How to get the most out of the tomato crop

by Misty Anderson

Thanks to the very long spring season this year, our gardens have been particularly generous and now we have an abundance of vegetables – especially our tomato beef steak. This new series will discuss how to use this extra production in your garden. Let’s start with what you can do with excess tomatoes.

Tomatoes are a favorite and versatile summer gardener. You can throw it in your dinner plates, eat it raw and sliced, put it on top of your pizza, etc., but if you find yourself surrounded by all of it, it’s sometimes hard to know what to do with it.

Here are six ways you can store and use tomatoes, and I’ve included some recipes.

1 – Give an extra tomato away – Giving friends, family, and co-workers an extra tomato is always a good idea because nothing can beat the taste of fresh, garden-grown, sun-kissed tomatoes. After gifting if you still have tomatoes left, try donating to a homeless shelter or church that gives to those in need in the community. You can also contact your local Seniors Center and find seniors who need help expanding their budget. Having a garden is a blessing and an excellent way to give blessings to others.

2 – frozen tomatoes – Tomatoes freeze easily and you can even get away with boiling them. All you have to do is rinse it, put it in a freezer bag or container, and then put it in the freezer. When you’re ready to use them, rinse each tomato with warm water. You will notice that the skin forms immediately, after which it can be used in soups and sauces. I cut it in half, sort out the seeds and remove the spot where the stem was. Make sure you don’t melt it first as it turns squishy.

3 – a can of tomatoes – You can make canned tomatoes whole, halved, diced, or ground. Due to the high acidity of tomatoes, water bath canning is ideal for canned tomatoes. Read more about water bath canning here. Here is how to do it.

canned tomatoes


  • 13 pounds of tomatoes
  • 9 tablespoons concentrated lemon juice


  1. Wash and chop the tomatoes.
  2. Boil the tomatoes by placing them in a pot of boiling water for about a minute.
  3. Remove the tomatoes with a perforated spoon and place them in an ice water bath.
  4. Peel the peel when the tomatoes have cooled enough to tolerate them.
  5. Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice per liter or 1 tablespoon per liter.
  6. Fill each hot, sterilized jar with peeled, whole, halved, diced, or ground tomatoes, making sure to include their juices, leaving a vertical space of ½- to an inch from the top.
  7. Remove air bubbles by running a knife over the side of the jar, then wipe off the rims.
  8. Put on a sterile cap and tie the canning strips until they are finger tight.
  9. Process the tomatoes in a hot water bath. (Recommended operation time for my area is 1 hour 25 minutes, but this varies by altitude, so double-check your area.)
  10. Remove the jars and let them cool before storing.

4 – pickled tomatoes – Did you know that you can make pickled cherry tomatoes in the refrigerator? I can’t think of a better addition to a 4th of July picnic or a pool at the beach. You can also add this to the Charcuterie board. So go out and collect a mix of colorful tomatoes. Favorites for pickling are yellow and red cherry tomatoes. yum!

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pickled tomatoes


  • 8 oz yellow pear cherry tomatoes
  • 8 oz of red cherry pear tomatoes
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 4 sprigs of fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 garlic cloves

pickled brine

  • 1 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Himalayan sea salt or pickling salt
  • 1 cup water


  1. Remove any stems or leaves from the freshly cut tomatoes and make small holes in each. Next, divide the tomatoes between two 16-ounce Mason packets.
  2. Add 2 fresh dill sprigs to each jar and 1 rosemary sprig. Divide the peppers, red pepper flakes, and garlic between the jars.
  3. Bring the brine ingredients to a boil over high heat until the sugar dissolves.
  4. Remove the brine mixture from the heat and let it cool for 10 minutes. Pour the brine mixture over the tomatoes, rosemary, garlic, and dill. Cover with a tight lid and refrigerate for two days. Store it in your refrigerator for up to two months.

5 – Making delicious sauces – Who doesn’t like sauces made with fresh vegetables. You can make it at home marinara sauce Or try one of my favorite tomato sauce recipes. My kids love it!

homemade tomato sauceصلصة

Any blemish-free, blemish-free tomatoes from your garden or farmers’ market can be used to make homemade tomato sauce. If the tomato has a blemish, cut the spots off before using them. Traditional Italian recipes call for Roma tomatoes because they have a thicker skin, firmer flesh, and less moisture. You can even use colored tomatoes for a colored tomato sauce. I love to make homemade tomato sauce with frozen tomatoes, and I’m sure you will too.


  • Half a cup of olive oil
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 1 onion cut into cubes
  • 20-24 mashed frozen tomatoes
  • 14 oz tomato sauceصلصة
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 sprig of fresh basil
  • 1 beef parmesan
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a Dutch oven, combine olive oil and garlic cloves in a large saucepan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic softens and turns golden brown. Once they turn golden, remove them from the pot and set them aside for later use.
  2. Add onions to the oil and cook until translucent. Add the mashed tomatoes. I like to crush them manually. It’s easy because the tomatoes were previously frozen. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, basil, thyme, salt and pepper.
  3. Chop the preserved garlic and add to the sauce.
  4. Stir with Parmesan peel and add the basil. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook until it has deepened in color and decreased slightly or reached your preferred thickness. I cook it over low heat to keep it from burning, stirring it occasionally for a few hours. Frozen tomatoes contain extra water, so it takes some time for the extra water content to cook. When the sauce is ready, discard the Parmesan peel and basil.
  5. If serving immediately, top with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese
  6. If you are not going to use the sauce right away, pour the finished sauce into the jars. You can refrigerate the sauce for up to a week, freeze it, or you can put it in a can. If you can, add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or ½ teaspoon of citric acid to increase the acidity. Canned tomato sauce can be kept for at least a year if stored in a cool, dry, dark place.

No added sugar, homemade ketchup

My daughter has epilepsy and can’t buy ketchup from the store. If I’m transparent, it helps my son and I out because we’re on a ketogenic diet. This recipe has become a family favourite.


  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • Half a cup of tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 cup monk fruit
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • sweet pepper pinch
  • *If you want to add a little kick, add a pinch of cayenne pepper


  1. Clean and chop the tomatoes. I cut it in half, removed the seeds, and cut off the place where the stem was attached to the tomato.
  2. Put the tomatoes in a saucepan or a small Dutch oven and let them simmer for a few minutes. When they are ripe, mash them.
  3. Add salt, onion powder, monk fruit, tomato paste, vinegar, garlic, and spices, and bring to a boil for about a minute. Remove the mixture from the heat and use either a hand emulsifier or a blender to puree the mixture until the mixture is smooth.
  4. Add the mixture back to the pot and cook for a few more minutes.
  5. If you are not going to use the sauce right away, pour the finished sauce into the jars. You can refrigerate the sauce for up to a week, freeze it, or you can put it in a can. If you can, add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or ½ teaspoon of citric acid to increase the acidity. Canned tomato sauce can be kept for at least a year if stored in a cool, dry, dark place.

6 – Make a delicious soup – There is no such thing as fresh tomato soup. It’s definitely a family favorite in my house! My son had his wisdom teeth removed last week and could only make soup. Order cheese soup and creamy tomato soup with basil. No matter the season outside, tomato basil soup is a favorite that gets you the admiration of picky people every time.

Creamy basil and tomato soup


  • Half a cup of butter
  • ½ cup olive or avocado oil
  • 1.5 cups chopped onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 10-12 mashed tomatoes
  • ¼ cup of fresh basil leaves
  • ½ teaspoon Himalayan sea salt (or to taste)
  • teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 liter chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons sherry
  • 1 teaspoon monk fruit


  1. In a large saucepan, saute onion and garlic in butter and olive oil over medium heat until garlic is fragrant and onion is translucent.
  2. Add tomatoes, chopped basil, salt and pepper.
  3. Pour the chicken broth, reduce the heat and leave for 15 minutes.
  4. Using an emulsifier, mix until the soup is smooth and then bring the soup back to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat to low and mix in heavy cream, sherry, and monk fruit.

* Some people put the soup in a strainer before serving.

If you find yourself stuck on what to do with your tomato harvest, I hope this helps you get out of your bushel predicament.

What are some of the ways you can get the most out of your tomato crop? Share with the community!

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This article was originally published on Ready feeding™ on June 28, 2021

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