If you have ever been lucky enough to have a large tomato harvest or to find an amazing deal on tomatoes at a local farm you know just how quickly these fruits can go bad.
Preserving them or using them up quickly helps to reduce food waste and get you the most value for your time and money.
The problem is finding ways to make use of those tomatoes within a few days or finding the best way to preserve them so you can enjoy them all winter long.
The good news is that tomatoes are easier to preserve and use than you may realize.
How to Preserve Tomatoes
Preserving your tomatoes makes it easier to make use of them for the entire year. When your garden produces an overabundance it is nearly impossible to put them all to use without any going bad.
The good news is that you can preserve tomatoes fairly easily using several great methods.
Before preserving your tomatoes in most cases you will want to blanch them. This is to remove the skins to help give your final dish, in the end, the best flavor, color, and texture possible.
To do this, set a pot of water on the stove to come to a boil and a large bowl of ice water. Cut an X into your tomatoes and drop them into boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes before removing and tossing them into the ice water to stop the cooking process.
After they have cooled you will find the skins have separated from the fruit and you can easily peel it away.
Freezing your tomatoes is a great way to preserve them when you need time to work on other methods of preservation.
This is quick and easy when you need to keep a large harvest from going bad. It is best to blanch and peel tomatoes if you’re planning on freezing them but it is not essential to do if you do not need to remove the skin for what you are making with them in the future.
Unblanched frozen tomatoes will blend up perfectly in the blender to be cooked down into tomato sauce or paste.
You can make your own sun-dried tomatoes that are great for cooking by dehydrating your tomato slices. These rich flavorful tomatoes are great for making the most of your favorite dishes.
From adding to omelets, making the perfect pasta, adding texture and flavor to roasted veggies, or even grinding them up to make tomato powder for tomato sauce you can find endless uses for dried tomatoes.
To dry your tomatoes use a mandoline slicer to make universally level slices ranging from 1/8th to 1/4 inch thick. Place them on your trays and turn your dehydrator to 145 degrees. After about an hour, flip your tomato slices to make them easier to remove later. Run for another 8 to 10 hours until fully dry.
Canning is perhaps the most popular way to preserve tomatoes. Tomatoes can be canned in many ways from sliced and ready to cook to homemade sauce.
Canning tomatoes is easy and most recipes can be done right in a water bath canner making them a great canning project for beginners that may not be ready for using a pressure canner.
You do not need many ingredients to make your tomato products shelf-stable when canning, vinegar, or lemon juice will increase the acidity enough to do the trick.
Ways to Use Tomatoes
While this may not be the most creative way to use tomatoes the possibilities for making some amazing recipes are nearly endless.
Try adding different spices, garlic, and onions to make the best sauce. Blend down your tomatoes then cook them down with your choice of herbs, spices, and other vegetables. This can then be used for everything from pasta to homemade pizza with the kids.
If you have a flavorful unique tomato lying around, you could use it on your next snack tray or charcuterie board. This is a great use for colorful heirloom varieties and your favorite cherry tomatoes.
This classic is a great way to use up a lot of tomatoes at once. The possibilities with salsa are endless and you are bound to find a lot of great unique recipes that can help you make a fun snack or appetizer or spice up your favorite dishes.
Fried green tomatoes
While this dish has lost popularity over the years it is a great way to use up extra green tomatoes you may have pulled from your vines before a frost or a major storm that could cause a lot of damage. Try mixing up your seasonings in the breading or adding slices of frozen mozzarella for a unique take on this favorite.
While you may think of using your tomatoes in a salad if you have a large number of tomatoes to use up, why not make them the star of the show?
This is a great way to use a large number of cherry tomatoes. Add any of your favorite salad additions and top with some balsamic dressing to boost the flavor.
You can use up a lot of tomatoes by making a tomato pie. This is a great savory pie to serve at your next brunch. add a mix of tomato varieties and some mozzarella cheese to make the most of this simple dish.
Tomato sandwiches are a great way to use up large beefsteak tomatoes before they have time to go bad.
Tomatoes can be a great filling addition to any sandwich or even be used as the star of the entire dish. Try adding lettuce, mozzarella, bacon, or mayo to your tomato sandwiches to bring out the flavor.
When you grill on a hot summer day try placing thick slices of beefsteak tomatoes or skewers or cherry tomatoes on the grill.
This can bring out the flavor and make the nutrition of your tomatoes more usable by your body. These grilled tomatoes are a great way to add flavor to burgers and other fun summer foods at your next cookout.
If you are looking to grow lots of delicious tomatoes in your garden so you can enjoy them in your cooking, these posts may help: