The autumn bounty of homegrown garden tomatoes by the bushel almost seems unfair because there are often too many to use before they spoil. Imagine the bright, flavorful goodness of a wedge of ripe tomato as the side dish for your scrambled eggs, grilled ham and cheese sandwich or dish of Welsh rarebit. Instead of being a seasonal pleasure, you can have the intense flavor and sun-seasoned goodness of tomatoes from your own garden all year long.

Clever cooks have come up with some fast, sophisticated and diabolical ways to make tomatoes a year-round staple, but none packs more flavor and comfort food appeal than stewed tomatoes. The concept is simple: clean tomatoes, cut them into sections, add a few flavor enhancers like salt, pepper and sugar, and cook them long enough to for their flavors to deepen. Twenty minutes at a light simmer will do it, but some seasoned cooks make it an all-day affair to give their stewed tomatoes added richness and depth.

Stewing tomatoes is a wonderful way to turn a big tomato harvest into hearty winter fare or the secret ingredient in prepared spaghetti sauces, stews, minestrone or chili. Once prepared, stewed tomatoes will hold well in the fridge for a few days. They're a great canning and long-term freezing candidate, too. If your tomatoes are plump, juicy and ready for a makeover, you can stew them to perfection either on the stove, in the oven or in a slow cooker. You'll be surprised at how easily you can integrate soft, succulent fresh stewed tomatoes into your recipes. They'll keep their vivid flavor and make a lively addition to your cooking ingredient arsenal.