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5 Things To Do With “Extra” Tomatoes

A bountiful harvest is a good thing… right up until you have too much of a good thing going on. Strong tomato plants will deliver just that – all the juicy, succulent tomatoes you can handle, plus all you can give away, plus more tomatoes than you know what to do with at once. The usual tricks – making BLT sandwiches, mixing up some salsa, tossing together a caprese salad – get old fast and really only use a few tomatoes at a time.

You need to deal with more than a handful of extra tomatoes – you’ve got a harvest to manage! Here are five things to do with extra tomatoes to help stretch out the bounty of your garden while simultaneously ensuring that none of it goes to waste.

Make Tomato Juice

Juicing has numerous health benefits, but it’s also useful to gardeners with too many tomatoes on their hands. You can make healthy tomato juice at home, save a fortune on the store-bought brands, and keep the juice frozen for months so that you’ll always have sip of summer to share.

If you don’t have a juicer, you can cook up your own juice. Pull out a large non-reactive saucepan and toss in washed and quartered tomatoes. Simmer them for about ten minutes, until they are soft and falling apart. Take them off the heat and using a sieve, strain the mix so that the solids are left behind. Toss the solids (or use in another recipe), flavor the juice to taste, and then drink it fresh or freeze it for later.

Create Tomato Soup for Summer or Winter

Tomato soup recipes call for an average of two pounds of tomatoes, which will make a dent in your supply. As a bonus, you have the choice of making tomato soup for summer heat or the cool of winter.

If you want to manage summer heat, turn to Spanish gazpacho recipes. This tangy tomato soup is served cold and it goes well with a fresh garden salad. Made with tomato, peppers, cucumber, and fresh spices, gazpacho recipes can use up multiple garden blessings while offering a unique twist on tomato soups.

For winter soups, basic tomato, tomato basil, roasted tomato, and tomato red pepper soup are all standard options. For something different, try Indian sorba soup with ginger. All can be easily canned, providing you with a taste of your summer garden long after the snow has fallen.

Learn The Most Affordable Ways To Can All Different Kinds Of Vegetables And Meats…

Channel Your Inner Italian

Pasta sauces and pizza sauces are great ways to stretch out the life of your harvest and create easy meals for months to come. Think of this as the ultimate shortcut – when the kids ask what’s for dinner, you’ll know you have a ready-made, healthy option on hand.

Basic pasta sauce recipes will freeze nicely for up to six months, though you also have the option to can sauces for a longer shelf life. Depending on your herb garden supplies, you may be able to make the whole thing right out of the backyard. Essentially, an hour with a few pounds of tomatoes, some garlic, and a handful of basil gives you a base for meals for months.

Pizza sauces are equally simple. You can spice it up or leave it plain depending on your family’s love for garlic and red pepper flakes. But start to finish, it’s about an hour to a good sauce you can keep on hand in the freezer for months.

Dry It Out

For garnishes or snacks, you can dry tomatoes. It’s optional to flavor them as they dry, though many people do like to spice them with garlic salt, sea salts, and pepper. Thicker slices will stay a bit leathery and chewy, but thinly sliced tomatoes will turn crunchy like potato chips, providing a healthy alternative for kids’ snacks, your snacks, or to add to salads for texture.

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It’s simply to dry tomatoes in the oven, or you have the option to use a solar food dehydrator to get the job done. Plan for an overnight if you’re doing it in the oven, or up to two or three days in a solar dehydrator depending on your daily temperatures and sun exposures.

Drink It Up Now – Or Later

Last but not least, remember that you can always drink your garden with a generous splash of vodka. Though most people buy it in the store, Bloody Mary mix can be made from scratch, allowing you to use up tomatoes, garlic, and horseradish from your own garden. Whether you opt to drink it as a zesty juice or add the alcohol, homemade mixes beat the store blends hands-down.

Homemade Bloody Mary mix can be canned, just like a pasta sauce or soup. Thus, you can toast yourself with the fruits of your labors at the end of summer and all winter long! Don’t forget that you can also just can the tomatoes whole and then pop open a jar or two whenever you want to make one of these delicious recipes!

©2012 Off the Grid News

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  1. southern patriot

    This year God has given our family an abundance of tomatoes, green peppers,green beans,onions,radishes,cucumbers, an in particular, he has given us cherry tomatoes. Plenty of salsa in the freezer. My sister and I have canned 24 quarts of green’s an I have made my first ever jars of bread and butter pickles. !2 quarts an counting. If you don’t mind me saving it,there great.Not bad for my first attempt. Here’s something your reader’s might find interesting.Along with all the “produce’ coming out of the garden into our kitchen,, we have an influx of ‘fruit flies”. We are actually at war with them. If anyone has an organic solution to ending their life span,today,we would appreciate the advice. They mostly like the bathrooms an your ears…. There is a fresh bunch of bananas on the dinning table and the fruit flies will not even land on them. You have to wonder what is in the fruit that drives them away. Just wondering,do they know something that we don’t know. Hey,,on the dehydrating of tomatoes,I read were you could place then inside your car with the windows up As you know inside temps get of 120 degrees or more. Put them on a cookie sheet and put the cookie sheet on a cardboard box in the back seat and let stay for up to 24 hours. That’s my next adventure. Take care and thanks for the great articles and the great responses form your reader. Were still trying to prep an still trying to be prepared for what ever comes next. Take care an God Bless SP

    • Car idea is great BUT your car will smell like tomatoes for a while. If that doesn’t bother you, than it’s a perfect idea.


    • I read on the Dollar Stretcher to put a little red wine in a shallow dish and cover w/ plastic wrap. Poke a hole in the plastic and the fruit flies get in but can’t escape and drown in the wine. The best part is they die happy!

  2. southern patriot

    Thanks for the feed back. The information was great. I have an old car on my property that I was going to use as a oven,but after some more researching of that idea, I decide to passed. But decided to do my dehydrating in the oven. That worked out great. We cleaned and cut our tomatoes an placed them on a cookie sheet an set the oven on 200 degrees. We put some olive oil on the cookie sheet, an also added some salt and pepper on the tomatoes. It took from 12 noon until about 4:30 for them to be dry. Somewhere after the 2nd-hour mark, we raised the oven temp. to 225 and that moved things along faster. As far as the fruit flies go that idea proved a winner and were just rounding up a few of the holdouts. Never saw so many fruit flies. Thanks to Ginger an jsep for your advice. Appreciated it very much. SP

    • We mixed it up with some flavored salts, too. So we have lemon-garlic tomatoes, smoked salt tomatoes, and regular salted dried tomatoes. Really not bad!

  3. southern patriot

    Mamagirl. I think the fruit flies enjoyed the wine as much as I did. Thanks. SP

  4. Feed the really bad tomatoes to your chickens.

  5. They like fly paper too.

  6. i have learned how to make a pretty thick sauce just take a little bit of time , after cooking them down pat thur a stainless screen and then dicard all the shind=s and seeds , then pour back thur the screen and most of the water passes thur and you are left with pure tomatoe sauce , very little water , we portion it up and freeze it then take out and then vacum pack it for long term freezing works great , we vacum pack alot after freezing with lots of veggies

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