Before Jack Frost zeroes in on your garden, there’s still time to savor the tomatoes still clinging to the vine.

Trib Tips this week offers hints on how to slice them, dice them and more. We even offer up a tasty recipe that Christian singer Amy Grant shared with me a few years back.

Aren’t peeling well?

Peeling a tomato by hand is a royal mess. Try this method instead:

Cut a small “X” through the skin on the bottom of the fruit. Place the tomato in boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove with a spoon and quickly place into a bowl of ice water.

The skin should now peel off with no hassle.

Sheer neatness with shears

Cutting tomatoes on a cutting board leaves a mess no matter how you slice it.

When a recipe calls for chopped tomatoes, try cutting the tomato with kitchen shears directly over your measuring cup, bowl or pot. This saves a major mess and the extra step of swiping the tomato pieces into your bowl.

Simple slicing

Slicing cherry tomatoes can be a red, soupy mess, not to mention time consuming. To safely and neatly slice a batch of cherry tomatoes, place them between two round plastic container lids, with the bottom one flat on a table. Gently press down on the upper lid and slowly (and carefully) cut sideways through the fruit with a sharp knife.

Amy Grant’s favorite tomato pie

Grant says she can’t get enough of this tomato pie.

You’ll need:

— 9-inch frozen, unbaked deep-dish pie shell

— 3-4 medium tomatoes, sliced and patted dry

— Salt and pepper to taste

— 8 slices of bacon, fried crisp and crumbled

— 3 tablespoons fresh basil

— 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

— 1/4 cup mayonnaise

— 1/3 cup crumbled snack crackers

Preheat oven to 350. Thaw the crust for 10 minutes at room temperature. Place a single layer of tomatoes in the bottom of the crust. Sprinkle with bacon and basil. Repeat the layering.

Combine the mayo and Parmesan cheese and spread over the top. Sprinkle with crushed crackers.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the cracker crumbs begin to brown.

Have some favorite apps, household hints or savings secrets of your own you’d like to share? Or searching for a solution? We’d love to hear from you. Email Marie Havenga at mhavenga@grandhaventribune.com. Include your name, address and phone number. You may also snail-mail ideas to: Trib Tips, 101 N. Third St., Grand Haven, MI 49417; or call 616-847-2628.

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