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4 Things to do With Your Extra Tomatoes

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It’s that time of the year again, when the summer heat has been working its magic, and the tomato plants are absolutely overflowing with bright, colorful fruit. Whether you’ve got your hands full of tiny grape tomatoes, some ripe Romas, or big old beefsteaks, you might be wondering what to do with those buckets and buckets of tasty fruit.

Luckily, tomatoes are ultra-versatile, and there are many ways to use them up, whether it be enjoying them fresh, storing them for future use in recipes, or pre-making dishes for easy dinners in the coming months. Here are some of the best things to do with your extra tomatoes.

Make Recipes Using Fresh Tomatoes

Fresh tomatoes add delicious, summery flavor to many dishes. Here are some of the quickest and easiest ways to enjoy your fresh tomatoes.

Pan Con Tomate

This classic Spanish tapas is quick to make and tastes delicious. Prepare just before eating and enjoy on the side of any summer meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 slice fresh artisanal bread (per person)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 fresh tomato (per person)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Toast the slices of bread and rub them with the garlic clove.
  2. Slice a tomato through the middle and rub the cut side of the tomato on the bread.
  3. Sprinkle over a little salt and drizzle with olive oil. Enjoy!

Fresh Tomato Caprese Salad

Make this crisp, fresh tomato salad for your next summer cookout.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups halved multicolored cherry tomatoes 
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt 
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar 
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper 
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt 
  • 1 oz. diced fresh mozzarella cheese (about 1/3 cup)

Instructions

  1. Combine tomatoes and 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt in a large bowl. Let stand 5 minutes. 
  2. Add basil leaves, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pepper, 1/4 teaspoon. kosher salt, and mozzarella.
  3. Toss ingredients together and serve immediately.

No-Cook Tomato Pasta

This easy tomato pasta is a tasty and satisfying supper for any summer evening.

Ingredients

  • 4 ripe tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Handful fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp fresh chives, chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Splash of extra virgin olive oil
  • Splash of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 chili, chopped (optional)
  • 1 cup cooked gluten-free pasta (per serving)
  • Grated parmesan or mozzarella cheese, for serving

Instructions

  1. Chop tomatoes and mix in minced garlic cloves, chopped herbs, salt and pepper, and a splash each of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. 
  2. Add chopped chilli, if using.
  3. Leave the sauce to stand for about an hour, then stir through hot pasta and serve with parmesan cheese or mozzarella.
  4. Alternative serving option: spoon the tomato mixture straight onto slices of crusty bread to make bruschetta.  

Make Comfort Food With Tomatoes

As the evenings get cooler, you may want to move from those fresh summer dishes to warmer, heartier fare. These comfort food dishes can be made ahead and frozen for later consumption, too.

Roast Tomato Mac and Cheese

This tomatoey take on the classic mac and cheese is homey and delicious.

Ingredients

  • Olive oil 
  • 5 plum tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices (about 16 slices) 
  • 2 Tbsp brown rice flour 
  • 2 Tbsp butter, softened 
  • 4 cups unsalted chicken stock 
  • 3 cups milk or milk alternative, divided 
  • 3/4 tsp salt 
  • 3/4 tsp Dijon mustard 
  • 18 oz. brown rice elbow pasta
  • 4 1/2 ounces (1/2 package) frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and halved 
  • 6 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups) 
  • 3 oz. fontina cheese, shredded (about 3/4 cup) 
  • 2.5 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated and divided (about 10 tablespoons) 
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat broiler to high.
  2. Arrange tomato slices on a baking sheet and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Broil 8 to 10 minutes or until tomatoes are lightly browned. Transfer tomatoes to a plate; set aside.
  3. Combine rice flour and butter in a bowl until a paste forms.
  4. Place a large high-sided sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add stock, 2 cups milk, salt, and mustard, stirring with a whisk. 
  5. Add pasta to pan; bring to a boil. Cook for about 12 minutes or until pasta is done, stirring frequently. 
  6. Stir in remaining 1 cup milk and artichokes; cook for 2 minutes. 
  7. Add butter-flour paste, in pieces, constantly stirring to blend and thicken. Remove from heat; stir in cheddar, fontina, 6 tablespoons Parmesan, and pepper.
  8. Arrange broiled tomato slices on top of pasta. Sprinkle with remaining 4 tablespoons Parmesan.
  9. Broil 2 minutes or until cheese begins to brown. Enjoy while it’s hot, or divide into portions and freeze.

Hearty Tomato Leek Pie With Quinoa Crust

For a lighter lunch or brunch for eight people, serve one slice with a simple spinach salad. For extra flavor, try tossing 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme into the crust.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa 
  • 1/2 cup almond meal 
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch 
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt, divided 
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided 
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten 
  • Olive oil 
  • 2 cups thinly sliced leeks 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 1 pound heirloom tomatoes, sliced 
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme 
  • 2 large egg whites, lightly beaten 
  • 1 oz. grated vegetarian Parmesan cheese (about 1/4 cup)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. 
  2. Place quinoa on a jelly-roll pan. Bake at 350F for 10 minutes or until golden brown; cool. 
  3. Place half of quinoa in a food processor; pulse 30 seconds. Transfer to a large bowl. 
  4. Add remaining toasted quinoa, almond meal, cornstarch, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; stir to combine. 
  5. Add 1 tablespoon oil and egg; stir until mixture is crumbly but holds together when pressed. 
  6. Press into bottom, and up sides of a 9-inch pie plate coated with a little olive oil, and bake at 350F for 5 minutes.
  7. Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. 
  8. Add leeks; sauté 3 minutes. 
  9. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. 
  10. Combine leek mixture, tomatoes, thyme, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl; let stand 5 minutes. 
  11. Add egg whites, stirring to combine.
  12. Arrange tomato mixture in crust; sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350F for 15 minutes or until filling is set. 
  13. Let stand 10 minutes, then cut into 8 wedges to serve.

Preserve Bulk Tomatoes For Future Use

If you’ve had enough of your tomatoes for this season, why not preserve them for future use. 

Freeze Tomatoes

Tomatoes may be frozen whole, sliced, chopped, or puréed. Do not try to substitute them for fresh tomatoes, however, since freezing causes their texture to become mushy.

Why not try this simple tomato passata recipe, which serves as a tasty base for soups, sauces, and more. 

Simple Tomato Passata

Ingredients

  • 5 lbs of ripe tomatoes, cut in half
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Fresh oregano or marjoram
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F.
  2. Arrange the tomatoes cut-side up in an ovenproof dish, so they are tightly packed but not on top of each other, then throw two or three chopped garlic cloves, a few sprigs of oregano or marjoram, and a few tablespoons of olive oil on top. 
  3. Add salt and pepper, then cook for about an hour (until the tomatoes have turned soft and pulpy).
  4. Pour the resulting gloop into a sieve, discard the skins and seeds, and store it in your freezer. Throw it into stews, soups and pasta sauce or just use it as a base for making extra-tomatoey tomato ketchup.

Other ways to preserve lots of tomatoes include canning, pickling, or dehydrating.

Make Bulk Tomato Recipes And Store Them

Tomatoes lend themselves really well to soups, sauces, juices, and condiments – so cook up big batches of these staples and put them away for future use.

Easy Roasted Tomato Soup

This easy soup recipe is great for keeping in the freezer. Pull it out for a quick and tasty lunch in the autumn or winter. This is a flexible recipe to use up as many tomatoes as you have. Simply roast and season to taste.

Ingredients

  • Leftover tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Broth of your choice
  • Herbs, fresh or dried
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Simply wash and chop your tomatoes, then place in a shallow dish.
  2. Roast in the oven at 400F until lightly browned. 
  3. Let the tomatoes cool, then blend them up in the blender.
  4. Add broth, and season with salt and herbs. 
  5. When it comes time to serve, some heavy cream or Parmesan cheese on top makes this soup extra tasty.

Other delicious recipe ideas to use up lots of tomatoes include tomato jam or chutney, tomato sauce, tomato juice, ketchup, or salsa. 

A bumper tomato crop can be exciting and delicious at first, but can quickly turn daunting and overwhelming. If all else fails, barter your extra tomatoes for something else, let your kids or grandkids sell them on the sidewalk for a little pocket money, or simply give them away for someone else to enjoy!

-Susan Patterson

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