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What to do with loads of tomatoes?

[Moderator Note: This thread was split from a Best Summer Recipes thread at http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...


That looks fantastic! I'm going to have to look up your tomato posts - my outlaws just went on vacation leaving us to housesit - count 'em - 50 heirloom tomato plants that are hitting their peak yield this weekend. Let the panic ensue!

As for my best dish this summer, I would have to say a couple...a bacon and onion tart from CI - RAVE reviews from the fam and a "quicker" cannelloni recipe. Can attach the recipes if anyone is interested.

My biggest culinary AHA moment was in making the cannelloni, the recipe suggested that the tomatoes be quickly buzzed in a blender. This is my new "cheat" step when using crummy canned tomatoes - even the cheapest taste fantastic when buzzed!

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  1. Wow, 50 plants--that's even more than I grew...do take photos, please! (If you type in Beautiful at the search function on the Not About Food board, my tomato posts will surface.)

    1. Man, that's going to be a ton of tomatoes. I'd just eat them with good bread, sea salt, and good olive oil.

      Or make a tomato tart--puff paste base, blind baked for a few minutes, topped with sliced tomatoes, salt, pepper, olive oil, and maybe some chevre for good measure. Sprinkle with Thyme or fresh basil when it comes out of the oven. Yum. Good hot or room temp.

      3 Replies
      1. re: gorboduc

        Great suggestions, and we will definitely enjoy them at every meal, but I need to also think on a larger-yield scale....we will need to use about 15-20 a day over the next 10 days because this year's crop are exceptionally large and meaty, so only last about 2 days once ripe before they start to spoil - already done a gorgeous tomato soup for Thanksgiving, sauce with fresh basil to freeze, etc. Think I need to learn how to can, and quick!

        1. re: AmandaEd

          suggestion for a meal that will consume tomatoes while you are there: is roasted heirlooms over pasta (my favorite of the last 2 weeks since I can't keep up with my tomatoes). best with the "just about beyond ripe" tomatoes so you get delicious juice from roasting to use as a "sauce" along with good finishing olive oil & grated parmesean. don't forget fresh herbs, garlic, s&p, and olive oil while roasting.

          as for canning. best resource is the classic book "putting food by". all about preserving fresh yummy flavors.

        2. pappa al pomodoro is one of my favorite things. look for a recipe by giuliano bugialli. it's simple -- bread and tomato soup but it transforms into something so unbelievably delicious when you have good tomatoes... and good olive oil drizzled on top!

          1. Now that the subject has been divided:
            Here is a nice caprese-type salad:
            Close-up of Salad:
            Some FwF Garden Tomatoes:

            1. I have a recipe (doing it right now) for slow roasting tomato halves - you can freeze them for up to six months. Let me know if you want it - I'll post.

              4 Replies
                1. re: MMRuth

                  I have about 70 tomato plants, can I have the recipe for roasting tomatoes?? they sound delicious!

                  1. re: janrjbsm91

                    Cut tomatoes in half. Put cut side up in a baking sheet. Brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper (optional). Roast in a 250 oven for several hours, until the tomatoes look shriveled and are starting to brown/blacken on the edges a bit. The time will depend on the size of the tomatoes.

                    1. re: TorontoJo

                      And then freeze them, will last as long as you need them to.

                2. Cut a bunch of these tomatoes in half, cover with couple of tablespoons of good olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh rosemary and thyme. Roast in 450 oven until skins are blackened. Cool, discard herbs, lift of skins and keep in refrigerator for about a week or freeze.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: serious

                    I forgot to say: roast them cut side down.

                    1. re: serious

                      I just did this two days ago for a Michael Chiarello's roasted tomato soup. It worked really well. I used roma tomatoes that I took the seeds out of first.

                      I just used olive oil, aged balsamic and some salt (not much) and no herbs bc I was adding a basil puree later. The skins came off easily! I did turn mine halfway through, but I probably didn't need to.

                      I just used this recipe as a guideline --


                  2. We smoke-roasted 60lbs of tomatoes a couple of weeks ago, reducing them to about 12 quarts which we canned in olive oil. I'm looking forward to eating these through the winter.

                    1. An alternate slow roasting recipe:

                      Low low temperature leaves the sweetness: 250 maximum
                      Pack the tomatoes cut side up into a baking pan lined with non stick foil- so the juices collect. Pour olive oil over the tomatoes, salt, pepper, thyme on top. Roast for 2 to 3 hours depending on size and amount of moisture in the tomatoe.

                      Let cool at room temperature - use in pastas, salads, or pack into storage container with oil

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: worldfoodie

                        I second this method. I tried slow-roasting tomatoes for the first time a year ago and am totally hooked.

                      2. What I've been known to do with tons of tomatoes, besides consuming them in great quantity, is cut them into pieces and put them in the food dehydrator with salt and pepper until dry. Then I have big jars of dried tomatoes in the pantry to add to soups, chili's, whatever suits. Adds a great subtle taste, they're easy to store, and they last seemingly forever.

                        1. Tomato Soup
                          Tomato Bisque
                          Tomato and Mayo sandwiches
                          You can freeze them whole on a cookie sheet and then bag them. When it is frigid and snowing all out have to do is run some warm water over them and slip off the skins and use in what ever you are cooking.
                          Spiced Tomato Jam
                          Tomato Sauce, either can or freeze
                          Fried tomatoes with bacon and cream

                          See if you can find a copy of Yvonne Young Tarr's The Tomato Book. It is divided into recipes for either green tomatoes or red.

                          Don't do what my mother did a number of years ago and carefully harvest all of the green tomatoes in the garden just before a frost and wrap in newspaper and pack into a carton to finish ripening. She put them in the basement and forgot about them. Went off to Fl. for the winter and in the spring found a box with news paper filled with dust and tomato seeds.

                            1. Here's what I do with an over abundant crop of tomatoes:

                              1. Dice a couple of large onions and several cloves of garlic. Saute them in a some olive oil (amount of your choice) in a large stock pot. Dice up the tomatoes, skins and all ( I like tomatoe skins in my sauce). Throw them in the pot and cook at medium for about an hour. Lower heat to simmer for however long it takes to reduce to the thickness you want. (I don't add additional flavors until I use the sauce at a later date). Once cooked as you want, scoop out into indivdual freezer containers (Glad makes many different shapes and sizes that you should be able to find at your local grocer.) Cool to room temp. Place in the fridge to cool further (an hour or two). Then in the freezer - keep for 2-3 months. (I'm doing this today as a matter of fact. Heavy rains caused all my cherry tomatoes to crack...voilÄ...tomato sauce!)

                              2. Boil lots of water in your sock pot. Throw the tomatoes in for a few seconds. Remove and submerge in cold water. The skins will split and peel off easily. Chop up the peeled tomatoes and put them in freezer bags or containers. Put them in the freezer. Thy will keep for several months. Use for any recipes that call for chopped tomatoes. These are far more flavorful than any canned tomatoe you'll ever try.

                              1. Thanks all - these are all great suggestions! Spicy Tomato Jam from a previous post was a total hit...we made a ton of sauce and enjoyed it as the base for a lovely Caprese pizza...am currently on jar #12 of oven-dried cherry tomatoes - mine got hit too with the rain.

                                1. tomato confit:

                                  concasse the tomatoes (remove skin and seeds). cut into quarters. lay flat in a single layer on sheet pan. top with minced garlic, fresh thyme, s & P, and lots of Olive oil. Roast in a low oven at 250 degrees for over an hour, until they look caramalized.

                                  Store in airtight container, mason jar. serve with pasta, sandwiches, meats, salads, you name it.

                                  1. Make salsa! I started with the basic recipe in the Ball Canning guide and improvised with the ingredients from there. Water bath canning is a no-brainer and it's awesome to pull a jar out of the pantry in January!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Dee S

                                      my best pal and I did 30+ pounds of salsa just a few weeks ago. Hubby's already put a dent in the stash.

                                    2. I'm so jealous! Haven't been able to plant tomatoes in the ground, in NEW JERSEY, for several years cuz of critters... especially groundhogs that thought I opened a salad bar!.

                                      My suggestion would be start checking out how to can! Peeled/squished/chunked, cooked down and thru foodmill... NOT difficult to do. You can probably find canning jars dirt cheap at thrift stores or yard sales... as long as NO chips on rim. Ya don't really need a canning pot, but the jar grabbing thing is MUCH better than trying to do it with tongs!

                                      One year made BIG messa fresh salsa... tomatoes, onions, peppers (a little hot), etc. Gave as gifts. Heard that SIL wouldn't SHARE and just ate it right outta the jar! I don;t have the patience to actually make suace, so just cook till soft, run thru food mill and reduce until I get tired of watching it. Will can totally PLAIN... NO garlic or herbs. My sister once simmerd down till "paste"... said took a LONG time and not something she'd do again.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: kseiverd

                                        Funny, I just made tomato paste yesterday! Blanched, peeled, and pureed romas (or some other paste tomato)-- then spread the puree in a large baking dish and roasted at 425F for a couple of hours. If you have a couple of dishes, you could do 8-10 lbs of tomatoes down to a few cups of tomato paste. I can imagine that trying this on the stovetop would take considerably longer. Anyhoo, I'm excited to have the homemade paste stocked in the freezer-- the stuff in the 89-cent cans from the store always smell a little weird to me.

                                      2. Well, I can a bunch and also dry some if I had planted a good variety for drying.

                                        1. Here's a link to a great roasted tomato sauce recipe. It is the second one in the thread, posted by bluekat.