10 Things to try to save those fresh garden tomatoes

10Things to Save TomatoesI am so excited about our first crop of tomatoes grown in our tiny backyard garden.

We’ve had non-fruitful strawberry plants so far but the tomatoes…  I looked at these plants the other day and told myself “Yikes!” What are we going to do with all of those tomatoes?

Here’s our little progession of growth. Just planted tomatoes - March 15th

May 7th tomato growth

May 16th tomato growth May 23rd tomato growth

June 25th - our first harvest of tomatoes

The coolest thing about having home grown, backyard tomatoes is to eat them with the knowledge that they were untainted with pesticides and are as fresh as they could possibly be off the vine.

I don’t want them to go to waste!

We will be giving them away to family and friends, as well as sharing plenty of salsa at the summer time potlucks, but there’s just so many tomatoes coming off these six plants!

Here are the ten things I plan on doing with these tomatoes.

1.  Enjoying one with a salad or as a side EVERY DAY. 

The health benefits to eating a salad everyday are indescribable so I will choose to use those delicious fruits to get my salad into my daily diet.  But the days where I’m just lazy and cut it up and eat it straight are more likely.

2.  Cook with the fresh tomatoes where I can in “everyday meals.” 

You know the type – where you cook some chicken and veggies, and decide to throw in a cut up tomato – because you can.

Tomatoes are a power food.  Cooked tomatoes release lycopene and from what my trainer tells me and what I read around the net, it’s something my body can do amazing things with.

Instructables has a great resource for Easy Tomato Recipes that I will be checking out in the near future too.

3.  Make fresh salsa.

One of the blessings of having my mother around still is that she makes this terrific pico-de-gallo type of salsa, with hand chopped tomatoes, green onions, red onions, jalepenos, cilantro, lemon juice and salt.  Seven ingredients that can last about four-five days in the fridge and can be served on anything from eggs to tacos to eating straight from the bowl.  (Seriously, we’ve done it.)

4.  Learn to make dried tomatoes.

I found this set of instructions that not only look easy, but sun-dried tomatoes are one of my favorite things to eat.  Oh yeah, they can be used in recipes too.

5.  Make my own sauces.  For my house, I will probably learn how to make spaghetti sauce first.

An apparently time-consuming process, I found a great resource on Food.com to make my own spaghetti sauce that I want to try.  My guess is that I will have 12 cups of tomatoes at some point, and it will be worth the 2 to 3 hours to learn to make this sauce.

6.  Make and freeze tomato soup.

The resources are incredibly abundant on the subject but I found these recipes I am going to have to read more about later.

Pinterest Search Results for tomato soup

Tomato Soup Search on Instructables

7.  Make tomato jam.

I have never even heard of this until I started searching Pinterest.  The Garnish with Lemon blog has a recipe for Sweet and Tangy Tomato Jam that sounds so good, I may have to try to make it before anything else on this list.  Maybe.

8.  Buy some bacon.  Make BLT’s.

Bacon is one of those foods that everything goes with.  [EVERYTHING!]

If I knew it weren’t so bad for my health, I would eat it every day.  Along with my tomatoes.  (I’m not kidding.)

I have to do this at least once this summer, just to say I did it.  Oh and I skip the bread and use whole wheat tortillas.  It’s part of the life style change we’ve adopted now.

9.  Make some freezer meals to throw in the crock pot.

Why haven’t I done this already you ask?  Because I’m blessed to have the most amazing husband in the world that cooks as long as I clean.  (And I’m not very good at that anyway.)  It’s awesome.

But, he’s not always home and eating out shouldn’t really be an option when he’s gone.  I found this blog with recipes of meals the mom has tried and tested, straight from the freezer into the crockpot.  Sounds like a win-win to me.  I will be replacing all the “canned” tomatoes with my fresh version of course but the freezer part will stay the same.  I’m sure Pinterest will be a great resource as well.

10.  Learn to can tomatoes.

Do I need a new Presto 01781 23-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker to can?  Maybe, but probably not.

Here are the resources I found:

Instructables Guide to Canning Tomatoes

How To Preserve Tomatoes by Mom Prepares

Plus, I get to learn a new life skill.  That’s a bonus right there.

Cheers and happy-full-bellies to you this summer!


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