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Over-abundance of cherry tomatoes.....suggestions???


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Every year I try planting/growing tomato plants. I've learned to do cherry tomatoes, b/c I never get very many, I'm the only one in the family who will eat tomatoes (unless cooked), and this has always given me just enough tomatoes at a time to eat on Triscuits, etc. 

This year I tried a different variety of plant, and it is producing like crazy. I have 2 plants, and at the moment I have dozens upon dozens of tomatoes ripening every day (each day this week, I've taken out one of our plastic containers for leftovers, and fill it up picking just what is perfectly ripe; there are that many again in the "orange but not all the way up" stage, and that many again or more still green....). 

*cherry tomatoes, not full sized tomatoes

Suggestions???? What can I do with them? Anything?? Start giving them away??  If I roast them with other veggies, some of the family will eat them (but I've already done that twice in the last few weeks; a sheet pan full of tomatoes, broccoli, peppers, and block feta cheese....delicious. But still not something the family wants to eat super often)

In past years, my tomato plants have kept growing/producing throughout the whole summer, so....I need LOTS of ideas of things to do. 

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Roasted tomatoes served over green beans (or, just as a side)

Bruschetta made with roasted tomatoes (basically, I make garlic toast and throw roasted tomatoes on top)

Gazpacho?

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Purée as they ripen and freeze in ziplock bags. You can use them stealthily in place of pasta sauce/in enchiladas/ in taco sauce/ in soups etc— just replace a portion of tomato product you’d normally use with your frozen stash. They’ll never be the wiser. 😉 

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1 minute ago, Selkie said:

I’d be making a big bowl of pico de gallo.

 

That's a good one -- I went over and dove into a friend's food blog, that I love, and she had a ton of recipes including one for pico/fresh tomato salsa. The guys will eat that, too, so I'll definitely do that one. 

I have literally pints upon pints of tomatoes, so I can try lots of things! 

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18 minutes ago, Junie said:

Roasted tomatoes served over green beans (or, just as a side)

Bruschetta made with roasted tomatoes (basically, I make garlic toast and throw roasted tomatoes on top)

Gazpacho?

Oh, I like the over green beans idea! That would work well.  And DH & I would both eat bruschetta, maybe one or two of the boys, too. 

I'll have to look up a gazpacho recipe....not sure. 

18 minutes ago, Carol in Cal. said:

I cut them in half and toss them in pasta right before serving sometimes.  I quarter them and put them in salads, too.

I've been doing that with my salads/side dishes, but raw tomatoes, I'm the only one eating them and it doesn't use very many at all to add to just my portion. Good idea, though, it's just that no one else eats them that way. 

13 minutes ago, livetoread said:

I slice them and toss with some soy sauce and sesame oil and let them sit a room temperature for a bit. Very simple but really good.

 

Oh, now this is good! The guys might try them that way, too. Kind of equal parts, or like making a vinegarette, or just a "to taste" thing....? I will have to try this one! 

9 minutes ago, Farrar said:

If you know how to can, you could make jarred salsa. There are lots of recipes. Could be a good for neighbors and teachers and so forth Christmas gift down the line.

Oh!! That's brilliant. DH has requested salsa, and I do have instructions around here somewhere on canning, so especially if I do the little jars, that could definitely be teacher gifts, etc. Brilliant! 

6 minutes ago, MEmama said:

Purée as they ripen and freeze in ziplock bags. You can use them stealthily in place of pasta sauce/in enchiladas/ in taco sauce/ in soups etc— just replace a portion of tomato product you’d normally use with your frozen stash. They’ll never be the wiser. 😉 

Okay, this is good, too. None of them mind tomato stuff in stuff, so that will work. And we have freezer space. I did not realize I could just puree and freeze like that -- thank you! 

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Tomato Cobbler!  (It is a savory dish and SO delicious.  I freeze a dozen bags of cherry tomatoes so I can make this all year around....)  And, I most often just make my own version of biscuit topping, with or without cheese.  Leftovers freeze and reheat beautifully.  Works as a side or main....

 

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1 minute ago, Belphoebe said:

I roast whole sheet pans full of them, peel of the skins, and then freeze them in quart bags. They make great spaghetti sauce, tomato soup, and chili 🙂

yes, I just found a recipe to do exactly that! thank you! I'm glad to hear it can work with cherry tomatoes (the recipe I found was for normal sized ones)

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Posted (edited)

Have you not made the feta thing that was everywhere a few months ago?  https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/a35421563/baked-feta-pasta-tiktok/

I tend to just toss them into freezer bags blanched and whole and deal with them later.  If you have a decent blender, you don't even need to worry about peeling them.  You can just blend them and the peels will behave a bit like tomato paste and thicken the mixture.  I'm too lazy to peel most of the time.  I do have an attachment on my kitchenaid that does that for me.  I like to roast them and run them through the puree thingy.

Edited by KungFuPanda
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9 minutes ago, VickiMNE said:

Tomato Cobbler!  (It is a savory dish and SO delicious.  I freeze a dozen bags of cherry tomatoes so I can make this all year around....)  And, I most often just make my own version of biscuit topping, with or without cheese.  Leftovers freeze and reheat beautifully.  Works as a side or main....

 

Holy cow, that sounds amazing. Thank you!!!

2 minutes ago, KungFuPanda said:

Have you not made the feta thing that was everywhere a few months ago?  https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/a35421563/baked-feta-pasta-tiktok/

I don't know if it's the exact same one, but yes, I've made something like that twice already. I could eat it weekly at least, the rest of the family, not so much.  (they eat the other veggies & feta, and pass me their tomatoes....)

I'll check this recipe and see if it's different enough. But seriously....I have enough tomatoes at the moment to make about 5 or 6 batches of it, at least, and that's just the last 2 days of picking tomatoes. And the plants are laden with easily 2-3 times that still, in various ranges of ripeness. 

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Just now, TheReader said:

Holy cow, that sounds amazing. Thank you!!!

I don't know if it's the exact same one, but yes, I've made something like that twice already. I could eat it weekly at least, the rest of the family, not so much.  (they eat the other veggies & feta, and pass me their tomatoes....)

I'll check this recipe and see if it's different enough. But seriously....I have enough tomatoes at the moment to make about 5 or 6 batches of it, at least, and that's just the last 2 days of picking tomatoes. And the plants are laden with easily 2-3 times that still, in various ranges of ripeness. 

I'm jealous!  I don't even have any green tomatoes.

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1 minute ago, KungFuPanda said:

I'm jealous!  I don't even have any green tomatoes.

Looking at your Zone, I think we're quite a ways south of you and so our growing season is much earlier & longer. If I could share with you, though, I would! 

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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, Kebo said:

Pasta with 15 minute burst cherry tomato sauce.  It's good, we've made it several times.  My husband loves it, but I cook it a lot longer than 15 minutes.  

https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/pasta-with-15-minute-burst-cherry-tomato-sauce-56390060

I do a similar one but with cumbled Italian sausage. 

And I came to suggeset the tiktok feta pasta as well. Was all the rage for awhile in my circles. I have a strong dislike for feta so that was a pass for us. It was so popular that it caused a feta shortage for awhile locally.

Edited by calbear
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4 minutes ago, Kebo said:

Pasta with 15 minute burst cherry tomato sauce.  It's good, we've made it several times.  My husband loves it, but I cook it a lot longer than 15 minutes.  

https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/pasta-with-15-minute-burst-cherry-tomato-sauce-56390060

 

Just now, calbear said:

I do a similar one but with cumbled Italian sausage. 

Oh, good idea! The guys would appreciate the addition of sausage. thank you! 

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3 minutes ago, TheReader said:

 

Oh, good idea! The guys would appreciate the addition of sausage. thank you! 

Some crushed red pepper in there if you like a little kick as well.

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1 minute ago, TheReader said:

Looking at your Zone, I think we're quite a ways south of you and so our growing season is much earlier & longer. If I could share with you, though, I would! 

Do your people eat chili?  I've made a vat of chili with fresh tomatoes and just froze what we couldn't finish.  I puree half the beans as a thickener, so I don't even have to cook the tomatoes down very much.  My boys are usually happy to have chili as long as they believe it has more meat than beans. 🙊 I'd suggest canning some salsa, but finding lids is a bit impossible right now.  I also LOVE chopped salads with loads of tomatoes, or tortellini salads with basil and tomato. But honestly, when you are overloaded, the easiest thing is to freeze them on a tray then dump in a big bag to use all winter.

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10 minutes ago, KungFuPanda said:

Do your people eat chili?  I've made a vat of chili with fresh tomatoes and just froze what we couldn't finish.  I puree half the beans as a thickener, so I don't even have to cook the tomatoes down very much.  My boys are usually happy to have chili as long as they believe it has more meat than beans. 🙊 I'd suggest canning some salsa, but finding lids is a bit impossible right now.  I also LOVE chopped salads with loads of tomatoes, or tortellini salads with basil and tomato. But honestly, when you are overloaded, the easiest thing is to freeze them on a tray then dump in a big bag to use all winter.

Do you have a recipe?

Better yet, do you have a cookbook?  You should write a cook book because your recipes are always exactly what I'm looking for. 

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15 minutes ago, KungFuPanda said:

Do your people eat chili?  I've made a vat of chili with fresh tomatoes and just froze what we couldn't finish.  I puree half the beans as a thickener, so I don't even have to cook the tomatoes down very much.  My boys are usually happy to have chili as long as they believe it has more meat than beans. 🙊 I'd suggest canning some salsa, but finding lids is a bit impossible right now.  I also LOVE chopped salads with loads of tomatoes, or tortellini salads with basil and tomato. But honestly, when you are overloaded, the easiest thing is to freeze them on a tray then dump in a big bag to use all winter.

One has given up beans, as he says they bother his stomach these days.  Which is sad, because I love chili. And beans. And that sounds amazing. 

Can you just freeze whole little tomatoes??? As-is? Or only if I first turn them into puree &/or sauce or something? 

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Just now, BaseballandHockey said:

Do you have a recipe?

Better yet, do you have a cookbook?  You should write a cook book because your recipes are always exactly what I'm looking for. 

For chili?  Not really.  I tend to just throw it together.  I started out using the McCormick chili packet and their recipe.  I think it's a couple cans of tomatoes, a couple cans of beans, a pound of meat, and the seasoning packet.  Along the way though, I ended up doctoring it so much and just using my own spices.  I also like to sauté an onion or two, some garlic, and any fresh peppers I have on hand.  I started pureeing one can of beans because Dh decided the bean-to-meat ratio wasn't right.  With one can of beans pureed, he thinks it is "just right."  (No, I've never told him that I do this. ) For spicaces without a packet, I use chili powder, cumin, and cayenne.  Chipotle powder is nice too if your family likes it.  For chili though, It's a lot of stirring and tasting until I like it.  I lean in hard with the smoky flavors, but that's not for everyone.

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10 minutes ago, TheReader said:

One has given up beans, as he says they bother his stomach these days.  Which is sad, because I love chili. And beans. And that sounds amazing. 

Can you just freeze whole little tomatoes??? As-is? Or only if I first turn them into puree &/or sauce or something? 

Absolutely.  I cut off the stems, blanch them to kill any cooties, then just freeze them on a tray until they're hard.  Then you can put them in a gallon freezer bag and just use them as you need them.  

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45 minutes ago, KungFuPanda said:

I'm jealous!  I don't even have any green tomatoes.

I just planted my seedlings this week. Earlier than normal because it’s been crazy hot.

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1 hour ago, Farrar said:

If you know how to can, you could make jarred salsa. There are lots of recipes. Could be a good for neighbors and teachers and so forth Christmas gift down the line.

👍 One of the best teacher gifts I received was chips and homemade salsa!  Nice break from so many sweets. 

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2 hours ago, MEmama said:

Purée as they ripen and freeze in ziplock bags. You can use them stealthily in place of pasta sauce/in enchiladas/ in taco sauce/ in soups etc— just replace a portion of tomato product you’d normally use with your frozen stash. They’ll never be the wiser. 😉 

I don't garden, but years ago when I had a little garden, this was one of the best tips I received. I did it for big tomatoes though. So fast and easy, and except (on the big ones) for cutting out the stem area, you just chunk them in the blender skins and all. No cooking or peeling required.

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1 hour ago, vonfirmath said:

Texas? austin-area? 🙂

I may actually be out that way in a couple of weeks.....hmm. If so, maybe I'll send you a PM and see what we can come up with 😉 (I'm TX, but Houston area)

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I've canned green salsa made with green tomatoes when I have an abundance; especially at the end of the year when it cools down here and they want to stop ripening.  I'd love to just have fried green tomatoes for dinner ALL the time, but I'm the only one in the house that will eat "that weird country food."

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1 hour ago, MEmama said:

I just planted my seedlings this week. Earlier than normal because it’s been crazy hot.

I've lost track of where you live.  Is your growing season that short or are you in a whole different hemisphere?

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Posted (edited)

I like eating cherry tomato salad with just balsamic vinegar on it.  Fig balsamic vinegar if I can get it.  Maybe with a little fresh minced basil tossed in.  I know your peeps don’t like tomatoes raw, but since you do, I thought I’d mention that as a way to have them in quantity and distinct from the standard ‘ingredient in a big salad’ kind of dish.

Edited by Carol in Cal.
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1 hour ago, Carol in Cal. said:

I like eating cherry tomato salad with just balsamic vinegar on it.  Fig balsamic vinegar if I can get it.  Maybe with a little fresh minced basil tossed in.  I know your peeps don’t like tomatoes raw, but since you do, I thought I’d mention that as a way to have them in quantity and distinct from the standard ‘ingredient in a big salad’ kind of dish.

Oh, this sounds good! Thank you! 

1 hour ago, Paige said:

You can make tomato jam for great grilled cheese sandwiches. It takes a ton of cherry tomatoes to make a few sandwiches but it's so good! You could add ham, or turkey or whatever if that's your thing.

https://cookieandkate.com/tomato-jam-and-mozzarella-panini/

oooh, I'll check that out! That would be very yummy, I think! 

1 hour ago, cjzimmer1 said:

Do you have a dehydrator?  Cherry tomato "raisins" are a delicious snack.

I do, and I have been wondering if I could dehydrate some.....I'll have DH try it for me! thank you! 

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2 hours ago, KungFuPanda said:

I've lost track of where you live.  Is your growing season that short or are you in a whole different hemisphere?

Coastal Maine. It’s a short but furious growing season. 🙂 

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For freezing I just wash, dry, de-stem, and lay on a cookie sheet. Package in a Ziplock when frozen solid. I don't bother with blanching....  I don't blanch when eating fresh.....

I also make dehydrated cherry tomato snacks. They work great as a savory tidbit, in salads, chopped up in breads/savory muffins, or anywhere dried tomatoes might be used.  Wash, dry, halve, lay on trays.  Sprinkle with some salt, some sugar, some basil, and drizzle the tiniest bit of olive oil over. (I have a special olive oil pourer--if you didn't have a way to spray or drizzle with control, I'd brush the halves FIRST with oil, then sprinkle with salt, sugar, basil.)  Dehydrate until pliable.  I store in the frig.  SO good.

If you didn't want to halve them, I would definitely prick them so the moisture can escape more easily.  Otherwise, it might take a very long time.....

I've also really enjoyed this Tomato Chutney recipe....  To my mind, it is a flavorful ketchup which is how I use it--any where I might want ketchup....  (As opposed to chutney eaten with Indian food)  I planning on making a triple batch this year.....

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I dehydrate cherry tomatoes every year.  I cut them in half and pop them in the dehydrator overnight.  I store them in zipper bags in the cupboard and use them as sun-dried tomatoes in pasta, on pizza, flatbread, etc.  If you warm a handfull in olive oil with a sliver of garlic you get an amazing sun-dried tomato oil to dip fresh bread in. 

Super simple, but there are a dozen variations of Tomato Toast.  Google brings up so many different ways to combine tomatoes and toast- you can defnitely use cherry tomatoes insted of full sized ones. 

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5 hours ago, VickiMNE said:

For freezing I just wash, dry, de-stem, and lay on a cookie sheet. Package in a Ziplock when frozen solid. I don't bother with blanching....  I don't blanch when eating fresh.....

I also make dehydrated cherry tomato snacks. They work great as a savory tidbit, in salads, chopped up in breads/savory muffins, or anywhere dried tomatoes might be used.  Wash, dry, halve, lay on trays.  Sprinkle with some salt, some sugar, some basil, and drizzle the tiniest bit of olive oil over. (I have a special olive oil pourer--if you didn't have a way to spray or drizzle with control, I'd brush the halves FIRST with oil, then sprinkle with salt, sugar, basil.)  Dehydrate until pliable.  I store in the frig.  SO good.

If you didn't want to halve them, I would definitely prick them so the moisture can escape more easily.  Otherwise, it might take a very long time.....

I've also really enjoyed this Tomato Chutney recipe....  To my mind, it is a flavorful ketchup which is how I use it--any where I might want ketchup....  (As opposed to chutney eaten with Indian food)  I planning on making a triple batch this year.....

This is all really helpful, thank you! I'll look at the Chutney recipe tomorrow. It sounds intriguing! 

4 hours ago, Lady Marmalade said:

I dehydrate cherry tomatoes every year.  I cut them in half and pop them in the dehydrator overnight.  I store them in zipper bags in the cupboard and use them as sun-dried tomatoes in pasta, on pizza, flatbread, etc.  If you warm a handfull in olive oil with a sliver of garlic you get an amazing sun-dried tomato oil to dip fresh bread in. 

Super simple, but there are a dozen variations of Tomato Toast.  Google brings up so many different ways to combine tomatoes and toast- you can defnitely use cherry tomatoes insted of full sized ones. 

This is also super helpful; I think I'll do a fair amount dehydrated, I love that option. 

2 hours ago, Seasider too said:

They make a great little gift for neighbors! We gave away a lot last year. 
 

I eat them right off the plant (organic garden, wipe with a cloth), they taste delicious warm from the sun! Years ago when we were the go-to house, the neighborhood kids would keep the crop harvested for me, they loved the little tomatoes and banana peppers and I loved providing a healthy snack bar. 
 

When we hit peak I make pico and simmer some with olive oil and herbs before tossing with pasta. 

Simmered sounds good! Most of my close neighbors also all garden, so I'm not sure anyone is lacking in tomatoes! 

2 hours ago, KungFuPanda said:

Ooooh, you can make panzanella! Would it be a stretch to even call that a salad?

I don't know if it's a stretch, but we did make that and everyone ate it. It's on the list to do again, but still.....so.many.tomatoes. 

1 hour ago, KathyBC said:

Cherry Tomato Chutney, if that is something anyone might enjoy:
http://www.indobase.com/recipes/details/cherry-tomato-chutney.php

Thank you! I'll look at this! 

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13 hours ago, Kebo said:

Pasta with 15 minute burst cherry tomato sauce.  It's good, we've made it several times.  My husband loves it, but I cook it a lot longer than 15 minutes.  

https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/pasta-with-15-minute-burst-cherry-tomato-sauce-56390060

I made multiple batches of this last year and froze it.  It tasted SO good in the middle of winter on a -40C night - a little bit of summer in our kitchen. 🙂  The fresh basil makes an enormous difference - make sure you use lots of fresh basil and fresh garlic. 🙂

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