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TOO MANY CHERRY TOMATOES!

Hi all. I don't know what I was thinking, but I put in 4 cherry tomato plants (1 Sun Gold; 1 Sweet 100s; 1 Yellow Pear; and I can't recall the other) and they did what they were supposed to. Combined with the other full sized tomatoes, they have taken over my veggie patch.

Any idea what to do with barrels of cherry tomatoes??? They're yummy and everything, but after awhile, and with only 2 of us here, I'm inclined to cheer them on while I hide elsewhere. That's wasteful, however.

My big tomatoes (Beefsteak; Mortgage Lifter; Early Girl and one other [can't recall that one, either]) will be canned for winter and some made into marinara sauce. But what to do with all those cherries????

Any help (using LOTS of them) would be appreciated.

Thanx, PAT

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  1. Oven dry? They'd shrink to a very small size I imagine and can then be jarred in oil or frozen, a lovey addition to pastas, salads etc.

    10 Replies
    1. re: julesrules

      +1 for this
      I tossed them with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted at 350 for a long time until are roasty and deflate. Once cooled i poured it all including juices into ziplock sandwich bags- added to stews, soups, sauces etc later on.

        1. re: Ttrockwood

          I second the slow roasting idea. Wonderful by themselves, on pizza, tossed with pasta, etc

          1. re: Ttrockwood

            I do the same thing, but I only need to roast them for 30 minutes or so. Once they're roasted, the flavor is amazing, and you can throw them into pasta, soups, etc. I freeze them in ziplocs.

            1. re: Ttrockwood

              To all of you, thanx so much. The latest in my kitchen: I picked a bunch of Sun Golds (and a few Sweet 100s), stemmed, washed and made a pasta sauce out of them: all in a pot, added 3 cloves chopped garlic, 1 big branch of fresh thyme, S&P. Cooked everything till tomatoes popped, then mashed pretty much all of them against the side of the pan. Beautiful (yellow) sauce, lots of skins. Tasted pretty good on the end of a spoon. Somehow, it just didn't taste right on pasta!! Too sweet.

              I've known people who put sugar on their tomatoes (while I looked on in amazement). I think I'm a savory-type person. Though I love cherry Ts in salads or just munched as I walk by the bowl, to me they're just not right on pasta.

              Is it me, or . . .

              Pat

              1. re: caiatransplant

                To cut the sweetness, you could add a splash of dry white or red wine. Or smash a few anchovy filets in the oil and let them melt before you add the tomatoes. They'll add a nice salt/umami punch.

                1. re: linguafood

                  Yes....even a quick-saute of cherry tomatoes will intensify their sweetness...though not as much as roasting or simmering.

                  Linguafood's suggestion is great...anchovies add a beautiful whiff of savory. You could even add (be careful) a tiny bit of red wine vinegar...start with a teaspoon. Also, think about a few red pepper flakes to add a little depth?

                2. re: caiatransplant

                  Add some Aleppo pepper or a pinch of red pepper flakes to help cut the sweetness.

            2. There's a recipe for curried ketchup that I found on an old thread http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/429956. It freezes well so I generally make a large batch each time I make it. The flavor is like a chili sauce so friends liked it for cold shrimp.

              1. I used to can, but I experimented with freezing tomatoes last year and it works very well. I just rinse them, pat dry, cut off stems. Then I put them in about 2 cup quantities (my preference for cooking ease) in freezer bags, squeeze out as much air as possible, label and freeze. Cherry tomatoes can be frozen whole; larger tomatoes I split in half. The tomatoes will lose their shape somewhat if you defrost completely, but if you use them in sauces or other foods where they will break apart a bit anyway, this easy preservation method works a treat. I experimented with adding a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice to the tomatoes before freezing to help preserve color, but I really didn't see or taste much of a difference between those with added lemon juice or without. Of course, you can also make a sauce first and freeze that, too! I love using the Sun Gold for pasta sauce -- so delicious.

                8 Replies
                1. re: team_cake

                  I have 10 quarts of cherry tomatoes in the freezer now! Plus, I made the CI Puttanesca Tomato Sauce, which uses cherry or grape tomatoes, and have a few quarts of it frozen, too.

                  I had just 3 cherry tomato plants, and started to silently beg them to slow down production. I also have oodles of Beefsteak tomatoes frozen and sauced.

                  Will plant less next year!

                  1. re: pine time

                    > Will plant less next year!

                    I have said that every year for the last four, and it doesn't seem to be sticking :-)

                    1. re: travelmad478

                      Yeah, I've said it for nearly 20 years now!

                      1. re: travelmad478

                        I let all but one die out....or so I thought. I now have a VERY productive rogue one that started in another part of the yard....and it's still growing!

                        1. re: Michelly

                          Michelly, I see you live in Los Angeles as well. You may well find you have volunteer tomato plants springing up year round. If we have a mild, not too wet winter, you could well find you are still picking tomatoes in December. I've been able to grow them year round, without protection, in most years.

                          1. re: ePressureCooker

                            I'm south of L.A., and we find volunteer tomato plants all the time. Some, I think, are seeds from bird droppings.

                            I still have 1 tomato in the ground, still producing flowers like mad. I expect we'll get a few more tomatoes before frost (we get very light frost) gets it.

                            1. re: pine time

                              Oh absolutely, probably from the birds. Many seeds have a protective coating to keep birds from digesting the seed. (Nature is clever, isn't it?)

                              If you mulch that tomato plant or cover it with a clear plastic sheet (the gardening kind, with holes in it to allow air to pass through) before the first frost, you can probably preserve that tomato plant through the winter, and if the temperature is high enough, it'll even set fruit. ;D

                    2. re: team_cake

                      Yep, that's what I've been doing since the other members of my household have gone on cherry tomato strike. I just washed, dried and put in freezer bags, and I'm sure they will be a welcome addition to soups and sauces this winter. Oven roasting etc. sounds yummy but simplicity rules at my house!

                    3. I would roast them with some garlic and olive oil till nice and soft and starting to dehydrate. Then I run them through the food processor, and freeze. Makes a great quick pizza sauce.

                      1. I know this won't use up many but i like to throw a pint into a bit of garlic and butter and saute til they pop and become jammy. Mix in the kernels of two ears of corn off the cob and salt and pepper and parsley and warm the corn for a few minutes.. works with zucchini or yellow squash, too.

                        1. Make ropa vieja or tamatar khabli chana usal.
                          Freeze it for winter.

                          1. On the other recent tomato thread, I posted 2 (very similar) recipes for tomato-peach salad with feta cheese and basil. Cherry tomatoes would be perfect for that.

                            I also slice them in half, toss with olive oil, a bit of coarse salt, chopped garlic and maybe some Italian seasoning and roast til tender. Then mix with cooked pasta and Parmesan cheese. Very easy and good.

                              1. I love a version of Giada's recipe for pasta and it makes a nice topping for bruschetta or grilled pizza. I make double batches as it freezes beautifully.

                                1 Pint cherry tomato
                                1-2 eggplants depending on size
                                4-5 cloves garlic
                                Olive oil
                                S&P
                                Red pepper flakes
                                Basil (she uses mint)

                                Cut eggplant into chunks and toss with olive oil, tomatoes, red pepper flakes and garlic. Spread on a cookie sheet and roast in a 450 degree oven until tomatoes split there skins and eggplant is golden brown. Let cool slightly and process in a FP with the basil until smooth. Season with S&P.

                                If serving as a sauce for pasta thin it with some of the hot pasta water.

                                1. I can't even begin to tell you how delicious this is. DH and I could eat it every single night---and in some summers, given enough Sun Golds, we have indeed eaten it many nights in a row. It's that good:
                                  http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

                                  Be sure to get good pecorino romano. We get ours at Costco.

                                  1. If you are willing to give them away, contact your local "Senior Center" and/or local food shelves.

                                      1. I can't say enought about this recipie. I have done it in the winter with frozen cherry tomatoes as well.

                                        http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                        1. This tomato vinaigrette is from the original (hard-copy 2005!) Chow magazine. http://www.chow.com/recipes/10381-she...

                                          It's great on steak salad, either the potato version linked in the intro paragraph or a more standard lettuce version with steak on top (carrot curls, red bell pepper, and avocado are good). I don't think it needs anything like the amount of oil in the recipe; I would say I use no more than 1/3 cup total (grapeseed or walnut). It can be made with your old/wrinkly tomatoes and lasts for weeks in the fridge.

                                          1. Got a food mill? You'll need it to remove the skins and seeds - Sun Gold makes a nice, non-acidic tomato soup. Yellow Pear may make a good soup as well. If you have a dehydrator you can dry them for future use.

                                            Otherwise, treat them like their big siblings, and make sauce to can or freeze.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: tardigrade

                                              Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc At Home cookbook has a wonderful gazpacho featuring Sun Gold Cherry tomatoes. Calls for 2 pounds of them. I was an idiot and didn't plant them this year so I keep buying them to make the recipe... at $3.99/pint. I'm putting them back in the garden next year!!

                                              1. re: tardigrade

                                                Agree. Just as easy to process the babies as their larger cousins if you use a food mill.

                                              2. Slow poach them in olive oil to make confit. You can store in your fridge for a while. Not only are the tomatoes good, but also the resulting oil.
                                                Make a cherry tomato tart.
                                                Cherry tomato risotto.
                                                Gazpacho would use up a lot and turn out sweet.
                                                Or I second the suggestions above to share or donate!

                                                1. Cut them in half - put open side up on baking tray - add NOTHING! - put in oven at about 150F - set oven door ajar eg with wooden spoon - leave overnight - and should be dry next morning

                                                  great for little kids - they call it 'tomato candy' - good for nibbles for everyone -

                                                  absolutely not necessary to put in oil - or freeze - - just pop in plastic bags and close -

                                                  putting in oil could actually result in them spoiling.

                                                  1. The same thing happens to me to using this harvest season.
                                                    What I do is make tomato sauce.

                                                    I puree them all up in my food processer, with mnaybe a bit or garlic, onion, peppers, whatever you like.
                                                    I then put it al lin my crockpot and set to low to let it cook and let about half of the water evaporate out.

                                                    I then freeze in quart containers.

                                                    This really gets the tomatoes quanity under control.

                                                    1. I am fascinated with this recent recipe from the NY Times for grilled cherry tomatoes tossed with raisins, curry and yogurt. Unfortunately here in Arizona my cherry tomato plants dried up a couple months ago, but I am keeping this in mind for the next round.

                                                      http://www.nytimes.com/recipes/101498...

                                                      1. straight no chaser - into the freezer. freeze on a baking sheet, then into storage. save until the depths of winter. remove and use in stews and sauces. they pop when they heat up and are wonderful in february...

                                                        also, i have a recipe for a GREEN tomato chutney that i make with green cherry tomatoes. it is excellent. there's no photo on this version (so it might not be exactly like mine) but it looks like the right recipe: http://www.yummly.com/recipe/Tomato-C...
                                                        you'll be thanking me for that right before your first frost!

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: rmarisco

                                                          Ditto, I have 2 trays currently in the freezer!

                                                          1. re: rmarisco

                                                            I don't event bother with trays. Just whole tomatoes in the bags, and into the freezer!

                                                            1. My mother does this with grape tomatoes, but I don't see why cherries wouldn't work. She cuts them in half, adds sliced shallots, a little olive oil, a little balsamic vinegar, and roasts them in the oven and uses them as essentially, well bruschetta. I can ask for the exact recipe, if you're interested.

                                                              1. If you're going to a dinner party or something, you could do mini caprese tarts. I'd take pie dough and cut it into squares small enough to put in muffin tins, then fill halfway with ricotta mixed with egg whites and chiffonaded basil. Fill the remaining space in the cup with salted and peppered sliced cherry tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil and basalmic, and bake for like 20-30 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. This is usually a hit at (board) game nights.

                                                                1. Just made a cassoulet tonight that called for 3 lb of cherry tomatoes. I raided the vines for cherry tomatoes, but only found a little over a pound (yellow & red) that were ripe, so I cut the recipe in half. Still was good, but now I have fewer leftovers!

                                                                  1. Caprese with pesto is fantastic with cherry tomatoes

                                                                    1. Half then oven-dry at 215 degrees. Takes a few hours for each baking sheet to get dry where there is no moisture. The result is almost leather like and barely flexible. Can also do it outside in the sun, but takes much longer when below boiling point. Then I freeze in non-BPA zip sandwich bags. Put several sandwich bags into a gallon zip bag and freeze to enjoy all year. Great in and on all kinds of things: salads, pasta, soups, etc. A favorite is to grind them up into bits with a food processor or magic bullet and sprinkle for extra intense tomato flavor on my spaghetti with meat sauce. (sometimes with meat balls). Tasty addition to add texture on top of a good tomato soup.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: smaki

                                                                        215 seems a bit hot to me - if I try that the tomatoes take on too much of a 'burned' taste even if they are not actually burnt. The color is too rather dark.

                                                                        I've been doing them at 50C - about 125F - and the tangy taste and rather bright color remains.

                                                                        Yes - does take then usually overnight - and I leave the oven door slightly ajar to let moisture escape.

                                                                        1. re: jounipesonen

                                                                          @jounipesonen, Doing another batch, thank you for the tip to go low and slow longer for better flavor. Will take your advice. Love them. Very tasty way to eat in the off-season.

                                                                      2. Cooks Illustrated had a delicious recipe called Pesto alla Trapanese that I loved. It only uses 12 ounces of cherry tomatoes, but I think it would freeze about as well as basil pesto.

                                                                        To paraphrase, dry toast 1/4 cup slivered almonds and set aside to cool. In the meantime, put the stemmed cherry tomatoes, 1/2 cup packed basil leaves, 1 small clove garlic, a chopped pepperoncini (or a small amount of vinegar and dried red pepper flakes), a little salt and the toasted almonds in a food processor.

                                                                        Process until smooth, about 1 minute, then add 1/3 cup olive oil while the machine is running.

                                                                        Toss with hot spaghetti (save some pasta cooking water to loosen it up if necessary) with Parmesan. This is enough for about 1 pound of pasta (dry).

                                                                        Very summery flavors, we loved it as a main, or you could serve it as a side with meat.

                                                                        1. Sauce!!! Split and cook as any other Marinara recipe, excellent!!

                                                                          1. I have a pot of Sun Golds on the stove. I sauteed onions & garlic in a lot of olive oil, added the tomatoes, sprigs of rosemary & thyme and I'm cooking it until I like the consistency, will then put it through a food mill and freeze in zip lock bags.

                                                                            1. How about Acqua Pazza? http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/fi... My Italian boyfriend makes it often with cherry tomatoes.

                                                                              1. This year, besides giving some to friends, I'm donating my excess tomatoes to the local food bank. They were happy to accept both standard and cherry varieties.

                                                                                1. Cherry tomatoes make an excellent marinara sauce and they are so easy to skin. Drop into boiling water for a short time (20-30 seconds) until their skins split, and then you can simply squeeze them out of their skins. Discard the skins and use the pulp in the same way you would any other tomato flesh. This sauce freezes well. We rely on Mario Batali's basic tomato sauce recipe.

                                                                                  1. drop off them off at the food bank