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MissAusten's avatar

What can be done with an overabundance of grape tomatoes?

Asked by MissAusten (16067 points ) August 22nd, 2009

I have grape tomatoes coming out of my ears. My kids won’t eat them, and my husband is working out of town for the next couple of months. I gave quite a lot of them away, but still have much more than I’ll be able to eat before they go bad.

Are they good to use for tomato sauce? Are they easy to can? I’ve done some canning in the past, but never tomatoes. All practial ideas and advice will be much appreciated!

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36 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

This might sound odd, but the first thing I thought of was that I would try tomato preserves. Like jam. Tomatoes are a fruit, and have a nice full flavor. Why not? You’d be the first one on your block, anyway.

AstroChuck's avatar

¬°Salsa!

critter1982's avatar

^ @AstroChuck stole my idea ^

Homemade spaghetti sauce

AstroChuck's avatar

You could also use them to pelt those pesky kids who won’t get of your yard.

PerryDolia's avatar

You can can them, make tomato sauce, or you can slice them, lay them on screens and dry them.

sandystrachan's avatar

Sauce and Ketchup , sun dried , pickle and jam / marmalade

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Give some to neighbors. That’s what we do. It’ll be appreciated, I’m sure.

AstroChuck's avatar

Give some to your mail carrier.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Is there a place that feeds people who could use them, like a pantry or a place that makes meals for homeless folks?

ragingloli's avatar

eat them as is. tomatoes are delicious.

MagsRags's avatar

canning tomatoes is pretty easy because they’re so acidic that you don’t have to worry a whole lot about botulism. The only thing with cherry tomatoes is they’re a lot more work to process for canning or cooking because of removing all the skins.

Lightlyseared's avatar

another vote for bruschetta

sjmc1989's avatar

Damn I was coming in to say ^Bruschetta^ as well. YUMMY!

Supacase's avatar

Make spaghetti sauce and freeze it. Chop them up and freeze them. The texture won’t be the same, but they can still be used in cooked dishes.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I’ve made this asparagus-peas-cherry tomato-pasta salad so many times this summer, I can make it in my sleep. Cherry or grape tomatoes sauteed are yummy!

gailcalled's avatar

Bruise them in an iron skillet with a little olive oil if you are sick of eating them raw. But, remember, summer is almost over. Corn, tomatoes and watermelon makes the perfect meal.

marinelife's avatar

This grape tomato and feta salad is one of my favorite summer recipes.

MissAusten's avatar

So many options…I’m overwhelmed! Lots of those ideas sound delicious to me, but my kids wouldn’t eat them. I’ve been eating them daily for about a week now, and love them with fresh basil, salt, pepper, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.

My family and neighbors have threated to harm me physically if I try to force any more tomatoes on them. Most of them are growing their own, and I think because of the wet, cool summer we had, the grape tomatoes are the only ones thriving.

I like the idea of canning them or using them for sauce, but don’t find the idea of peeling hundreds of grape tomatoes at all appealing (haha). Maybe I’ll try to squash the seeds out of them, but not bother skinning them. I usually make sauce with the roma tomatoes (which I also have a lot of, but they’re still ripening). I don’t mind leaving the skins on for sauce, but the seeds bother me.

Once I get the kids into bed for the night, I’ll spend some more time looking into canning them. Donating them is a good idea as well—I have the name of the director of the local food pantry from my daughter’s girl scout troop (they made a monthly donation of birthday party items and often helped organize and sort food there), so I can give them a call.

tedibear's avatar

Send them to meeeeeeeeeeee! My plants all drowned. :(

Seriously, I would start by making salsa, then drying them once you had enough salsa. And once you’ve got enough of all of those, donate them.

gailcalled's avatar

@MissAustin; You will be peeling and seeding for the rest of your life, if you can or preserve with small tomatoes. Start a compost heap for next year’s garden and put a big sign nearby that says “Plant less.”

You are lucky. I have two heirloom tomatoes on the vine, and due to rain they are still mostly green. Next summer I am planting only grape or cherry tomatoes and then just two vines.

My sister overplants every year so I can now go over and loot to my heart’s content. Fresh peaches and raspberries and, of course, tomatoes and zucchini.

YARNLADY's avatar

I don’t understand the concept of peeling and seeding tomatoes. We eat ours exactly as they come off the vine.

Put them in the blender (whole or cut in half) with some cut up carrots, celery, oranges, maybe onion and garlic, and apples. If your family needs sweetener, add some honey.

MissAusten's avatar

When I’m using the big tomatoes, I don’t always peel them but do seed them when making sauce. Otherwise, I just eat them as is. Same for the grape tomatoes.

@gailcalled and @tedibear39 Most people around here had the same problem with their tomatoes. Our yard gets very little sun, so my plants are in a small area meant to be a flower bed. There’s an overhang off the back of the house that prevents most of the rain from watering that particular spot. For the first (and probably last) time in my life, I grew more tomatoes than anyone else! Although, my roma tomatoes are smaller than usual, but that’s OK because there are a lot of them. Next year I will certainly plant fewer grape tomatoes.

marinelife's avatar

Grape tomatoes (halved) and cheese are wonderful in scrambles eggs or omelets.

MissAusten's avatar

getting very hungry

marinelife's avatar

Edit: Scrambled. (Like my finger-brain connection.)

Velvetinenut's avatar

Oven dried Tomatoes

Per two pint of washed and halved grape tomatoes, use

2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs chopped oregano (or 1 tbs dried)
3 tbs chopped basil (or 1.5 tbs dried)
2 clove garlic chopped, more if you like garlic
salt and pepper

Pre-heat oven to 225F. Mix everything. Spread on parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Bake for one hour and turn oven off. Let tomatoes sit overnight. Enjoy. If you want drier tomatoes, bake for two or three hours.

MissAusten's avatar

@Velvetinenut That sounds awesome! How do you store the dried tomatoes, and how long do they keep? I bet they’d be great on salads, stirred into pasta sauce, or just eaten as-is! Plus, I could do that before I go to bed tonight!

Velvetinenut's avatar

I store them in a zip lock bag either in the freezer or fridge. My fridge is really cold, some of my fruits have turned to ice.

When I cook spag sauce, I chop some up and throw it into the sauce…along with some red wine. Or have them chopped (or not chopped) in a salad or sandwich. You can eat it like that. One of my friends do.

I don’t store them in olive oil because I don’t like oily stuff. But if you like, you can pack them in olive oil.

Enjoy.

Velvetinenut's avatar

Oh forgot to add that I dry fry my black peppercorn before grinding them to use for the oven-dried tomatoes. They can give a good kick. I use about 1 tbs. Love blackpepper.

Adagio's avatar

@MagsRags Tomatoes can also be successfully preserved I think you say canned in the US with their clothes on ie their skin. I no longer preserve tomatoes or anything for that matter, but used to do it that way for years.

And I am all for giving some away, they’ll love you for it!

Adagio's avatar

@MissAusten oops, that will teach me to not read through the entire thread before posting. May I be more specific about giving them away I would not like you to be physically harmed by your family and friends if you can’t eat them yourself I agree with others who have suggested giving them to a charity organisation that donates food to those who need it. Cherry tomatoes, or grape tomatoes as you call them, are so sweet and delicious I’m sure they would be really well received by anybody except your family and friends of course

MissAusten's avatar

I ended up drying them in the oven as @Velvetinenut suggested. They made the kitchen smell fantastic, especially with the extra garlic I added! I’ve been using them in salads. They’re also good in tuna salad (I make it with fat-free Italian dressing instead of mayo).

@MagsRags I would have been happy to preserve the tomatoes, but everything I could find about canning them said to remove the skins first. :( I did can some peaches and applesauce. I used the roma tomatoes from my garden to make an enormous pot of sauce, which I just freeze instead of preserve. Besides, my son stole all of my jars for catching bugs, so I’m done canning for the year!

YARNLADY's avatar

@MissAusten Thanks for the update, you’re making me hungry.

Velvetinenut's avatar

MissAusten: I’m glad you tried it out. It DOES make the kitchen smell great. I too add a tad more garlic. BUT I found out that I have to bring in my laundry that’s drying at another part of the kitchen or my clothes will smell of oven-dried tomatoes…

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