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Preparation: Step-by-Step

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Wash hands. Thoroughly rinse tomato in cold water to remove any dirt.

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Remove stem by slicing tomato in half with a sharp paring knife, then make a diagonal cut on both sides of the stem.

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Hold one end of tomato and slice the other end with a sharp knife to desired thickness.

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Cut slices again to dice to desired thickness.


  • Grow.
    Tomatoes are usually started from transplants. When starting indoors, consider a grow light as they require a lot of direct sunlight and temperatures in the 75-90°F range to germinate.
    Plant transplants 24-30 inches apart. Tomatoes do best when planted deeply. Even moisture is important to prevent cracking of fruit or blossom end rot, a common problem with tomatoes. Stake early and avoid excessive nitrogen. Add high phosphorous (5-10-5) fertilizer when fruits are one inch in diameter. For more growing information look for the MontGuide, Growing Tomatoes in Montana or call your local MSU Extension office.


  • For optimum flavor, tomatoes should be allowed to ripen fully on the vine. Tomatoes will change color when ripe
  • Look for the reddest, ripest tomatoes, and watch for bruises and blemishes. Tomatoes should be soft, heavy, and firm. Smell is the best indicator of ripeness. Remember, size is not an indicator of quality.
  • Tomatoes should be stored in a cool, dry place. Do not store in plastic bag. Store in a single layer, as stacking tomatoes may cause them to
    become mushy. If tomatoes need ripening, place them in a paper bag
    with a banana or an apple for a day or two—the gas from the fruit will
    help ripen them. Reminder: refrigerate and use within four days of slicing
    a tomato.
  • Most vegetables are rich in fiber and phytochemicals, but provide negligible amounts of saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol,
    and sodium and are gluten-free. Tomatoes are high in Vitamin A and C and are a good source of potassium, with 16 calories per
    half-cup serving.


  • Rinse and cut tomatoes in half, brush with olive oil, and place directly on a preheated (medium-high heat) grill. Cook about 6-8 minutes until soft, turning once.


  • Rinse, dry and eat on top of salads or in sandwiches. For a quick and easy sandwich, top slices of whole grain bread with sliced
    tomatoes, sprinkle with reduced-fat cheese, and broil on high for 3-5 minutes, or until cheese melts.


  • Place small or grape variety, or diced tomatoes in a plastic bag, drizzle with olive oil and desired seasoning. Shake until tomatoes are coated, then bake in an oven at 425 F until soft, about 5-8 minutes.


  • To enhance flavor, use basil, celery seed, chili powder, cumin, dill weed, garlic, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, tarragon
    or thyme.



For More Information:
Montana State University Extension:
MSU Extension Master Gardener:
MSU Extension Food and Nutrition:
MSU Extension Nutrition Education Programs:


Date of Publication: January 2014

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