When the tomatoes come in, you’ll go from trying to gather just enough for some Sunday salsa to filling an XL egg basket on a daily basis; in what seems like a week’s time. Once tomatoes get going, there’s no stopping them!
Today, I felt like a valuable share would be showing you 6 great, easy ways to use up that bumper crop of tomatoes. Save this page for later, because it’ll come in handy for every tomato gardener!
Make Some Homemade Ketchup
Have you ever had homemade ketchup? No? Boy, do I have a secret for you:
It’s easy to make, tastes better than store bought, and you can burn through tomatoes like no-one’s business when making it!
We go through a lot of ketchup in our home, maybe not as much as a family with 3 children, but we go through tons of the stuff. If you buy more than a bottle a week, and you have a stack of tomatoes that is taller than your counter, you would greatly benefit from making batches of homemade ketchup.
Make Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Sun-dried tomatoes generally aren’t actually dried by the sun. It’s virtually a fancy name for dehydrated tomatoes. Creative thinking, right? While you could dehydrate tomatoes in the sunlight, it’s just much easier to dry them in your dehydrator.
They are a delicious, nutritious snack that will keep for months in the pantry. Dehydrated tomatoes take up a very small fraction of the space (and shelf weight limit) that frozen and canned tomatoes do. I always recommend dehydrating some, because they are not only good for snacking; they’re also a convenient ingredient to have on hand for lazy soups, stews, and chili.
DIY Tomato Powder
Tomato powder is very simple! Just dehydrate tomato skin scraps from canning/sauces (or whole paste tomatoes), put them into a blender once cool, and bend into a powder. I actually recommend a coffee grinder over a blender, but it all works! Use this incredibly nutritious powder in salads, soups, stews, casseroles, and anything else where you could use an extra dose of veggies, color, or thickening (it’s great for thickening soups).
Stuffed tomatoes are so versatile, easy, and delicious. Try grabbing your biggest tomatoes, scooping out the inside, filling them with a variety of fillings, and baking them until the tomato is nicely roasted! Here are a few inspiring ideas to stuff them with:
Taco style filling
Cheese, garlic, basil, oregano, and bread crumbs
Breakfast filling (eggs, cheese, sausage)
If you haven’t saved seed from your favorite varieties for the year, go ahead and use 4 to 12 tomatoes strictly for seed saving. Scrape out the seeds and pulp, ferment them for 4 to 6 days, wash them, dry them, and bag them up for next year. This ensures that you have plenty of seed for years to come.
Don’t forget to trade some of your excess seed, too! You could trade your seeds with other tomato collectors to expand your own collection. It’s an extremely cheap way to do so, all for the cost of a stamp!
Trade for Other Produce or Goods
Know any other gardeners in your area? Try trading your excess produce for theirs! You could also trade your tomatoes for eggs, goats milk, soap, and more. Bartering is making a big come back, so for the tomatoes you absolutely cannot use up, try trading. You’ll find a lot of people who are after garden-fresh tomatoes!