What to do with fresh tomatoes? We are now to tomatoes on our Ideas for using fresh garden veggies series. Tomatoes are the garden staple!
If you are not growing tomatoes yourself, there’s a good chance that a friend or neighbor has given you some from their garden. They are everywhere!
An abundance of tomatoes is a blessing and the great thing about tomatoes, they are one of the most popular veggies for preserving and using!
Fresh Garden Tomatoes Idea #1 – Fresh Tomato Bacon Rosemary Tomato Bowls
This has got to be the most amazing fresh tomato recipe idea out there! Convert your tomato into this frugal, yet amazing party in your mouth! Recipe for the Bacon Rosemary Tomato Bowls HERE.
Fresh Garden Tomatoes Idea #2 – Make a Tomato, Avocado, Grilled Cheese Sandwich
The second idea, we wanted to share this great recipe for Tomato Avocado Grilled Cheese HERE. Check out the recipe.
Fresh Garden Tomatoes Idea #2 – Make Your Own Tomato Sauce
We love this idea because fresh tomato sauce gives you many frugal meal options. The best part is that you can make your own tomato sauce – and then coupled with our Homemade Italian Seasoning means that you have fresh, yummy, easy and healthier tomato sauce for pizza, pasta, recipes, Italian based casseroles, etc.
In fact, our family has tried to avoid canned goods as much as possible for health reasons – one popular one that we use to buy in cans was beans. We solved this problem, saved money and health buy making our own bulk beans and freezing them! Also canning in glass jars is great. Another popular canned item is creamed soups – we solved this problem years ago by making our own bulk dry mix that creates creamed soups pretty quickly in our SOS mix.
But canned tomatoes are a very popular canned item for many households and they have also been deemed some of the most dangerous canned foods. Here’s a few articles that talk about canned foods and canned tomato products specifically: Mercola.com, Shape.com, Prevention.com. So if for money saving efforts and health efforts, making your own sauce has many benefits!
There is a simple recipe for authentic homemade tomato sauce on the Food.com site HERE. After you make your sauces, you can freeze in baggies or can in glass jars, or use fresh in a couple of days. With this basic tomato sauce, you can add extra flavor with the Homemade Italian Seasoning for your many recipes calling for pizza, tomato or spaghetti sauces.
You can also use the Homemade Taco Seasoning combined with your tomato sauce for a mock enchilada sauce or other Mexican themed sauce and dish! It’s GREAT!
Fresh Garden Tomatoes Idea #3 – Homemade Salsa and Guacamole
Oh yea! This is the mother of all fresh garden tomato ideas and uses! There are thousands of salsa recipes out there and ours is different every time we make it as we add things we have on hand and different spices. It makes it so yummy. Honestly, I will even make salsa last minute by throwing a few ingredients, tomatoes as the feature, in my food processor and VIOLA – salsa comes out a minute later.
We recommend searching a site like AllRecipes here for salsa recipes with items you have on hand at the time. It is fun to come up with a little different salsa each time. Don’t forget that mangoes also work nicely in a sweet salsa.
Also, similar to the salsa, we throw guacamole together on the drop of a bucket. We just use our food processor or blender!
It’s a simple recipe:
- 3 Avocados
- 1 tomato
- 1/2 onion
- 1 clove garlic
- dash of salt
- Squirt of lime juice
- Cilantro (optional)
Blend until it reaches the consistency you want. This can be done by hand by cutting the onions and tomato into small pieces and then mincing the garlic. Then mash the avocados with a fork and blend until it is where you want it!
That’s it on the guacamole!
Fresh Garden Tomatoes Idea #4 – How to Freeze Tomatoes
Finally, if you run out of ideas, recipes or don’t want to make tomato sauce for canning or freezing, consider freezing tomatoes to make whatever you want in the future!
Finally, just like we have shared the process with the previous veggies in our series, we do also want to share the easy process of freezing tomatoes.
The thing is…. we have mentioned each time how you need to blanch veggies before freezing, which is the case with every veggie that we can think of. Except…. tomatoes! Why? Well, because they are technically a fruit!
So you can literally wash, cut the stem off, slice or wedge (or keep whole) and place on a cookie sheet and freeze flat. Once frozen, put them in their baggies and freeze again. When you do the process this way, you can put all of your frozen tomatoes in one gallon size bag and pull out what you need when you need it. If you throw them in a bag and freeze, they will all freeze together as one big lump and it makes it near impossible to use, unless you plan to use tons of them at once.
Now if you want to freeze without the peels, this process is a bit more involved, but still simple!
How to freeze tomatoes without the peels:
- Wash the tomatoes and cut out the stem.
- Then boil the tomatoes in a pot of boiling water for about a minute or two – basically until the skins split.
- Then pull them out and let them cool.
- Simply rub off the skins
- Then freeze with the same process as stated above!
Frozen tomatoes work well to make a tomato sauce later too! I have had times that I got a great deal on tomatoes as they were going to be turning soon and I really only had time to quickly freeze them at that time before they went bad. This is a perfectly fine solution and then you don’t have to feel stressed out to can or create your recipes immediately.
What do you plan to do with your tomatoes?
Keep watching for more ideas on using your garden veggies as we have many more veggies recipes and ideas to share this summer with you as you make the most of your garden and farmer’s market finds!
For actual garden ideas, we wanted to remind you that we have been sharing so many gardening ideas on our Garden Gallery of Ideas HERE, Pinterest HERE and Facebook HERE that we hope you are seeing some incredible results with your homegrown food supply. And, as always, we will continue to share gardening tips and ideas on all our site.
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