Friday, September 23, 2011

What to Do With All Those Tomatoes

It's been an odd year for my garden.  A cool, wet spring met a cool, cloudy summer here in Portland.  It never even got over 100 degrees!  We finally had a couple of weeks of hot weather, during which my tomatoes really ripened by the dozen.  I'm not sure how much longer this will last with my tomato plants perishing and the weather cooling off again.  Every year it happens: I get tons of tomatoes at once, then I go the rest of the year yearning for them.  Here are some things that I do to prolong my tomato window.

Pick them green

If it's getting to be too late in the season, the vines are starting to rot and a frost is near, just pick them and bring them inside.  The green ones will ripen eventually.  One year I had tomatoes ripening in my kitchen until December.

Dry them

Linda of The Gluten-Free Homemaker has a great post on how to "sun dry" your tomatoes in the oven.  I did that last year with some tomatoes using her recipe.

Freeze them

I've heard that the simplest way to preserve tomatoes is to freeze tomatoes that you've de-stemmed and quartered.  Sometimes I'm too lazy even for that.  I just chuck them in a freezer bag and stick them in the freezer.  When I thaw them out, I dip them in a bowl of warm water for a moment and the skin peels right off.  Voila!

Make tomato sauce

It will take several hours, but making a tomato sauce is a simple way to use several pounds of tomatoes at once. 

Use Them Fresh

Basically, just use them in everything.  If you don't have quite enough for a tomato sauce, try one of these other recipes:

Beer-Braised Chicken in Orange Tomato Sauce
Sungold Tomato Salad


l'actrice said...

Lucky you got these awesome tomatoes fresh from the garden. Pretty sure they taste like tomatoes :-)

Shaheen said...

If I had the freezer space, I would freeze them, otherwise making some chutney appeals. You are so fortunate to have had so many - I am envious as this year we have not grown any :(