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.
What can I do with ripe tomatoes?
Preserving tomatoes without canning
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.
I use this sauce for pizzas like the ones in this recipe and for spaghetti sauce, spaghetti pie, and lasagna of course. Anything you can think of that needs tomato sauce is great with this fresh tomato roasted sauce.
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.
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!
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.
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. 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 quick. 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.
More tomato tips
Check out these other food preservation articles for your garden produce.
Storing garden produce to make it last as long as possible
Don’t forget to pin for later
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