They all seem to come at once and by the time the tomatoes start to ripen, they just keep coming! Small ones, large ones and crazy colored ones. Traditional types and unique varieties. The tomato harvest is upon us and there’s no turning back now. What will you do with all these tomatoes? Leave them on your neighbors porch? Let them rot on the windowsill? I don’t think so. Let’s get in the kitchen and use those tomatoes!
Canning and Freezing
One of the best ways to preserve your tomato harvest is canning. From spicy salsa to sauce, relish to tomato jam, there are endless ideas for creating winter pantry delights. Bottle your own tomato juice, soup or Bloody Mary mix. Can stewed tomatoes for future winter soup and chili recipes. Your local Extension office website is a good source for canning guidelines.
If you are like most of us though, there is very little time for the whole canning process. Chopped or whole tomatoes can be frozen in freezer bags. Homemade sauce can be frozen in containers. For more information on preserving tomatoes in the freezer, go check out my post Quick Food Preservation Tips. This article has time saving ideas for tomatoes, herbs and refrigerator pickles.
Get Creative in the Kitchen
It may feel like you need to cram tomatoes into every meal of the day to eat them all. I too have been eating so many that my mouth is getting sores! I like to slice tomatoes for sandwiches, cold ones or in hot grilled cheese sandwiches. Some of us could eat this every day for lunch. So many combinations. Cucumbers, ricotta, cheddar cheese…BLT’s! They are all so good this time of year.
Salads present countless opportunities for the addition of fresh tomatoes. Smaller cherry tomatoes add so much flavor to a garden salad. Chop them into a bowl and add chunks of mozzarella, basil, balsamic vinegar and olive oil for a scrumptious salad that everyone will love. Comfort food like bruschetta can be a light and speedy summer supper.
Winter isn’t the only time for soup! Try preparing a fresh tomato chili or garden veggie soup. This week someone was suggesting roasting the tomatoes with herbs and olive oil. When the tomatoes are finished, put everything into the blended for a thick and savory roasted tomato soup. I tried my hand at it and it’s wonderful! I may have to do a recipe post for all of you in a few days!
How about using all these tomatoes in the form of a pie? A light frittata or a flavorful quiche? A tomato pie, tart or a colorful heirloom tomato galette? This can elevate the tomato to center stage instead of just an addition to a salad. Fresh tomatoes of any size are so wonderful on homemade pizza. Either use them for a topping or slice them to use instead of sauce. Mix up the cheese for all kinds of different flavors. Feta, cheddar, goat cheese…all of this tomato talk is definitely making me very hungry. Do you have any ideas yet?
While canning tomatoes is a fantastic way to preserve them, it doesn’t take much time to add them to your weekly menu this time of year. There are endless recipes out there if you just look. From snacking to meals, it’s not hard to figure out what to do with all of these tomatoes! For some fabulous garden to table recipes try The Four Season Farm Gardener’s Cookbook. Full of gardening advice along with recipes for everything that may come from the garden.
This week has been a hot one! Feels a little unusual for late September but we’ll take it. With no major frosts in our zone 5b area, the garden has been able to keep going. It sure has been easy to pretend it’s still in the middle of summer! The leaves have begun to change to their golds and reds so fall is coming for sure. We had a chance to visit the Common Ground Country Fair last weekend. I have to say that I didn’t get to see nearly enough. When you bring a little boy it’s all about the farm animals and sheepdog demos! No gardening talks for me! Oh well…maybe next year! Thanks for joining me this week and use those tomatoes! Hey, and don’t forget forget to subscribe in the sidebar for more great fall posts!