Contact the Extension office at 279-1691 to inquire about a copy. They gave the News-Press permission to share a few of their favorites.

BLT Panzanella Salad

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

3 ounces Italian bread, crusts trimmed, torn into 1/4-inch pieces

3/4 cup fresh corn kernels

4 large ripe tomatoes, cored and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices

1 cup small multicolored cherry tomatoes, halved

1/8 teaspoon plus dash of kosher salt, divided

3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

1 cup baby arugula

3 tablespoons canola mayonnaise (such as Hellmann’s)

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons minced fresh chives

1/4 cup thinly sliced basil leaves

3 applewood smoked bacon slices, cooked and crumbled

Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bread; saute five minutes or until bread is toasted, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in corn.

Sprinkle tomatoes with dash of salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and let stand five minutes.

Combine remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, vinegar and oil in large bowl. Add bread mixture and arugula; toss to coat. Combine mayonnaise, lemon juice and chives in small bowl.

Arrange tomatoes and bread mixture on large platter. Drizzle with mayonnaise mixture; sprinkle evenly with basil and bacon.

— Master Gardener Barbara Bramblett, courtesy MyRecipes.com

Too-Many-Tomatoes Soup

10 very ripe tomatoes

2 cups water

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1 small onion

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon peppercorns

4 cloves

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 slices lemon

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup grated carrot

1/2 cup chopped green pepper

1/2 cup grated celery

Sour cream, to taste

Wash and quarter the tomatoes and put them in a soup kettle with water, parsley, onion, bay leaf, peppercorns, cloves, Worcestershire sauce, lemon and salt.

Crush the tomatoes a little with potato masher and simmer until soft, about 20 minutes. Put into a blender or mash through a sieve.

Strain out the herbs and add the vegetables; heat through. Serve warm with dollops of sour cream.

— Courtesy “Master Gardener Volunteer Cookbook,” 1994, by the K.C. Master Gardeners

Garden Tomato Bread

2 teaspoons active dry yeast

1½ pounds ripe tomatoes

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1/4 cup chopped parsley

2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

3½ cups whole-wheat flour

About 5 cups bread flour

3½ teaspoons salt

1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds

About 1/4 cup cornmeal

In large bowl, sprinkle yeast over 1 cup warm water. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.

Rinse and core tomatoes; cut each in half crosswise and squeeze juice and seeds into a bowl. Cut tomatoes in 1/2 inch chunks. Reserve 1/4 cup juice with seeds and 3½ cups chunks.

Add tomatoes, juice, tomato paste, parsley, sage, garlic, thyme, pepper, wheat flour, 3½ cups bread flour and salt to yeast mixtures. Beat with paddle attachment on low until well blended. Gradually beat in 1½ more cups bread flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until soft dough forms.

Beat on dough hook at medium speed until dough is smooth and elastic, six to eight minutes; or knead by hand on floured board seven to 10 minutes. Add pumpkin and sunflower seeds and beat or knead until just incorporated.

Place dough in bowl and cover with plastic; let rise at room temperature until doubled, 2 to 2½ hours. Punch down and let rise again, 1 to 1½ hours. Knead briefly and divide in half. Gather each half into a ball and stretch and tuck corners under to smooth out. On floured surface, cover balls loosely with plastic and let rise 1½ hours.

Sprinkle 13 x 17 inch baking sheet with cornmeal. Transfer loaves to sheet, spacing 2 to 3 inches apart. Slash a 1-inch deep X on each loaf. Place in lower third of a 450 degree oven. Spray a few squirts of water on floor or sides of oven, avoiding bulbs or heating element, and quickly close door.

Bake, spraying twice more at five-minute intervals in first 10 minutes, until crust is well-browned, 35 to 45 minutes total. Transfer loaves to rack to cool at least an hour. Store in paper bags at room temperature up to two days.

— Master Gardener Bea Dobyan, courtesy

Brooke Wilson can be reached at brooke.wilson@newspressnow.com. Follow her on Twitter: @SJNPWilson.

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