Do you have an abundance of extra tomatoes? This is a problem that is common for both new and veteran gardeners. Read on to see what all you can do tomatoes so that you can get rid of all your extra tomatoes!
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Found yourself with too many extra tomatoes?
First of all, let me say that there is no such thing as too many extra tomatoes! I’ve been there before myself. I thought it would be a good idea to plant a massive amount of tomato plants and ended up with what I thought was way too many leftover, extra tomatoes. This is definitely possible if you are feeding your plants properly or if you are using plasticulture.
I didn’t have too many tomatoes. I just didn’t have enough ideas of what I should be doing with them.
Growing up, my mom always canned tomatoes. She would can so many tomatoes that she never had to buy tomato sauce or whole canned tomatoes. She always had enough put away. They also tasted so much better than the store bought tomatoes.
The first thing I think about when I have an abundance of extra tomatoes is to can them.
Canning Extra Tomatoes
There are literally so many ways that you can put away tomatoes. One of the easiest ways is to boil and can whole tomatoes. Boil the tomatoes and then stick them in an ice bath. The skins will peel right off and you can can them that way.
You can also boil the tomatoes and chop them in the sauce pan as they cook. Cook it down some and you’re left with tomatoes that you can add to soups, stews and other recipes.
If you want to get fancy, there are recipes out there to can homemade ketchup, salsa, spaghetti sauce and more. Some of these will require a canner and are a little more complicated but are still totally doable.
You could even can extra tomatoes and put chopped peppers in the tomatoes similar to Rotel.
Think about the different types of canned tomatoes or tomato products that you buy. Look up recipes to make them yourself. You will be surprised at how simple it is to make some of the things that you purchase.
If you’re looking for tried and true canning recipes, check out my favorite go-to for canning, the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. Ball is an amazing company known for canning materials and you can trust that the recipes in their boo are proven winners. It’s been one of my favorite go-to books for canning.
Eating Extra Tomatoes Fresh
Nothing beats a homegrown tomato.
Seriously, nothing. I like to grow a variety of tomatoes. For example, this year we are growing four different types of cherry tomatoes alone. We are growing several types of full sized tomatoes as well.
Why do we grow all of these different types of tomatoes? The flavors!
We are growing a variety of cherry tomatoes this year that are called Sunsweet tomatoes.
The tomatoes are a small orange cherry tomato that are extremely sweet. Honestly, I only get about a fifth of them because my kids will eat them off of the plant. I had to convince them that they in fact were a tomato and not a small orange!
The sweet varieties of tomatoes can be eaten as they are. Try some of the cherry tomatoes that are bright orange or dark purple. We eat them like they are candy.
Meatier tomatoes are equally as good sliced and sprinkled with salt and pepper. You haven’t lived until you’ve sliced up some tomatoes and eaten them with salt and pepper.
Take some extra tomatoes and cube them up.
Slice up some cucumbers and pour Italian dressing over them. Add some chopped onion if you want to.
That is a super simple salad that is fresh and tastes wonderful. It makes an excellent side dish if you’re grilling and don’t want something with too much fuss but don’t want to skimp on flavor.
Cooking with Extra Tomatoes
I love to cook with fresh tomatoes.
Some of the best spaghetti sauce I’ve ever made was totally from scratch with fresh tomatoes. I cut up my tomatoes and simmered them all afternoon. They cooked down into an amazing sauce.
Many dishes that call for canned or diced tomatoes will taste so much better with fresh tomatoes.
If you haven’t tried making salsa from scratch, it needs to be pretty high on your to-do list. I have a recipe for roasted salsa that I have been working on for about a year now. It is better than any restaurant or canned salsa out there.
I also love that everything in it is fresh. There aren’t any preservatives or artificial flavors. It’s really healthy and really, really good.
You could also whip up a quick batch of bruschetta. Bruschetta is always best with fresh tomatoes.
Cooking Light has a collection of More Than 100 Fresh Tomato Recipes.
Switching it up from healthy to maybe not so much….
Fried. Green. Tomatoes.
Oh my word. If you have extra tomatoes and need to get rid of some, do yourself a favor and pick some of the big green ones. Don’t let them get red. Pick those puppies when they are totally green.
You can’t go wrong with a fried green tomato.
There are different opinions about how to properly fry a green tomato. Depending on who you listen to, you may coat the slices in flour, cornmeal or a combination of both. If you fry them up plain, serve them with a spicy ranch dipping sauce.
Southern Living has an excellent recipe for a traditional Southern style fried green tomato.
I’m telling you. This is probably one of the best ways to get rid of extra tomatoes. 🙂
This is another classic Southern summer food.
One of my Pappaw’s favorite ways to eat tomatoes is a tomato sandwich.
It’s pretty simple. Slice up a tomato and layer it on bread like you would lunch meat. Add salad dressing (or mayonnaise) and sprinkle it with salt and pepper.
If you want to get fancy, check out Southern Living’s article 17 Ways to Build a Better Tomato Sandwich.
If you have bacon and lettuce you can even go a step further and make a BLT.
Either way, you’ll enjoy a light sandwich that will help get rid of those extra tomatoes!
End of the Year Tomatoes
Tomato plants tend to produce tomatoes that are smaller in size at the end of their growing season. You can take these undersized tomatoes and can them.
Another recipe that I love is ‘end of the year tomatoes’.
These undersized tomatoes are pickled and canned in a semi-sweet juice. It’s one of those weird recipes that you just have to try. It sounds weird but oh my gracious it’s good!
Seeds from end of the year extra tomatoes
If you’ve planted heirloom tomatoes, you can keep some of the tomatoes at the end of the year for seeds.
Let the seeds dry and keep them in a cool dark place. Plant them next year and you’ll save on seeds!
Sell Extra Tomatoes at a Farmer’s Market
If you have a huge abundance of extra tomatoes and you’ve exhausted all of your recipes and your canner, you may want to consider selling them at a farmer’s market.
Many farmer’s markets are open to growers as long as you call ahead and ask. Don’t wait the day of and show up. Call ahead and see if there is a vendor fee and if there is room.
Your best bet is going to be to find a market that is in an urban area. Many urban shoppers want to purchase local produce and will even pay above the supermarket price to buy from growers at the farmer’s market because they know it’s a locally grown product.
Eating local is a huge trend right now. Take advantage of that trend if you are interested in selling tomatoes. I’ve heard of some growers around the country that are able to sell out of their tomatoes for $6.00 per pound. That’s insane!
If you grow varieties of tomatoes that aren’t the normal beefsteak tomato, odds are that you won’t have problems selling tomatoes.
The first time that we had Sunsweet tomatoes, we were walking around a farmer’s market. A girl was selling them in small containers for $3.00 each. She let us taste one and that was it. We bought four containers and had eaten them all by the next weekend’s farmer’s market.
If you are interested in selling your extra tomatoes at a farmer’s market, check out USDA’s National Farmer’s Market Directory to find a farmer’s market near you.
If you are interested in selling but can’t find a market, think charity.
This probably sounds backwards.
One of the best ways to find a market to sell your extra tomatoes is by donating to charity.
Find a local food bank and donate tomatoes to them. You’ll gain the publicity you need to sell some of your tomatoes and help give fresh food to people that will truly appreciate it.
You will also be providing fresh food to the food bank. Most food donations are nonperishable items, so the fresh tomatoes will be a treat for those needing food.
Using Your Extra Tomatoes
There are so many ways that you can use use your extra tomatoes.
You can eat them fresh, can them for later, think outside of the box when cooking with them and even sell them.
Just remember, there’s no such thing as ‘too many’ tomatoes!
What do you do with your abundance of tomatoes? How do you get rid of all of your extra tomatoes? Let me know!
You might also be interested in:
- What should I do with tomato suckers?
- When should I harvest yellow squash?
- Guide to growing pumpkins
- Homemade oven roasted salsa