Author Topic: Need ideas on what to do with tomatoes.  (Read 11466 times)

Left

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Need ideas on what to do with tomatoes.
« on: September 02, 2013, 08:43:24 PM »
I planted 10 tomatoes earlier this spring, first time gardening and everyone said they were good/easy to grow. I have too many of them now :( I get about 3-4 cherry/roma and 1-2 large tomatoes a day. I can't eat them all. I grab the romas/cherry ones when I pass by them as a snack, and after a month of this, I'm plan sick of them. I make sandwiches with the larger tomatoes but that's becoming tasteless to me now too.

I have three or four paper bags of them all the time for the past month and I give them away to neighbors/coworkers and even the food shelter. But besides just giving them away, what can I do with them now? If anyone is in KC and wants some, they can come find me :)

Side note/complaint, my strawberries aren't growing :( They are spreading runners but deer keep eating the flowers so no strawberries. I'm tempted to shoot/posion them (i know it's illegal, but it doesn't stop me wishing them dead).

edit: and I've had spagetti for the past week and a half, made a large pot of sauce out of the tomatoes, and after pasta/meatball sandwiches, I can't look at another spagetti sauce until next year. I don't know what else to make :S I'm not all that fond of eating tomatoes. But the plants smell nice though.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2013, 08:46:20 PM by eyem »

geekette

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Re: Need ideas on what to do with tomatoes.
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2013, 08:59:56 PM »
You can freeze them for soup in the winter (drop in boiling water, peel, chop, and put in freezer bags). If you're into something different, tomato relish is good (the recipe I use has tomatoes, onions, peppers, vinegar, clove, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg). Great on meatloaf and lamb.


olivia

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Re: Need ideas on what to do with tomatoes.
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2013, 09:01:01 PM »
Do you like salsa?  You can make pretty tasty fresh salsa with tomatoes, onions, cilantro and garlic.  Add jalapenos for some spice.  Or what about a nice bruschetta?

Do you like fresh mozzarella?  You could make a caprese salad with fresh mozzarella, tomato slices and basil with olive oil and balsamic drizzled on top. 

Left

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Re: Need ideas on what to do with tomatoes.
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2013, 09:41:30 PM »
I'm not into salsa though. Isn't bruchetta just salsa on bread? :D But I'll try it. I've frozen some diced tomatoes already for winter.

I don't like mozzarella, but it does remind me of a salad that I've had before with diced tomatoes on it. I'll try to make it from memory, which consists of lettuce/crushed (or shaved) ice/dice tomatoes/balsamic vinegur/olive oil/lemon (for acid) and something minty (celantro?). I'll play around with it until I get it right. I remember it was fun to eat since it was first salad that I had with crushed ice in it. Gave it a nice cold/crunchy taste.

Know any asian dishes with tomatoes? I mostly eat asian dishes, or at least lots of steamed rice. I have a good tomatoes+eggs dish, but that's the only one I know :(

edit: while looking for the salad recipe, I came across this one http://casaveneracion.com/taiwanese-shaved-ice/, not a salad but I loved it when I was in taiwan too :D, was almost my nightly snack while i was there. Yeah I "ate" out a lot while on vacation there, but food was cheap and tastey.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2013, 09:47:37 PM by eyem »

EMP

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Re: Need ideas on what to do with tomatoes.
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2013, 10:06:12 PM »
You can freeze them whole. To peel just run the frozen tomato under running water and rub the skin off. You can also can them and can spaghetti sauce and salsa. I use tomatoes for everything so this is worthwhile for me.

KulshanGirl

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Re: Need ideas on what to do with tomatoes.
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2013, 10:26:07 PM »
I slice up all of my extra garden tomatoes and put them in the food dehydrator and store them in a jar.  Then I'll throw a little handful of those into the blender and grind it to tomato powder and add it to a jar of store-bought marinara sauce.  It makes the whole thing taste like home made. 

Left

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Re: Need ideas on what to do with tomatoes.
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2013, 10:27:47 PM »
hm didnt know they would freeze whole, thought the water content of it would crystalize it and tear it apart. It's why I diced it, so I could kind of dry them out ahead of time. I'll toss a few into the freezer and try them out next week and see how they taste after thawing

marblejane

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Re: Need ideas on what to do with tomatoes.
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2013, 10:59:36 PM »
Have you thought about making gazpacho? You might not care for it if you don't like salsa, but there are endless variations to it, so you could adjust the texture/taste to your liking.

kimmarg

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Re: Need ideas on what to do with tomatoes.
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2013, 05:18:51 AM »
Sauce for pasta. Just cut them up, add a bit of onion, basil, etc and cook em down. If they have a bigger stem you can take the little nubbin/indentation out but the small ones I just leave the nubbin on. Just cook it down until its thick enough and Putin freezer bags. (Pro tip- put the baton a cookie sheet while it freezes so it will freeze flat, then once it is solid you can stack it. )

If you want smoother sauce you'll need to put it through a food mill (not hard, I got one at a yard sale). Personally I can my sauce as the work now makes life easier later, but do s you like. Canned goods don't use freezer space either. Tomatoes can be canned in a boiling water bath (eg really big pot) but you do need to follow directions to add a bit of lemon juice, etc to ensure the acidi is ok for long term storage.  Your county extension will have good directions (altitude matters too, but I don't think you are so high in Kansas City?)

Wish I was near, I'd come take them off your hands. I've done probably around 30lbs so far is year and I could use 30 more. Soups... Pasta sau ce... BBQ sauce....

jrhampt

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Re: Need ideas on what to do with tomatoes.
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2013, 06:35:31 AM »
We've been getting a ton of tomatoes from our inlaws' garden.  Here's my top favorite easy things to do with tomatoes:

BLTs
Tomato salads (variety of these - I like them with some goat cheese and basil with a balsamic dressing, but also the caprese salads)
Bruschetta

I love tomatoes and can easily eat 1 or 2 large tomatoes per day for the duration of summer and not get tired of them.

Basenji

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Re: Need ideas on what to do with tomatoes.
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2013, 06:45:10 AM »
+1 on making tomato sauce and freezing in portions so you can pull it out, boil some pasta and have dinner.

Also, tomatoes are good for canning, you don't need a special canning pot, just a tall pasta pot and some ball jars. It is so easy. I used to think canning was complicated, it's not. What's so great about canning is you don't fill up your freezer and you don't need to thaw to eat and cook with the tomatoes.

R62

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Re: Need ideas on what to do with tomatoes.
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2013, 07:20:29 AM »
Asian dish with tomatoes, from Grace Young's Stir Frying to the Sky's Edge:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMlTjW-gywE.   Haven't watched the video clip, but we make this dish from the cookbook on a regular basis and can recommend the recipe.

Tomatoes are extremely easy to can for use later - diced or sauced:  http://www.freshpreserving.com/recipe.aspx?r=149 .   I skip Step 2 (removing the peels), and just dice and cook down a bit before canning in a water bath.  Do not forget the additional acid (lemon juice or citric acid), as this is a requirement for safe water-bath canning of tomatoes.

NumberCruncher

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Re: Need ideas on what to do with tomatoes.
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2013, 08:45:41 AM »
We eat a ton of dishes with a base of steamed rice, too, and most of them involve tomatoes! Curry is your friend :)

We don't really use recipes, so much, more like stir fry vegetables, add spices and tomato (or tomato + coconut milk) base.

http://simpleindianrecipes.com/RecipesByCategory/VegetarianGravies/TomatoBasedCurry.aspx  Those are just the vegetarian ones - looks like they have some meat ones too.


Russ

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Re: Need ideas on what to do with tomatoes.
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2013, 08:49:46 AM »
start going to bad comedy shows

Sweet Betsy

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Re: Need ideas on what to do with tomatoes.
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2013, 08:54:46 AM »
hm didnt know they would freeze whole, thought the water content of it would crystalize it and tear it apart. It's why I diced it, so I could kind of dry them out ahead of time. I'll toss a few into the freezer and try them out next week and see how they taste after thawing

In December when you haven't had a fresh tomato in months you won't care if the quality degrades slightly by freezing them.  You'll be kicking yourself for not freezing more.   Frozen tomatoes are great in sauces and stews. 

EMP

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Re: Need ideas on what to do with tomatoes.
« Reply #15 on: September 03, 2013, 10:20:40 AM »
hm didnt know they would freeze whole, thought the water content of it would crystalize it and tear it apart. It's why I diced it, so I could kind of dry them out ahead of time. I'll toss a few into the freezer and try them out next week and see how they taste after thawing

Oh, the texture is terrible.  They just turn into mush, but they're good for cooking and it's a lot less work than canning. 

Left

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Re: Need ideas on what to do with tomatoes.
« Reply #16 on: September 03, 2013, 10:25:40 AM »
Hm I'll try canning later in summer then. I thought it would be hard, thought you had to pasterize it or something >.> but it sounds like you just add acid and pour it in a jar and put the lid on? I'll research the speifics before I attempt it.

I'll try the curry. I never used coconut milk in curry before, bet it'll taste nice and sweet. I just stir fry about 4 large cut up tomates and half a dozen eggs (scrambled) together in a pan. Then put it on the rice.

I keep thinking I could dig up the tomatoe plant and grow it indoors for winter >.> since the farmer said it was indeterminate and would keep growing until the frost killed it. I kept wondering if I took it indoors where frost wouldn't kill it, and provide it light, would it keep growing year round?

kdms

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Re: Need ideas on what to do with tomatoes.
« Reply #17 on: September 03, 2013, 11:29:01 AM »
People grow tomatoes year-round in hydroponic systems and greenhouses, so why not?  Bear in mind that they need quite warm temperatures to do anything, though, so you might want to consider your heating bill before you decide it makes a nice houseplant.  You'll also need the right spectrum light if you want it to keep producing, as well as the appropriate fertilizer to replace the used nutrients it'll suck out of the potting soil.

I just finished canning 50lbs of tomatoes (we eat lots of pasta here, and I figure one more 25lb case will get us a quart to use every 1-2 weeks for our annual supply) and one thing you could try that I haven't seen listed here is make your own ketchup.  I've never bothered because it takes a huge amount of tomatoes to make ketchup, and I'd rather use the tomatoes for other things.

Easy canning instructions for crushed/pureed tomatoes: cut out the core, any blemishes, throw into a food processer (I don't bother peeling, it's a pain), pulse into mush, pour into a pot and heat it up for around five minutes to get it hot.  Put 2 tbsp of lemon juice into a sterilized quart jar (I stick my clean jars in the oven at 210F to get them nice and hot and keep them there until I need them), pour the hot tomatoes into the jar.  Wipe the rim of your jar with a clean wet paper towel to get any food off the rim, or your seal might not take.  Center your previously simmered clean lid (this sterilizes the lid and softens the rubber so that you'll get a good seal to the glass) and screw the ring down finger-tight.  Processing: put your now sealed jar in a pot tall enough so that you can completely cover the jar with water by at least a half-inch.  Inch is better.  Fill the pot with hot water, and bring it to a boil.  Once it starts boiling, you need to keep it covered with water and boiling (having a lid on the pot helps with that and reduces splashing) for 45 minutes to ensure food safety - tomatoes are one of those on-the-line fruits that need a little help pushing it into the safe acidity zone, which is why you add the lemon juice (or another acid booster).  45 minutes for quarts, 25 minutes for pints (and the pints only use 1 tbsp of lemon juice).

This is just my method - you'll find lots of other processes that differ in the details but are all essentially the same.  Almost all will say 'peel' - this is because some claim that the flavour and the texture of the skin is unappealing when it's cooked, and it doesn't look very good either (which I agree with.)  However, because I can my tomatoes as a crush/puree mix, the skin just disappears into the mix and I've never noticed a difference in the taste.  Saves a huge amount of time, plus we're getting whatever nutrients are in the skin - if any.

Misstachian

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Re: Need ideas on what to do with tomatoes.
« Reply #18 on: September 03, 2013, 12:15:54 PM »
My summer glut favorite: Tomato Almond Pesto. We freeze it before the cheese is added, and just make a note to ourselves on the container that we'll need to buy cheese the week we're going to use it. It takes no cooking, which is nice for summer, defrosts really well, and if you grow your own tomatoes and basil, doesn't cost much! Plus, you get the taste of summer in the cooler months.

Pasta with Tomato and Almond Pesto (Pesto Alla Trapanese)
Serves 4 to 6

If you don’t have a food processor, a blender may be substituted. In step 2, pulse ingredients until roughly chopped, then proceed with the recipe, reducing processing times by half.

Ingredients

    1/4 cup slivered almonds
    12 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes (about 2 1/2 cups)
    1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
    1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 teaspoon)
    1/2 tsp red wine vinegar + 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
    Table salt
    1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    1 pound pasta, preferably linguine or spaghetti
    1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup), plus extra for serving

Instructions

    1. Toast almonds in small skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until pale golden and fragrant, 2 to 4 minutes. Cool almonds to room temperature. (Or buy already toasted.)
    2. Process cooled almonds, tomatoes, basil, garlic, vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, and red pepper flakes (if using) in food processor until smooth, about 1 minute. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula. With machine running, slowly drizzle in oil, about 30 seconds.
    3. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt and cook until al dente. Reserve ˝ cup cooking water; drain pasta and transfer back to cooking pot.
    4. Add pesto and ˝ cup Parmesan to cooked pasta, adjusting consistency with reserved pasta cooking water so that pesto coats pasta. Serve immediately, passing Parmesan separately.

Hope someone enjoys!

Catbert

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Re: Need ideas on what to do with tomatoes.
« Reply #19 on: September 03, 2013, 03:20:44 PM »
Dry the cherry tomatoes.  I use a dehydrator but you can also use an oven at very low temperature.   Most people store at room temp, however, I put in the freezer after losing a batch in storage to mold.  A quart freezer bag will hold a lot of dehydrated tomatoes.  Use in soups, pasta sauce, pizza.

Panzarella (sp?) salad.  Chopped room temp tomatoes with basil, onion, wine vinegar, olive oil and grilled/toasted bread.  Variations abound but also use tomatoes and bread.   

sassy1234

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Re: Need ideas on what to do with tomatoes.
« Reply #20 on: September 04, 2013, 08:07:14 AM »

totoro

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Re: Need ideas on what to do with tomatoes.
« Reply #21 on: September 04, 2013, 08:15:03 AM »
Sorry it is not Asian but I'm making 70 pounds of tomatoes into canned salsa.  Easy and can be used as salsa or added to chili.  Also good as a gift. 

I also dry cherry tomatoes and freeze them after.  You can use them as a pizza topping or in pasta dishes.

theSchmett

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Re: Need ideas on what to do with tomatoes.
« Reply #22 on: September 04, 2013, 08:15:56 AM »
Juice!

Or give them to a local food pantry / soup kitchen. Or bring them into work or other regular gatherings people will LOVE you.

kimmarg

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Re: Need ideas on what to do with tomatoes.
« Reply #23 on: September 04, 2013, 09:31:57 AM »
So what did you do? I've got 7 pints in the canner right now....

mm1970

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Re: Need ideas on what to do with tomatoes.
« Reply #24 on: September 04, 2013, 11:17:38 AM »
I would can it if I had the time.  A couple of years ago we got 30 lbs from our CSA "Upick" day (which is tomorrow this year!) and I canned spaghetti sauce and salsa.

It really didn't make much - a few quarts of sauce and a few pints of salsa.  But man, the spaghetti sauce was good over the winter.

Left

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Re: Need ideas on what to do with tomatoes.
« Reply #25 on: September 04, 2013, 01:22:46 PM »
hm, I made tomatoe juice :) I'm still working on the canning, the first one didn't go well, >.> found out that I can't substitute a blender/food processor with an egg beater/meat tenderizer/manual labor... so I'm going to have to hit up parents for their's. Apparently, it isn't the same as making mashed potatoes lol. But I got the above mentioned tomatoe juice out of it.

Hillcrester14

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Re: Need ideas on what to do with tomatoes.
« Reply #26 on: September 05, 2013, 02:53:38 PM »
I have this same dilemma on my hands. At the present I am making delicious pasta sauces and freezing them.

pbkmaine

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Re: Need ideas on what to do with tomatoes.
« Reply #27 on: September 05, 2013, 03:01:59 PM »
I make what I call tomato salad. Cubed tomatoes, celery, onion, sliced olives, a little oil and vinegar, salt and pepper. Add stale bread cubes and a bit of basil and you can call it Panzanella.  You can make your own tomato soup and freeze it in quart sized freezer bags. Or make tomato sauce and freeze that. Or dry your tomatoes in a low oven or with a food dehydrator.

Frugally-raised

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Re: Need ideas on what to do with tomatoes.
« Reply #28 on: September 06, 2013, 08:07:19 AM »
In my neck of the woods, it's turned out to be an excellent year for tomatoes, so I understand the stress of dealing with the deluge.

I make large batches of tomato sauce and soup and freeze it. My favorite method is to oven-roast tomatoes and a few other veggies (especially onions) that have been tossed in olive oil. Then into the food mill, and into the freezer.

I eat tomatoes at every meal, including breakfast! (Sliced tomatoes on bread for breakfast, or cherry tomatoes on their own.)

All of which means that I'm utterly sick of tomatoes by the end of September, and am not tempted to purchase them at a grocery store throughout the winter. (They generally are quite horrid, and expensive, too!) So, stuff yourself sick while you can.

And don't grow things you don't love to eat!

Note: for the person who wants to move the plant indoors—it can be done. But you will need a very large amount of light to keep the plant healthy and producing (really a LOT of light) and warmth (mid-70s). Not sure if you will have to hand-pollinate.

mm31

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Re: Need ideas on what to do with tomatoes.
« Reply #29 on: September 07, 2013, 12:21:58 AM »
I don't consider canning tomatoes unless I have at least 100 pounds of tomatoes. Canning is simple but has multiple steps that make it almost a waste of time if you're not doing it with large quantities of tomatoes. Otherwise we just pure and freeze them, or freeze them whole.

I know people that make ketchup with them, but it takes a lot of time as the tomatoes have to be cooked down for a long time.

vern

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Re: Need ideas on what to do with tomatoes.
« Reply #30 on: September 07, 2013, 09:23:09 PM »
Greek salad! 

The main part  is made with tomatoes and cucumbers.  Then add some green peppers, kalamata olives, onions, and a slab of feta cheese.  (Anchovies are optional.)  Drizzle the whole plate with some good olive oil and top with oregano.

Serve with some good bread and a dry white wine.


Elaine

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Re: Need ideas on what to do with tomatoes.
« Reply #31 on: September 08, 2013, 12:31:27 PM »
You could preserve them very quickly (Faster than traditional canning) if you simply chop them, put them all in a pot, with a bit of water (not too much), cover and cook down. Then put them in mason jars (I know some people prefer bags, but mason jars are fool proof because they won't allow freezerburn), let them cool with lids off. Once everything is cool put them directly in the freezer, just make sure to label. Use them the way you would use "crushed tomatoes", or defrost and puree for tomato puree, add garlic after defrosting and some salt and you'll have pasta sauce, puree and add a bit of sugar, basil and oregano for pizza sauce, add curry powder for quick and easy curry, add to soup stock for a tomato and veg (or chicken) soup.

IMO- the key to preserving is to preserve the food in it's most simple form, that way it can be used for a million things. If you season it heavily or refine too much then you are narrowing the ways you can use it later.

girly mustache

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Re: Need ideas on what to do with tomatoes.
« Reply #32 on: September 08, 2013, 12:42:55 PM »
For smaller cherry size tomatoes - I wash and let them dry then freeze them on cookie sheets - after they are frozen I put them in a freezer bag. I use then throughout the winter as an add in item to egss, quiche, soups, sauces, etc... They are not like fresh - you need to use them in an application where you would cook them - but they are a bright little burst of sunshine in the winter :)

theSchmett

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Re: Need ideas on what to do with tomatoes.
« Reply #33 on: September 08, 2013, 03:37:01 PM »
Thanks girly mustache, we have more cherry tomatoes, and this year smaller than expected tomatoes than we know what to do with.  And if the weather here (NJ Shore) holds its goinig to be another bumper crop.

Left

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Re: Need ideas on what to do with tomatoes.
« Reply #34 on: September 15, 2013, 09:11:11 AM »
I made 2 gallons of tomato juice! it doesn't taste like V-8, but I love it. I don't know how V8 taste like that, but mine wasn't that thick, it almost taste like strawberry juice. I added some orange juice to it to sweeten it more too.

And I only have 1 gallon left after 12 hours :( I'm going to need more tomatoes

Monkey stache

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Re: Need ideas on what to do with tomatoes.
« Reply #35 on: September 15, 2013, 10:58:54 AM »
You could also give them to your neighbors or donate them to food shelves.

Dicey

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Re: Need ideas on what to do with tomatoes.
« Reply #36 on: September 15, 2013, 07:14:34 PM »
First, DON'T store them in paper bags [insert screaming sound here], as it hastens the ripening process. A basket or two in a cool place will make them last longer.

Next, easiest freezer method: Clean, core, cut in quarters, drain in a colander (save juice, it's delicious) and dump into quart-size freezer bags. When you defrost them, they will be watery (pour it off and add to soups or stews). The skins will slip right off and you will have yummy tomatoes that still taste like summer. Use for sauce or anything that does not require a firm texture. You'll be so glad you did that you'll want to plant more next summer.

I just made a batch of Sunflower Seed Pesto today. Can't wait to try Misstache's Tomato Almomd Pesto. Sounds delicious!

Dicey

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Re: Need ideas on what to do with tomatoes.
« Reply #37 on: September 16, 2013, 02:35:36 PM »
Just found this favorite recipe, courtesy of Tamara at Early Retirement Journey. It calls for romas, but you could use any kind, particularly if they're home grown. I made this for a party and people are still asking for the recipe.


Double Tomato Bruschetta   
8.5 oz jar of sun dried tomatoes in oil   
4 oz. fresh basil leaves   
4-5 cloves of garlic   
1 & 1/2 cups of freshly grated Parmesan cheese   
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil   
2 lbs fresh Roma tomatoes, diced   
1/2 cup good quality balsamic vinegar   
2 tsp kosher salt   
1 tsp fresh ground pepper

   Place sun dried tomatoes (including oil in jar) and garlic in a food processor and pulsate until all ingredients are chopped fine. Add basil leaves and process again until chopped fine. Add parmesan cheese and process again until chopped fine and mixture looks smooth. With food processor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until the mixture reaches a soft, spreading consistency.

    In a very large separate bowl, add diced Roma tomatoes, then add salt and pepper. Mix gently, add balsamic vinegar and gently mix again. Add sun dried tomato mixture and gently mix again.

    Enjoy on crackers, bread, or on grilled chicken or fish. (Place on already grilled meat as a topper - don't cook this mixture as it's best eaten fresh)