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TOO MANY CHERRY TOMATOES!

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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

        Yes!

        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?

                  1. re: pinehurst

                    Balsamic.

                    1. re: Jerseygirl111

                      That can be on the sweet side, tho.

                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.

                7 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. 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. This recipe uses up a pound and is tasty http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/gi...

                            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. Share with friends!

                                    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!

                                                        2. And probably making this tomorrow....

                                                          http://www.beyondsalmon.com/2006/02/t...

                                                          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!