Oops, I have too much is a blog series dedicated to the inevitable abundance of seasonal produce. Whether you grew it in your garden, got it in your CSA box or just couldn’t resist buying beautiful seasonal produce at the grocery store or farmer’s market, I’ll give you ideas for delicious ways to use your excess food + tips to preserve it for later so it won’t go to waste.
What to do with lots of tomatoes
Harvest in the midwest has been a little late this year, so we’re still getting lots of tomatoes from the garden. I have a lovely pile of them sitting on my counter, in fact, and I’m eagerly anticipating bread salad for dinner. (Queue drooling.) But more about that later.
Too many tomatoes is a beautiful, beautiful problem. Read on to learn all the reasons why.
Store fresh tomatoes at room temperature. Plain cut tomatoes can be kept in the fridge for just a day or so; after a short time they start to change texture, and not in a good way.
Tomatoes are a fantastic item to preserve and use later, either by freezing or canning. For either method, start by peeling them. While you set a pot of water on the stove to boil, cut an X in the bottom of each tomato and cut out the stem. Douse the tomatoes in boiling water for 30-60 seconds, and the skins will peel off easily.
At this point, you can prep them any way you like to use them later—whole, crushed, or diced. I always seed my tomatoes before preserving, but it’s not mandatory. Seal in an air-tight container or bag to freeze (mason jars work great for this), or can them using instructions from your favorite canning and preserving book. (Here’s my favorite.) Annie’s Eats has a great tutorial for canning tomatoes.
Quick & easy
- Make a simple caprese salad
Arrange slices of tomato, mozzerella, red onion and basil on a plate, and top with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt + pepper. Mix these same ingredients, chopped, with pasta, and you just made caprese pasta.
- Some people like tomatoes so much they eat them plain
I must confess, I only like to eat cherry and grape tomatoes plain. However, many people like all kinds of plain tomatoes, maybe with a little salt, vinegar or even sugar.
- Make slow roasted tomatoes like this using cherry, grape or small Roma tomatoes. The flavors concentrate as the juice evaporates, and the result is mouth watering. Use them in pasta, on sandwiches or plain drizzled with olive oil. These will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks covered in oil, or you can freeze them in oil to use later.
- Make some bruchetta and enjoy with fresh bread
Mix chopped, seeded tomatoes with garlic, basil, balsamic, olive oil and salt + pepper. The longer this mixture sits, the more the flavors will mingle into deliciousness. Or, even better, use the bruchetta to top a fancy grilled cheese sandwich with mozzerella and pesto.
- Whip up some fresh salsa
Seed and chop some tomatoes (with or without their skins, your choice) and mix with any or all of the following, listed roughly in order of how much you should put in: onions, peppers (sweet + spicy, to taste), cilantro, lime, garlic and salt. Enjoy with chips or any favorite Mexican cuisine.
Recipe ideas to use fresh tomatoes
- Bread salad! Always and forever, my favorite summertime salad.
- Make or can homemade ketchup
- Make a tomato, basil and goat cheese tart. Nom nom nom.
- Tomato soup with grilled cheese croutons? Stop it.
- This recipe for homemade oven-roasted tomato soup can also be reduced to make pasta or pizza sauce.
- Savory corn, tomato and cheddar pie
Recipe ideas to use canned/frozen tomatoes
- Simple marinara sauce for pasta
- Homemade chili anyone? If you do not already have a favorite recipe, I shall direct you to Pinterest. Or this.
- Baked ranchero eggs with blistered jack cheese and lime crema
- Tomato basil parmesan soup in the slow-cooker
- Tomato florentine soup
I could go on, but I think I’ve given you enough food for thought, for one day.
Do you have a favorite recipe that features tomatoes? Tell us in the comments below!