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What to do with with awesome tomatoes - going on a trip in a few days

I was given a bounty of very sweet ripe tomatoes, and they are very very good. unfortunately, i still have around 15-20 lbs left in my basket and we are going away for the next 4 days.

What do you think i should do with it? I can make a sauce, but which one would do its justice? seems like a waste to cook them into a pot o'sauce no? (i don't have a food mill to deal with the seeds, so i can only hand pulp...)

I gotta pack, won't have enough time to can.. yikes.

So far we've been eating tomato salads left and right, still good... yum!

Or you think this is better shared? My camping buddies would probably eat a few...

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  1. If you're going camping why not take them with you and have something nice to eat while sleeping on the cold hard ground? And you can share.

    1. I'm one of those people who has a hard time cooking really perfect and delicious ripe fruit, so I personally would share. :)

      1. If you do end up leaving some at home...put them in a cool dark place, but not the fridge!
        Maybe a dark closet somewhere.
        Store them stem end down (upside down). They should keep pretty well for 4 days.

        If you do take some with you to eat and share, try planting the seeds. Maybe you won't need to bring any for next years trip! LOL

        2 Replies
        1. re: Novelli

          I know foodie purists will howl, but if the choice is between putting them in the fridge and throwing them out... I vote for the fridge.

          1. re: acgold7

            You don't like the sharing option?

        2. I vote for sharing. Definitely.

          1. Sorry if this offends (I know it's kind of a sin to cook such beauties but this is a quick solution), last summer, which was my first year of gardening, I'd go through times of too many tomatoes to use at once. When that happened, I'd just cut a batch into halves or wedges, toss with a little olive oil and roast until they just started to carmelize. Then, once cooled, the whole thing got scraped into a freezer bag. I know you don't have a food mill, but we enjoyed the last batch, milled, simmered and over pasta, part way thru a particularly snowy winter. It was like a bit of summer in the dead of winter!

            4 Replies
            1. re: imsohungry

              Nice, ish! This would be my second best solution. :)

              1. re: inaplasticcup

                That's what I was going to say. Slow-roast them. You can store them in the fridge in a sealed container if they're topped off with oil. They'll keep for a while and are awesome in almost application, but when you get home from your trip and don't have dinner, boil some pasta, toss with some of the chopped slow-roasted tomatoes, throw in some fresh basil, and LOVE your dinner.

                1. re: katecm

                  sounds great! i saw that a mag, and need to do it with the WAY TOO MANY tomatoes I have right now. I keep hording them, wanting to eat them fresh, but then I waste them.

                  Also, sliced very thin and dried in a slow oven is nice too....but best with romas.

                2. re: inaplasticcup

                  I have done this before. It really brightens up February. My favorite solution (sharing is good too!).

              2. Or! (depending on the humidity of your area)

                You can take them all with you, cut them in half, and spread them out on the dash of your car to sundry them.

                I don't know. I'm just throwing anything out there.

                1. I'd give some away to those able to appreciate them.

                  As for the rest, they should last 4 days just fine unless they're already way soft. But then you'd have to act quickly on them at that point anyway. If I thought that they would not hold for much longer, then I'd blanch them, skin them, cut them in half to remove some of the seeds (removing all is not necessary), and then I'd store them in the fridge for big fresh tomato sauce on your return (not a long-cooked sauce, but quick with some herbs, excellent olive oil and a clove or two of garlic).

                  Simple as they are, fresh heirloom tomato sauces are among my all time favorite foods, only to be had a month or two out of each year. It's by no means a "waste" of the tomatoes, unless you cook them too long or start to adulterate the sauce with things like tomato paste or canned sauce.

                  You do know how to blanch and skin tomatoes, right (boiling water, cut an X in one end of the peel, etc.)?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Bada Bing

                    "It's by no means a "waste" of the tomatoes"

                    I couldn't agree more. As much as I love to eat my tomatoes fresh from the garden with nothing more than a knife and some salt, I'd consider it an absolute waste to only eat them raw. I mean, what's the point of having peak ingredients if you're not going to use them in every preparation that you can think to try them in.

                    I've made sauces, chili, soup, salsa, gumbo, etc. with heirloom tomatoes and look forward to making more over the next couple weeks. I wouldn't bother to grow them if I couldn't experience what happens when I use them in every conceivable way.

                    1. re: MGZ

                      It seems to me that, while really good tomatoes are great whole, you're ignoring lots of great possibilities by refusing to cook them. My summer tomato sauces tend to get very basic- often just tomatoes and basil, cooked for maybe ten minutes; I'm not sure how this kind of thing keeps, but I believe the cooking will stop the degradation of the sugars and a few days of refrigeration would be OK. Sharing and pigging out are great options too.

                  2. I would make a fresh tomato sauce to toss into pasta while you're camping, another Ziploc full of salsa, and bring a few freshies for sandwiches, breakfast fry-ups, and a fast caprese salad. (By fresh, I mean uncooked; just chop your tomatoes with some brined olives and sauteed onion, a little salt and pepper, and bring Parmesan along....). You could do it right onsite too.

                    1. Thank you all for your input. I plan to bring a baggie full of them for the peeps and oven roast the remaining.

                      Don't we love it when we got too MUCH of something? =)

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: jeniyo

                        I had the same predicament last year and, as others have suggested, halved and slow roasted the tomatoes. I also put a couple of quartered onions and some peeled garlic cloves in the roasting pan. After they cooled, I pureed the lot with a couple handfuls of fresh basil (which wasn't going to keep either), seasoned and froze in quart containers and had lovely, summery tomato basil soup on some cold winter evenings. This is also a nice summer soup served cold.