It’s late summer. The tomato plants in your garden are producing red mouthfuls of deliciousness by the bushel. Unless you have squirrels (little punks) who steal your little garden gems, your kitchen is likely overflowing with tomatoes. Here’s what to do with them:
- Slice them, salt them, and eat them fresh. Sometimes simple is best.
- Slice them and eat them on sandwiches. Now is the time to make LOTS of BLTs. Also, put your tomatoes on lunch meat or chicken salad sandwiches, or tuck a few slices into a grilled cheese sandwich.
- Make caprese salad. This simple side dish is great for picnics and potlucks or for a regular dinner at home. If you have basil growing in your garden, that’s even better. You can find all kinds of recipes online for caprese salad, but the basic idea is to layer slices of tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese along with fresh basil leaves on a shallow platter or plate. Then drizzle the whole thing with extra virgin olive oil (some people like to use balsamic vinegar) and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Make homemade tomato soup. This is my family’s favorite recipe, and it’s better than Campbell’s any day!
- Make homemade salsa. Homemade salsa is better than any store-bought salsa. Bonus points if you grow your own peppers and onions to include in your salsa. Here’s my husband’s own recipe.
- Make homemade bruschetta. Find a recipe at this link.
- Make homemade spaghetti or marinara sauce. Concoct your own, or here’s a recipe.
- Make stuffed broiled tomatoes. Hollow them out and fill them with rice, cheese, bread crumbs, sausage, spinach, mushrooms, quinoa, and more. You can find a few recipes if you go to this link and scroll down a bit.
- Make tuna salad- or chicken salad-stuffed tomatoes. Hollow out a raw tomato, fill it with salad, and serve for a healthy lunch.
- Make fried green tomatoes. Here’s a recipe.
- Make Mexican food. Diced tomatoes are used as toppings on all kinds of dishes ranging from nachos to tacos to burritos.
- Make salad. That’s right. Plain old leafy green salad, and top it with plenty of tomatoes.
- Throw your tomatoes on the grill. Slice them, brush them with olive oil, and grill until you see grill marks, then flip and repeat. Slice with salt and serve.
- Can them. If you know how to can, you may can your tomatoes or make large batches of sauce or salsa to save for the winter.
- Freeze them. If you’re like me and canning isn’t your thing, no worries. You can freeze whole tomatoes and store them in freezer-safe Ziploc bags. I blanch my tomatoes first by dunking them for a minute or two in boiling water and then immediately plunging them in an ice bath. The skins slip right off, and your tomatoes are ready to freeze and later go into your favorite recipes for chili, soup, sauce, or whatever your heart desires.
- Donate them to a food pantry. Find out if local food pantries accept donations of fresh veggies.
- Sell them. Produce stands aren’t just for country dwellers. If you live in the city or suburbs (as long as you don’t live at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac), you can set up your own produce stand with extra veggies from your garden. Most people use the honor system and leave out a jar for customers to drop their money in.
- Sneak them onto your friends’ and neighbors’ porches in the dark of night. If all else fails, use this tactic.
What do you do with extra garden tomatoes?