The first ripe tomato of the season is like a shiny jewel, but by summer's end, an overabundance of tomatoes may cause them to lose some of their luster.
Here are some ideas from the Florida Tomatoes Committee:
Spread the good word
Small specialty-food companies have flourished in this day of Internet marketing, but a New England company that recently caught our attention got its first customers the old-fashioned way - through word-of-mouth.
Laurie Lynch of Portsmouth, N.H., made pepper jelly to sell at a friend's holiday fair more than 20 years ago. The jars sold within hours, word spread, and Lollipop Tree was born. The company makes preserves, sauces, baking mixes and salad dressings, many in unusual flavors such as Raspberry Ginger pancake mix or Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing. While business has grown, the products are still made by hand.
Items can be found at www.lollipoptree.com.
Ice cream brings welcome relief to summer's heat, but first it must be scooped out of the carton and dropped it into a bowl. Good Cook has developed an ice-cream scoop that makes the job easier. The Smart Scoop is a durable, all-metal tool with a nonstick coating that glides through the hardest ice cream, then smoothly releases it.
It's available at Target and national grocery stores.
Male dominance of the barbecue grill is over, Weber Grills suspects. The company reported that last year more women than men called Weber's Grill-Line for tips on barbecuing. In response, the company developed Weber's Girls' Guide to Grilling, a 40-page how-to booklet with recipes.
To obtain a free copy or for answers to your grilling questions, call the Grill-Line anytime between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. through Labor Day. The number is (800) 474-5568.
Make an easy garnish for cakes or mousses. Hold a pure chocolate bar over a sheet of waxed or parchment paper, and run a vegetable peeler down a long edge of the bar, letting the shavings fall on the paper. Milk and white chocolate are a bit easier to work with than dark chocolate because they are softer.