If you have too many tomatoes and don’t know what to do with them, try these delicious recipes and ideas for using them now and later.
Discover more ways to use up your tomatoes with these helpful tips and recipes from my WPR (Wisconsin Public Radio) Podcast – Too Many Tomatoes. LISTEN HERE: FOOD FRIDAY – TOMATOES
Delicious Options to Make Do with Too Many Tomatoes
Mid to late summer and early fall are the perfect time to harvest some of the season’s best produce like tomatoes. But like it often happens to many gardeners, you might find yourself with too many tomatoes and not enough ideas of what to do with them.
Fear not. I’ve got a plethora of recipes and ideas to help you make use of this wonderful garden staple, not only today but in the weeks and months to come.
Here are my favorite:
1. Eat ‘Em Sliced or Whole
Who doesn’t love the taste of a tomato that’s freshly picked right off the vine. There’s something sublime that comes with tasting what took several months to create, thanks to plenty of sunshine and gentle watering.
So eat up while you can and get your fix of this fresh produce while it’s available.
2. Juice ‘Em
Not all tomatoes are created equal, nor do they stay nice and firm forever. So for those that have become squishy, why not opt to make tomato juice. You can use a Vitamix, blender, or food processor to break down the tomatoes into pulpy goodness. Then it’s just a matter of straining the seeds and pulp (if you want a smooth tomato juice experience). Or give this recipe from Kristina from Fully Raw who shares how she makes from scratch a healthier version of V8: The Real V8 Juice.
And, you don’t have to stop there. Love the idea of fresh tomato juice to make an over-the-top Bloody Mary? Here’s a recipe to Make the Best Bloody Mary--ever.
Kids of all ages love tomato soup and for good reason. Not only is it great to warm the tummy but also perfect for dunking grilled cheese sandwiches. But you might not know that tomato soup can also be a refreshing repast sans stove. Check out my two favorite tomato soup recipes:
4. Sun Dry
One of the best ways to make preserving tomatoes is by enlisting the help of a summer constant: the sun. Using this solar power makes the most delicious sun dried tomatoes. But you aren’t limited to just the sun. You can also use your oven, too. Make a batch or two and keep them preserved in oil. These beauties are perfect for salads and sauces or even topped on toasted bread. Check out this easy recipe from Rommy on the Simple Way to Make Dried Tomatoes.
Your dehydrator or oven can make the most delicious tomato chips for snacking and tomato powder that adds amazing layers of flavor to many sauces, dressings, and marinades. Here is the 411 on how to maximize your time and tomatoes with this informative video from Everything Homemade:
From hours long stovetop cooking to in 30 minutes-or-less marinara, you have options for making a variety of tomato-based sauces. Or better still give my favorite, all-time recipe a try: Tomato Sauce with Butter and Onions.
My most favorite sandwiches has to be the Classic BLT (Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato) Sandwich. Loaded with tomatoey goodness, smoked bacon, garden lettuce and toasted bread–gee, one can’t go wrong with this.
But you don’t have to stop there. Want to be a purist? Go bacon and lettuce-free and just celebrate everything tomato with this classic recipe for Tomato Sandwich.
You might not know this but tomatoes are actually considered a fruit. And, what better way to highlight this aspect than by making a batch or two of Tomato Jam. Never tried it before, you say? Here a quick and easy recipe from Jet Set Fork: How to Make Tomato Jam Recipe + Canning Tips
Made with ingredients most folks have in their pantry, you can make a relish that can be used with a host of options including eggs, sandwiches, roasted potatoes and even roasted vegetables. Here’s how thanks to Jami from An Oregon Cottage shares her over-the-top recipe for Tomato Chutney.
I really can’t think of a summer (or winter) without dipping into some salsa with crunchy tortilla chips. It’s the perfect appetizer or garnish over fajitas, tacos, chimicangas–grilled meats, vegetables–yeah, just about anything.
My favorite recipe hands down has to be this: Lone Star Salsa. Based off the Tex-Mex version, I remember eating when I lived in Texas, this salsa can be spiced up or down depending upon your taste. Just be sure to have plenty of tortilla chips handy–just saying!
11. Pico de Gallo
They may just be little tidbits, but this dipping favorite is chocked full of flavor, especially when you use fresh garden tomatoes off the vine. Check out my family favorite recipe: Pico de Gallo also known as Salsa Fresca.
12. Tomato Paste
Soups, stews and stocks and sauces will get a kick of tomatoey flavor when you add some homemade tomato paste. Never made it before, you say? Sarah Mock from Savoring the Good shares her favorite recipe for Homemade Tomato Paste via video.
Learn how to make your very own homemade ketchup from scratch using your extra cherry tomatoes from the garden. Here’s a quick and easy recipe from SSL Family Dad – Homemade Ketchup.
14. Pizza Sauce
Pizza takes on a who other dimension when you make the sauce from scratch. Here’s the quick and easy version from
It’s easy to see why Margherita Pizza is a hit with my family. It’s loaded with heirloom tomatoes and loads of cheese, topped with fresh basil. Hungry yet? You too can make this recipe at home. Here’s the recipe link: Easy Margherita Pizza.
Rustic but unbelieveably delish are bruschetta and crostini. Toasted bread or rounds, you can vamp them up for a snack, appetizer or even a meal. Give this recipe a try: Spanish Catalan Tomato Bread. It’s made with tomatoes, garlic, extra virgin olive oil and toasted bread. Serve with your favorite beverage.
17. Grill ‘Em
Summer gardening should also include outdoor grilling. So heat up your grill (gas or charcoal) and let the “grill do it’s work.” Here’s a video tutorial from Chef Jason Hill from Chef Tips – How to Grill Tomatoes.
18. Fry ‘Em
You might not have gathered in all the tomatoes before the first frost, but don’t worry. Even if you have green tomatoes, you can make a dish that is a treat to your culinary senses. I have vamped this version of Wisconsin Fried Green Tomatoes to rival both the Southern and North Eastern U.S. recipes combined.
Add some wow to your already fresh tomatoes with just a few key ingredients to take them to new heights. Great for long or short storage. Check out this this recipe from Jenn of Peas and Crayons: Marinated Cherry Tomatoes.
Learn how to store your tomatoes for months at a time in your freezer with this helpful video tutorial from Poonam’s Kitchen:
21. Can ‘Em
Learn the basics to canning your own tomatoes for year round enjoyment with this helpful video tutorial from Ball Canning: How to Can Tomatoes.
22. Stuff ‘Em
When you need a super easy appetizer that’s easy to make on the fly and that uses cherry tomatoes, look no further than this simple video tutorial from Recipe 30 – Tomatoes Provencale.
I can’t think a simpler salad than this Classic Caprese Salad recipe. It comes together in just minutes and no fuss or muss. Here’s the recipe link: Classic Caprese Salad.
Southern classic meets garden fresh is what this Tomato Pie made by Paula Deen offers to culinary enthusiasts. You’re gonna want a slice or two of this beauty. Enjoy!
One of the prettiest dishes by far and perfect for brunch, lunch or dinner. It’s great as an appetizer too. I like to use both red and yellow cherry tomatoes, but you can also substitute with sliced roma or beefsteak tomatoes. Don’t forget, however the fresh basil and cheese. Delish! Recipe Link: Cheesy Tomato Onion Tart.
26. Flavored Rice
Tomatoes add a depth of flavor to any dish and nowhere is this more true than with Mexican rice. It’s easy to taste the richness of the chopped tomatoes, along with the other yummy ingredients. I like this recipe because I can use canned tomatoes when tomatoes are no longer in season. Love the idea of a hearty rice dish? Then give this recipe a try: One Pot Spicy Mexican Rice Recipe.
Quiche is for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. And, what makes this versatile dish so wonderful is that when you add tomatoes to it, it is like eating a bit of culinary sunshine. Check out this recipe from Laura in the Kitchen and her recipe for Margherita Quiche.
Give your breakfrast bunch a treat they’ll love to eat again and again with this delicious Tomato Basil Fritatta from Everyday Dishes. It’s so quick and easy to make, plus is healthy too!
30. Give to Local Food Pantries
Sharing is caring, so if you have lots of extra tomatoes to spare, you can offer them to local food pantries. Just contact your community center or local church to see if they will accept your produce. Many places do accept garden produce and it’s a great treat, healthy too, for families in need.
31. Give to Friends and Family
And, don’t forget to pass along your bounty to family and friends. Not everyone can host a garden, so receiving fresh tomatoes no matter the reason or season is a definite gift indeed.
32. Harvest the Seeds
Don’t let those seeds that aren’t going to be consumed go to waste. Instead, learn how How to Prepare and Store Seeds from Your Tomato Plants from GrowVeg.
Finally, after the growing season has passed, make your tomato plants give you one last gift–the gift of compost. Here’s a timely video from Gardens That Matter that answers the question that yes you really can compost your tomato plants.
For more delicious ideas to make and bake with tomatoes be sure to check out Wisconsin Homemaker’s Recipe Section.