Dealing with an excess

jude31August 3, 2012

I have little tomatoes, bigger than grape or cherry (we always called them tommy toes) by the gallon. I put a bunch in the freezer just washed, dried and put in ziplock bags. I just picked close to a gallon more. Any ideas anyone? I've made salsa twice, roasted tomato garlic soup 3 or 4 times for the freezer. pasta sauces. Looking for inspiration, I guess. I also have an abundance of cherry tomatoes but not as many as the others.

Most of these plants were volunteers that I, in my haste to have a lot of tomatoes, dug up and planted them without knowing what kind they were. Unfortunately they don't come out of the ground with identifying tags on them.-) Now wouldn't that be cool!!!


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You are more than lucky!!!!!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 10:06PM
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Use a dehydrator....I had a cherry tomato plant that volunteered and they were so good dried.
Or roast them with garlic, onion and basil in the oven.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 12:02AM
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I think you were on the right track with just washing and freezing. The skins slip right off after being frozen. If you're trying to save room in the freezer, I'd just cook them down, plain, to get a lot of the juice off of them and then bag them like that. Unless you can and then I'd can the tomato puree. Leave what you're going to do with it till later. I like having just plain tomatoes in the winter. Who knows how I might want to use them? Throw some in vegetable soup, etc..

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 12:29AM
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You can make stewed tomatoes(fry bacon, remove and set aside. cook onions, peppers and tomatoes in bacon drippings. when cooked add crumbled bacon back to pan.) Serve it over eggs, or biscuits. It freezes well in zip lock bags. Tomato jam, pie, and powder are all ways to use up tomatoes. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 6:43AM
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Dehydrating cherry tomatoes is not easy. it takes a long time to dry them unless you cut each in half, and that for some is therapeutic, but not for others.

I do have a way you can cut cherry tomatoes in halves quickly, I just have not had the time to make a video to show.

Dehydrated cherry tomatoes are like raisins, kids love them, especially if you make them with various fruit flavors. I make a lot of them every year to give away.

Otherwise you can make pizza.


    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 8:22AM
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I whiz them in the blender & then strain them thru the food mill. That removes some of the seeds & skins although the seeds tend to be small and some get thru anyway.

At this point, you can either add them to tomatoes that you are canning or you can reduce them for either juice or further reduce for tomato sauce.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 8:41AM
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I am growing the EXACT same tomatoes as I did last year.
I only used half the pack of seeds last year. I'm growing
Beefsteak, and Early Girl and a Burgundy Hybrid. Last
year, most of my mayters were fist-sized, or larger.
This year all of them are not much bigger than a golf ball,
(the size of hail). Wass uhhh with that?

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 12:24PM
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I think one of the best uses is to make dried tomatoes.

Halve cherry tomatoes, seed (you can do that with a teaspoon, scooping the seeds out with the tip of it), toss with a little olive oil, S&P, oregano, mashed garlic and a touch of brown sugar. Lay on parchment covered cookie sheets in the oven, skin side down. Roast at 200-300 degrees until tomatoes are dried to your liking. Pop into ziplock bags and use throughout the year in place of (very expensive) sun-dried tomatoes.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 12:54PM
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Coconut, I think I'll follow your suggestion of cooking them down and bagging them....although I'm short on freezer space. Putting more in and taking nothing out, it seems. I don't want to get the pressure canner out again, so whatever I do I'll keep that in mind. If our late tomatoes do any good I'll be in the same fix again but more often than not they don't bear as well.

Thing is, we're two very mature adults and can only use so much.-)

I have a recipe I'll post that will use 2 cups of my cherry tomatoes and it is delicious. I think I posted it on new recipes or something earlier in the season.

Corn Relish/Salad

1/4 C. white wine venegar
1 1/2 T. sugar
a little EVOO
S&P to taste

2 C. grape/cherry tomatoes, halved
2 ears fresh corn kernels
1/2 C. slivered/chopped red onion
2 T. minced parsley
1 T. chopped chives
1 T. thinly sliced basil

Toss to mix.

The first time I made this I used cherry tomatoes from the grocery and it was still good.

I appreciate all your suggestions.


    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 1:39PM
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I got a Victorio food mill for Christmas last year and it has forever changed my relationship with tomatoes. It's kind of a pain, but so much less of a pain than peeling gazillions of cherry tomatoes which is what I used to do. They are good in salsa and sauces, which do need to be cooked down since cherry toms are watery, but many recipes do not need to be pressure canned. When I was young and crazy and just starting out canning, one year I made all my salsa and chili sauce from some freebie cherry toms that I gleaned. My hands got raw from the peeling! Thank G-d I have since gotten a life! :)

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 1:57PM
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LPink, you are a riot! I'm getting ready to thaw what's in the freezer and add my new ones to it. Somewhere along the line I hope to even out....maybe.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 3:20PM
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Jude, if you run them through a food mill you can use the resulting sauce to make catsup.


    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 5:19PM
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I do the same as Lpink...heat them to soften (I'm lazy and don't like to crank that thing) and run them through the Victorio.

We like them best dried, though. Fortunately cabinetmaker DH does seem to find it therapeutic to cut things into perfect little pieces, lol. We lay them cut side up and sprinkle with salt, coarse ground pepper, and sometimes some oregano and granulated garlic.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 7:45PM
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I seem to remember a little video of Sarah from Everyday Food laying the little grape/cherry tomatoes on a lid of a margarine/sour cream container. She put another lid on the top and held them down, and sliced horizontally through the whole lot. It looked easy peasy and it went real quick.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 8:00PM
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Well, Annie, my friend I thank you for your suggestion but....I really don't care much for catsup. I really prefer the taste of whatever people drown in catsup and Bob would almost rather do without if it's not Heinz. We do have our preferences don't we?-)

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 8:22PM
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Jasdip I'll have to remember that little trick. I'm sure there'll be other occasions to use it.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 8:29PM
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jasdip, I have seen that method, that's why I came up with my way, I think a better way.


    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 8:31PM
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I have made this with halved red and yellow cherry tomatoes.

This is a good relish to serve with a baked ham in the winter for a little taste of summer.

TOMATO AND PEAR MARMALADE � makes 6 eight once jars

1 and 1/2 pounds tomatoes
1 pound pears
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. grated lemon rind
1 1/2 inches of stick cinnamon
1 pkg. ( 1 3/4 oz.) powdered fruit pectin
5 cups sugar

Scald tomatoes; peel, core, and cut into eights. Place in saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes; measure 2 and 1/4 cups.

Pare core and dice pears to measure 2 cups. Toss pears with the lemon juice and rind in a bowl.

Combine tomatoes, pear mixture, cinnamon stick and pectin in a kettle. Bring quickly to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add sugar; bring again to a full rolling boil. Boil rapidly 1 minute.

Remove from heat; skim off foam; discard cinnamon stick. Stir and skim for 7 minutes to cool and prevent floating fruit. Ladle into hot jars and process in simmering water bath for 10-15 minutes.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 11:07AM
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Like lpink I'm a major fan of that style of food mill, although I think mine is the "Back 2 Basics" brand pictured here:

which is different from what most people picture when then hear food mill (which is this:)

It takes about 5 minutes to set up and 10 to dismantle and clean, but counting that 15 minutes, I think you could process the entire gallon in about 18 minutes. No boiling and skinning, or cutting and seeding, just dump the tomatoes into the hopper, turn the crank, and the seeds and skins come out one place and and the tomato-y goodness comes out somewhere else.

I haven't yet had enough tomatoes this year to start canning, but I've processed a couple of smaller batches, and reduced the results over medium low heat to a thickness about like tomato sauce, and refrigerated it, and have used it a cup at a time in recipes for the last week or so.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 4:03PM
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Believe it or not Bob, I used to use the Foley style mill you have in the second picture to make my tomato sauces! Needless to say I didn't make that many jars, and I was completely mad by the end of canning season!

Not to put pressure on anyone, but homeade catsup is a whole other condiment than the store bought stuff!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 4:10PM
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LPink, I think I feel a little nudge.-) Thing is, if I go to all that trouble and "What's his name" won't touch it, needless to say I would not be a happy camper. I think I've seen the recipe in the Blue Book or the Small batch preserving, one or the other but haven't read it.

On the other hand, with you and Annie both suggesting it, I can't think of a better endorsement.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 5:26PM
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