What to Do With 100 Tomatoes

By Silicon Valley Blogger on 17 November 2010 2 comments
Photo: Jacki Dougan

Recently I tried my hand at being a little bit more self-sufficient by growing some veggies at home, a great way to eat well for less money. You can certainly get your produce from Safeway or even your local farmers market, but a garden can be a fun family project to tend to, especially when your kids are participating. I therefore embarked on a project to grow tomatoes from seed packets. I started small, but before long, I got a bigger crop than I expected.

Ultimately, I ended up with a fantastic crop of tomatoes that I needed to put to good use. I had to become resourceful! So I thought of applying them as an ingredient in a variety of dishes. Here are my top 10 favorite uses.

What To Do with 100 Tomatoes?

1. Salads

Salads are simple, healthy, and low-calorie. Just toss the cherry tomatoes in with your greens, or cut the bigger ones into wedges for a bigger taste.

2. Sandwiches

What good is bacon and lettuce without a great big slice of tomato? Slice up those normal-sized tomatoes, and eat them in your favorite sandwich, on a juicy burger, or on toast with sardines.

3. Tomatoes and Ham

Grill big, juicy heirloom tomatoes with ham or by themselves with a pinch of seasoning and some oil.

4. Pasta and Pizza Sauce

With so many tomatoes lying around, you have more than enough to flirt with different slow-roasted tomato sauce recipes. Practice makes perfect, right?

5. Salsa

Have you ever HAD fresh salsa? There is nothing better than cold, fresh tomatoes to make the freshest tasting salsa. Chop them up with onion, cilantro, basil, sea salt, pepper, and some extra virgin olive oil. Your friends will be dying for your tomatoes (and the recipe) after they try your salsa!

6. Bloody Mary Mix

Mix those tomatoes up in your favorite Bloody Mary recipe for a fantastic hangover cure! 

7. Cure for Cancer?

Well, maybe not a "cure" exactly, but the lycopene in tomatoes (the stuff that makes them red) reduces the risk of some cancers. You can eat healthy and inexpensively and ward off cancer while you're at it!

8. Tomato Soup

Your grandmother's tomato soup recipe never tasted so good as with your fresh tomatoes. No need to open that can of Campbell's when you can make soup at home.

9. Stuff Them

Empty out your tomatoes and slow-cook them for a few hours for a new twist on appetizers and salad bowls. You can fill them with cheeses, salad, pasta — anything you like! — for a dish that is sure to impress.

10. Can Them

This tradition is quickly dying out. Our grandmothers once grew their own vegetables and fruits in abundance and then canned them for use all year. So if you just cannot eat them right now, don't.

When You Cannot Stomach One More Tomato

After a while, you may just yearn for something...else. I would like to say that I am a gourmet cook and that I spent months crafting new tomato recipes for all my friends and family. Unfortunately, they were sick of them too. So, I had to reach far into the recesses of my mind for ideas. Here are some ideas for determining the fate of the tomatoes you cannot eat!

1. Drink Them

Make yourself another great big "healthy" Bloody Mary to help you relax while you figure out what to do with the tomatoes.

2. Donate Them

I already noted that my friends and family could no longer eat a single tomato. However, the world is full of hungry people. Give them away to shelters. Take them to flea markets to sell. Give them away to colleagues and coworkers. Try your neighbors. And when you can no longer find a single soul who will eat them, see if you can send them off to someone who could use them. I'm sure you'll find people who'll appreciate the gift.

3. Have a Good Laugh with Them

Yes, I said "laugh with them." When a bad comedian stutters and stammers through their poorly constructed humor, throw your soft, ripe tomatoes at them! Your tomatoes are gone, you get a good laugh, the comedian will be able to afford lunch — everyone's happy! I kid, of course!

Lessons from Having Too Many Tomatoes

While I may have overdid it the first time, I think that I'm going to keep on working with my vegetable garden for at least another year. Doing so will help me stick to my food budget and cut food costs. Despite some of my miscalculations with my first crop, I found myself enjoying this exercise in self-sufficiency.

Perhaps the most important thing to grow from all these mounds of tomatoes was...me. The tomatoes brought an important lesson. Just as I invested time, patience, and money into my tomatoes, I figure we should invest and believe in everything we do in life — and watch ourselves blossom and grow! I'm excited about growing other vegetables, and I look forward to seeing where my green thumb takes me.

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Guest's picture

i guarantee you'll miss them midwinter when the only tomatoes available are the crappy grocery store ones that taste like nothing. stick'em in the freezer for later. they freeze well whole *and* in chunks.

if you lack freezer space, use a few for tomato powder. it's one of those spices that keeps forever and adds a punch of tomato flavor to soups and sauces.

Guest's picture

You forgot about dehydrating them!! I also had a huge tomato crop this year. It was my first year doing this. I spent HOURS cutting cherry tomatoes in half. I now have gallon bags filled with the yummy treasures. I just made homemade veggie pizza with regular sized slices and it was delicious.