Tomatoes tend to be at a surplus this time of the year. If you garden, if a neighbor does, or if you hit farm markets and stands, you have probably noticed the abundance.
In one way, I love having loads of tomatoes in my kitchen. They are so yummy and flavorful right now! But another part of me can’t help wondering what to do with so many tomatoes.
Canning is a great option for getting those ‘maters stored for the year, and typically I do quite a bit of tomato canning. However, it makes my kitchen dreadfully hot. Even more so, I’m finding it harder and harder to devote the time to canning with more children in the home.
Rather than see an abundance of tomatoes go to waste, I try to find other ways to use them or preserve them. If you’re not sure what to do with lots of tomatoes when you don’t want to can, this post is for you!
Pause. Disclosure. This post contains a couple of affiliate links. Purchasing through these links doesn’t cost you a penny but can provide our family with a small commission. Your support is a blessing!
Freezing or Dehydrating
Did you know that you can quickly and easily freeze or dehydrate tomatoes? I did this last year when my tomato plants yielded a pathetic crop. I never had enough tomatoes at once to can, so I opted to freeze and dehydrate.
It worked fantastically!
To Freeze Tomatoes
If you’re going to freeze tomatoes, the easiest way by far is to simply wash, dry, core if you’d like, and place whole in a freezer bag. No peeling, slicing, or chopping required.
When you need fresh tomatoes for a sauce, soup, casserole, or other cooked dish, simply take the bag out of the freezer and let it thaw. The meat of the tomato will plop right out of the skin!
Of course, these frozen-then-thawed tomatoes don’t work for fresh eating or slicing. You use them just like you would canned tomatoes in cooked dishes.
To Dehydrate Tomatoes
I dehydrated so many tomatoes last year. Talk about a time saver!
The process is also extremely simple. We (my faithful sidekick, Miss L and I) just washed, sliced, and then placed the tomato slices on my food dehydrator‘s trays. (I lined the trays with the silicon sheets to prevent sticking). Again, no peeling!
After drying according to the dehydrator’s directions, we were rewarded with bags stuffed with these tasty dehydrated tomatoes! I used them in sauces, soups, eggs, and other baked dishes.
These tomatoes make for fantastic “sun-dried” tomatoes in recipes, and one of my children even enjoyed them as a snack. Their flavor is very concentrated.
If you’re going to do some freezing or dehydrating, be sure to get the most out of those tomatoes as possible!
Recipes for Lots of Tomatoes
Having tomatoes stored up for the rest of the year is great, but it’s also really nice to use them up for meals to soak in that fresh flavor. Grocery store tomatoes don’t even compare!
This is a great way to keep your budget in check, too. When produce is abundant, it is often inexpensive!
Here are some fantastic recipes and ideas that use up lots of tomatoes:
- Salsa is a summertime favorite! You can even make up a bulk batch and freeze it, though some of the liquid will separate in the freezing and thawing process. I just drain that off to use in cooking.
- Roast a giant batch of tomatoes and turn them into soup. Simply wash, chop, and place in a shallow dish, then roast in the oven at 400 until lightly browned. Let them cool, blend them, then add broth, other veggies or ingredients, and season with salt and herbs. Some heavy cream or Parmesan cheese on top makes it extra special.
- Combine the roasting method with salsa and churn out a yummy Roasted Salsa recipe! That recipe could even be a springboard for a yummy soup.
- Don’t want to heat up the kitchen? How about a yummy Gazpacho soup! I love that recipes like this one are flexible.
- Homemade pasta or marina sauce is so delicious but can be a bit of a labor. That is, unless you use a method like this brilliant slow cooker sauce method! I was so excited about this one, and I don’t think I’ll do it any other way now.
- I’m a big fan of a Caprese salad. It’s one of my favorite ways to use raw tomatoes in the summer!
- If you’re making pizza at home, skip the sauce and use sliced tomatoes instead. Pizza takes on a whole new flavor!
- You’ve heard of scalloped potatoes, but how about scalloped tomatoes? I think this side dish needs to go on our menu this week!
- Tomatoes are a delicious addition to egg frittatas and quiches!
- This Tortilla Soup uses four tomatoes. With our large family, a double batch would be perfect and would take care of eight maters!
There are practically countless ways to use up lots of tomatoes, but hopefully this quick list gave you some ideas. Here’s to tomato season going out with a bang!
If you love frugal real food tips, don’t forget to get your copy of the ebook I cowrote, The Frugal Secrets of Real Foodies! It’s packed with helpful information and yummy, budget-friendly recipes.