If you’ve been growing your own tomatoes, you may be amazed at how quickly you can go from impatiently waiting for the first taste of that ripe fruit to suddenly wondering what in the world you’re going to do with all of them. Tomatoes ripen pretty much all at once, which means at this time of year, you may not even be able to give them away.
So, what do you do?
Make ’em into tomato paste
Making tomato paste is fairly simple. You might want to use your less-than-perfect tomatoes, and just cut out any bad spots. Next, core them, squeeze out excess seeds, place them into your food processor and puree. Then, put them into a large covered, heavy pot and cook for two to three hours, or until you can stand a spoon up in the paste. Leave overnight with the lid off, and then spoon the paste into ice cube trays.
Place into the freezer, and when they’re frozen, put them into Ziploc bags, where they can be stored in the freezer for later use. As many recipes call for just a small amount, this way you won’t end up with a lot of excess after opening up a can just to use a tablespoon or so.
Tomatoes can also be frozen whole for later use – they’re great in winter soups and stews. Just wash your tomatoes and put them into a gallon Ziploc bag, place them on a cookie sheet and put them in the freezer. When you use one, just run it under a little hot water; then it can be chopped up and used in recipes.
Invite your friends, neighbors and family members over to an end-of-summer barbecue, and feast on grilled tomatoes. Don’t use extremely ripe tomatoes, as they won’t hold up as well while grilling. Grilling fresh tomatoes from the garden provides a wonderful, naturally sweet and smoky taste. They’re great to eat alone, or on a burger or sandwich.
There are many recipes online, but this is a great, basic one to get started with.
- 3 pounds of tomatoes, cored, halved and seeded
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin, organic olive oil
- Sprig of fresh thyme, chopped
- Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, as desired to taste
First, preheat your grill to as hot as possible. Next, toss the tomatoes in the olive oil and seasonings and place them onto the skewers. Place the skewers onto the grill, tomatoes cut side down, and cook until tender and well-grilled without charring. Turn frequently and cook for approximately 10 minutes on each side.
If you want to store your tomatoes for later use but don’t have the freezer space, dehydrating them is a great way to do it. All you need to do is cut them in half and put them on a tray in the dehydrator. When they’re chewy and dry, but not brittle, they’re ready for storage.
Dehydrated tomatoes can be ground into a powder with a blender. The powder can later be re-hydrated and made into a tomato paste or sauce, adding a rich, lively tomato flavor to tomato-based soups or stews.
Now there’s really no reason to let your tomatoes go to waste after all that hard work you’ve put into growing them!
-The Alternative Daily