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Aug 18, 2011 04:18 PM

What would YOU do with 40 lbs of hierloom tomatoes?

So. Our CSA lets us order some items by the case. The last 2 years I've gotten a 20-lb box of field tomatoes (seconds) for a song, made a nice batch of sauce, and canned it.

This year I decided that 20 lbs just wasn't enough and I went ahead and ordered two boxes. Today was the pickup and I prepared for massive sauce-making, then went to the depot...and was handed two 20-lbs boxes of mixed heirlooms, instead of field tomatoes for sauce. Apparently, I misread the order form. YIKES.

They sure looked pretty in the box, all those shapes and colors. I've segregated them and there are some small round orange ones; some small round red-and-green striped ones; some small round yellow ones; some small round pale yellow, almost white with a dusky look ones; and some BIG, multi-lobed, red-on-the-bottom-and-green-or-yellow on the top ones.

I need to preserve as much of them as possible - my kids don't like fresh tomatoes (but they eat sauce ahppily) and the hubby can't have raw tomatoes right now. I can only eat so many pounds before these bad boys go bad...Has anyone made tomato sauce w/ yellow or orange tomatoes? Does it freeze well? I have the most of the pale yellow and the big multi-lobed varietites...I cut open of the of multi-lobed ones and it has a thick shell with a lot of space between the shell and the seeds. The seeds are clustered around the central stem and so I don't think it would make a good slicing tomato.

Other ideas for using them up? I've made saurkraut and kimchee before, never tried fermenting tomatoes though, I'm thinking it might not work b/c of the acid.

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  1. They certainly make a lovely gazpacho which leads me to believe they might be more versatile than you might think. The reason I don't make sauce from heirlooms is the cost. But heck, you have already paid for them! If I were you,

    I would take a few pounds, make a sauce and see what you think. Perhaps juicing some if the kids enjoy tomato juice. Either the sauce or juice would freeze well. Tomato juice ice cubes for bloody Mary's. Just a few thoughts.

    1 Reply
    1. re: smtucker

      Fresh pico de gallo will use a bunch of tomatoes and keeps well in the refrigerator.

    2. I understand you can just cut and freeze them on cookie sheets and then bag them. But I would oven roast them with olive oil, maybe with garlic, until they are nice and soft--then freeze them.

      2 Replies
      1. re: escondido123

        I'll second the vote for oven-roasting....almost any tomato is lovely roasted (in winter I drain big cans of plum tomatoes and roast them and they turn out wonderfully). Just cut in half, drain a bit, put them cut-side up on a big pan (with sides), drizzle w/just a bit of olive oil, salt, and just a bit of sugar. Roast at about 225 degrees for at least 2-3 hours (if they are big, it may take much longer). When they seem to be shrinking a bit and getting much darker in color, flip them over (skin side up), sprinkle on some chopped garlic or oregano, and roast another half an hour or so. I put them in jars or ziploc bags in the freezer and use them all winter in pasta, on pizza, on bruschetta...(or out of the jar with a fork). I would think that a variety of colors & shapes might make for a particularly attractive bunch of roasted tomatoes. We don't seem to be having a very good tomato year around here...I envy you.

        1. re: tonifi

          I tried this today, and you were right - the mix of colors is beautiful. I hadn't had good luck with slow-roasting in the past, and had switched to high-temp for my roasted tomato needs, but these came out great. Sprinkled them with a blend of herbs and sea salt that we got as part of our late-season CSA share last fall and have been needing an excuse to use, so that made me happy too.

          I used a mix of the small round maters- orange, yellow, near-white and stripey. Beautiful and so delicious, it's now packed away in the freezer for later this year when DH can finally eat tomatoes again.

        1. That's a lot of tomatoes. Maybe check out how they use their surplus in Bunyol, Spain, in their annual "La Tomatina" tomato fight?....:)

          1. Last year, here's what I did with extra tomatoes from the garden:

            I sliced them, dried them at the lowest temp on my oven for a few hours for a sundried tomato effect, packed them in ziplock bags with EV olive oil to cover, and froze them. Since them I have had no shortage of sweet, tart dried tomatoes or flavored oil to thaw and use as I see fit. One major upside (at least for me) is they don't take up much space this way.

            Of course you could also can them, though that would require a pressure canner.