Twelve Ideas For Using Up Your Tomato Crop

vegetable-874028_960_720It’s tomato season! Are you buried under a pile of quickly ripening tomatoes? Do you hate wasting them?

This time of year, I, like many gardeners end up with too many tomatoes. So, I have been busy investigating frugal ways of using them up without too much effort or too much waste.

download (1)Here are my favourite frugal  ideas for using up all those extra tomatoes from your garden. For best results do most of these when the fruit are at their freshest.

1. Make salsa.
I love Mexican food. When it’s served with fresh salsa I really can’t resist. There’s something about the fresh ingredients in uncooked salsa that makes it such a treat for the summer.

Fresh Salsa Recipe

3 large tomatoes, cut into large chunks
1 large cucumber (about 12″ long), peeled and cut into large chunks
1 large handful of cilantro (about 1 cup)
Juice of 1 lemon
3-5 fresh garlic cloves, peeled
2-3 fresh jalapenos, halved (remove seeds if you don’t like spice/heat)
1/2 – 1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt, start with 1/2 teaspoon

1. Wash and prep produce: cut tomatoes into large chunks, peel cucumber and cut into large chunks, cut lemon in half, peel garlic cloves, and cut jalapenos in half {Note: If you do not like too much spice, remove the seeds, or remove the seeds from 2 peppers and leave the seeds in 1 for a mild heat.}.

2. Add all produce, lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt to the food processor. Pulse a few times to do a rough chop, then continue to blend until everything is combined and no chunks are left, about 15-20 seconds and you’re done!

Home Made Salsa

Home Made Salsa

This fresh salsa is the best, but it’s only available in the summer. Bottling your own salsa is a great way to enjoy it all year round.

4749672496_782b8f572c_b3. Use tomatoes as a skin cleanser.
It’s true! The acids in tomato juice are great for softening and cleaning skin.

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4. No-cook pasta sauce

 Dice up some fresh tomatoes
Add fresh herbs like parsley, basil, and oregano
Add olive oil, lemon juice, and salt
Et voilà! A quick sauce that can be put on hot or cold.

soup-1429806_960_7205.  Soup.
Homemade tomato soup is full of lycopene, which has been shown to fight chronic diseases and increase the body’s natural sun protection. As an added bonus it is also really simple to make, very healthy, and you can freeze it for later use.

images6. Juice to go!
If you have too many tomatoes, making tomato juice is a great way to use them up. You can use tomato juice in soups, to add flavor to meat, to deodorize a stinky refrigerator, or just to drink – vodka is optional!.

7. Tomato Paste
Tomato paste can be used in loads of dishes and it freezes really well, making it a really useful thing to make from your excess tomato crop.
Top tip: freeze some tomato paste in ice cube trays for popping into stews, soups, and sauces.

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8. Grilled bruschetta
Bruschetta is a really easy and tasty way to use too many tomatoes.

Cut a crusty baguette into slices and toast them on the grill. Then brush with garlic butter or oil. Top with slices of tomato and fresh mozzarella or get adventurous and experiment with additional toppings such as mushrooms, fresh chopped herbs, gorgonzola, zucchini or olives.

9. Fried green tomatoes
Ideal if tomatoes fall off the vine, or for any reason they fail to ripen.

DSC_0251How to make fried green tomatoes:

Slice the green tomatoes and dip them in an egg bath.
Coat with a batter of your choice. Being dairy and gluten free, I use a mixture of almond meal and a gluten free flour.
Fry the tomatoes in your choice of oil (at roughly 375 degrees) until golden and crispy.
Enjoy!

Tomato_Casual10. Tomato ketchup
Making your own ketchup is a great way to use those extra tomatoes while keeping your food as healthy as possible. Since homemade ketchup uses a lot of them, you’ll never have too many tomatoes again!

11. Freeze them.
You can freeze fresh tomatoes just like other fruits. It’s a great way to preserve them when you have too many tomatoes. If you are planning on using them for a sauce or stew later, freezing whole raw tomatoes is a fine way to preserve them without putting the work in up front to cook them.

12. Stuffed tomatoes
Another great way to use too many tomatoes but be sure to use large, firm ones.

Slice them in half horizontally and scoop out the inside.
Fill with your choice of filling (,olives, mincemeat, tuna, cheese, spinach, mushrooms, rice. and quinoa are some ideas)
Bake at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes.626785564_947e0dff0b_b

So there you have a dozen ways to use up your leftover tomatoes. I’d love to hear your suggestions too if you have any!

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