It’s the end of summer and all of the tomatoes are suddenly getting ripe all at once. And what’s that in the forecast? Frost?! Uh oh! If you don’t get those tomatoes off the vine soon, you’ll lose them! Whatever will you do? Well, you’ll set aside an afternoon to prep that beautiful late summer fruit and then you’ll use one (or more) of the methods and recipes below to make use of them all.
Freeze them: You’ll want to peel the tomatoes first but then you can chop them up and put them in freezer bags or containers. They’ll be great for soups and sauces this winter.
Can them: Freezing tomatoes will only preserve them for a 3-6 months. While canning is a lot more labor intensive, it will also preserve them for much, much longer. For beginners, there’s a wonderfully illustrated tutorial on canning over one Food in Jars.
Make Salsa: Why buy jarred salsa when making your own is so easy? By tossing together just a few ingredients – tomatoes, onions, jalepeno, green pepper, cilantro and lime juice – you can whip up a batch of fresh salsa in a jiffy. Once you’ve perfected your salsa recipe, make a big batch and can it!
Make Pasta Sauce: I haven’t purchased jarred pasta sauce in years because homemade is just too easy. I like this Food Network recipe for its simplicity. Then again, I rarely stick to a recipe when it comes to sauce. Add extra veggies or olives to make the recipe your own.
Make Homemade ketchup: Ditch that overly sweetened bottled ketchup and make your own. This recipe from Ball, the canning jar folks, looks fairly straightforward.
Make Fried Green Tomatoes: Let’s face it – not all of the tomatoes will ripen before the first big frost. What a great excuse to make fried green tomatoes. There’s a great tutorial at Southern Living. Although most recipes, like this one from My Recipes, call for a flour/cornmeal mixture for the breading, I prefer using panko crumbs.
EVEN MORE TOMATO OPTIONS:
- 27 Delicious Ways To Use Tomatoes at Buzzfeed
- 33 Ways with Fresh Tomatoes at Southern Living
- Don’t Be Ambushed: What to Do with All Those Tomatoes at The Des Moines Register (Check out the recipe for tomato cobbler!)
Image: This American House