There’s that certain time of the year when produce from your garden is drowning you from every side. What do you do with all the excess tomatoes your garden produces? You know in a few months, you’ll be longing for those delicious home-grown tomatoes again and they will be nowhere near.

25 Ways to Use Excess Tomatoes from the Garden

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There’s that certain time of the year when produce from your garden is drowning you from every side. What do you do with all the excess tomatoes your garden produces? You know in a few months, you’ll be longing for those delicious home-grown tomatoes again and they will be nowhere near.

There’s that certain time of the year when produce from your garden is drowning you from every side. What do you do with all the excess tomatoes your garden produces? You know in a few months, you’ll be longing for those delicious home-grown tomatoes again and they will be nowhere near.

In daycare, we are not allowed to serve home-canned food, so I don’t can anything. I do like to put back as much as I can by freezing and dehydrating. For a complete guide on how to use even more produce, check out How to Use All the Garden Produce You Grow-Without Canning by clicking this link.

(check out my favorite seed brand here) We love growing some of the most popular plants such as San Marzanos, Roma Tomatoes, Beefsteak Tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and more in our small space in the garden.

You can grow them in small spaces such as an upside-down planter or even a 5-gallon bucket. Tomatoes are an essential crop and a good choice for any gardener to give a try. If you’re having trouble with the growing, check out our tomato growing secrets here.

What can I do with ripe tomatoes?

table full of fresh garden vegetables, mostly excess tomatoes with a few peppers, green beans and okra pods

Preserving tomatoes without canning

There are so many great ways to use tomatoes. They are quite versatile and delicious prepared many different ways. When your tomato plants are in top production and put off way many tomatoes, don’t fret, because they are great for later use (although I’d like to try to eat them all sometimes, it’s the best way to enjoy heirloom tomatoes, vine-ripened tomatoes are sooo good!)

From ideas as simple as making homemade tomato juice and freezing it in ice cube trays so you can pop it into soups and sauces, to boiling it down into pasta sauces or for a very long time into tomato paste, there are always more ways to use it!

Using them for salad tomato recipes for immediate use, and eating them fresh is one of my favorite things because it’s a great way to put them to good use. Using fresh produce in easy ways like an heirloom tomato sandwich or your favorite salsa recipe is one of the best ways.

But using your homegrown tomatoes to preserve foods for later use is awesome as well. Either way, it’s so much fun to grow the best tomatoes at home and even use it as garden activities to teach your kids about life cycles and the natural world. I love doing that with my little sprouts.

So let’s get going on learning to make some great things with our tomato harvest such as our own ketchup, homemade tomato soup, homemade sun-dried tomatoes, pizza sauce, pasta dishes, and other new recipes that are going to make you thankful you spent so much time growing your own amazing tomatoes in the garden. 

I love to make my own tomato sauce with my excess tomatoes like this amazing sauce I learned how to make from my friend Candy. It’s delicious, click to check it out. You’ll never want store-bought tomato sauce again! I try to make enough for us to use all year. Depending on our harvest, sometimes I get close.

quart of roasted tomato sauce from excess tomatoes from the garden

I use this sauce for pizzas like the ones in this recipe and for:

I also love to make my own homemade Rotel. It can be frozen as well. I use a can of Rotel in my taco soup recipe. When I’m overrun with extra tomatoes, I make a bunch of containers of this Rotel, and use that instead. I freeze it in two cup servings so I can use it in place of a can. Like in this 4 Ingredient Rotel Chili recipe.

If you have a ton of cherry tomatoes, you can make these delightful little candy-like dried cherry tomatoes that are going to blow your socks off with flavor. I love them as a snack or sprinkled on salads. I can’t even tell you how yummy they are!

How to preserve food with dehydration will help you with tips to dehydrate tomatoes too. And also cherry tomatoes are divine on this roasted cherry tomato toast recipe! Yum! One more idea, did you know you can pickle cherry tomatoes? They are good that way as well!

Pile of tomatoes in every shape and color

I love to just slice a bunch of fresh extra garden tomatoes and sprinkle them with a bit of salt and dill and we have at them for lunch. Many of my kids LOVE this. I can also set out a bowl of cherry tomatoes and they will tear them up.

I have heard of grilling tomatoes. Just brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and give them a minute or two on the grill. Personally, I REALLY prefer tomatoes raw, so I’m not sure if I’d love that or not. It would be worth a try.

What to do with extra tomatoes

I LOVE Caprese salad using my garden-fresh tomatoes. Yummy! I also make a chopped balsamic salad with my fresh tomatoes. The kids love both of these recipes.

My husband’s favorite way to have tomatoes is in salsa and Pico de Gallo. I have an amazing Pico recipe using garden fresh tomatoes.

Beautifully sliced heirloom tomatoes placed on a cutting board with slices of fresh mozzarella.

Growing fresh tomatoes in the garden

Last year we grew very few tomatoes in the garden so we didn’t end up with many excess tomatoes to use for later. This year our garden is on point and we are growing close to 100 pounds of food per week right now. And it’s a great problem to have.

I’m excited to see what we get from the garden and I’ve been asking around for great ways to use them. We have lots of extra tomatoes every week. We share with the neighbors, but still have plenty left to save for later.

Obviously, we grow the food so the kids can learn where their food comes from and so they can eat healthy food. We eat as much produce as possible. There are usually 2-5 choices of fresh things from the garden on our table at every lunch. So far, we have not had many excess tomatoes. The kids LOVE tomatoes and gobble them up quickly. As the season goes on, we will have more excess tomatoes to use.

What to do with tomatoes before they go bad

The first thing we do, since it’s a preschool garden and I want to expose my kids to as many fruits and veggies as possible, is to let the kids take some home. We have a fun little farm stand and on days we have produce in it, parents and kids can choose what they want to take home from the garden.

Once the families have all they want of our excess produce we do a number of other things. We will deliver extra tomatoes to people we know are in need and like them. We also deliver excess tomatoes to the local homeless shelter. I LOVE to share what bounty of excess produce we get.

We also put the farm stand out on the porch and announce to the community it’s there so they can come and get some. Another way we share is by taking bags of excess tomatoes to church and my husband takes them to work. We love to share our blessings and the garden certainly is one.

What to do with ripe tomatoes

There are plenty more things you can do with your excess tomatoes from the garden. Click on the links below to see more ideas from other great bloggers.

Once you have them dehydrated, you can use them in mixes like taco soup in a jar.

More tomato tips

Check out these other food preservation articles for your garden produce.

Here’s a link to a great vegetable garden planner you can print right out and use at home! So cute!

For information on how to grow tomatoes in a bucket, click here.

basket of fresh garden tomatoes and tomatoes, mozzarella balls and basil on a cutting board

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5 Comments

  1. Today …imagine this …I had so many smaller Roma tomatoes and more to be picked. I just didn’t want to can them AND I didn’t want them to go to waste. Out of the blue, I thought of roasting them and freezing what ever I got for future recipes. I read a couple of Pinterest how-to’s and now I have a tray of cored, halved, salted and oiled tomatoes in the oven on a rimmed baking sheet at 265° probably for 3 or 4 hours. When they cool, I can pinch the skins off and bag product in a zip lock and pop in the freezer. Freeze flat to save freezer space.

  2. So many great ideas for using up all that great garden produce! Your kids are so lucky to be having this experience! I hope daycares around the country follow your amazing example!

  3. Basic tomato developing tips to help the starting tomato growing fan to grow tomato plants from seeds the correct way. From how to begin to tending to and transplanting your seedlings.