What Can I Do With stale tomatoes

Sometimes, your garden creates a good problem: too much food. While this problem beats not having enough food, it can put you in quite a pickle (pun intended): what do you do with it all? 

One of the plants most often responsible for creating an overabundance of food for home gardeners is tomatoes. While everybody loves having a perfectly ripened, garden-fresh tomato, having to figure out what to do with giant piles of ripe tomatoes can be overwhelming. Got too many tomatoes? There are only so many tomatoes that you and your backyard poultry can eat in a day. We'll share some of our favorite tomato recipes to help you use up lots of tomatoes.

Got too many tomatoes? There are only so many fresh tomatoes that you and your backyard poultry can eat in a day. We’ll share some of our favorite tomato recipes to help you use up and store lots of tomatoes.

If this is the situation you’re in right now, don’t fret! Get creative and turn those tomatoes into delicious foods and beverages you can enjoy now or throughout the year. Just try to finish them before next tomato season comes! 

18 easy recipes to use up lots of tomatoes

Our list of easy recipes you can make with lots of tomatoes is based on our personal favorite tomato recipes. Individually or collectively, they’ll help you make that pile of ripe tomatoes disappear from your countertop.

To better help you decide which recipes you might want to make, we’ve done our best to order them from easiest to more difficult

Happy tomato eating… and drinking!   

1. Sundried tomatoes (in a dehydrator or oven)

Soft and chewy sun-dried tomatoes. You'll be amazed at how much a tomato shrinks when dried, making sun-dried tomatoes perhaps the easiest and best way to store and use lots of tomatoes.

Soft and chewy sun-dried tomatoes. You’ll be amazed at how much a tomato shrinks when dried, which makes sun-dried tomatoes perhaps the easiest and best way to store and use lots of tomatoes.

This might just be our favorite thing to do with a giant pile of tomatoes because: a) it’s ridiculously simple to make, and b) we use so many sun-dried tomatoes throughout the year. 

All you need is either a home dehydrator (we recommend an Excalibur) or an oven. Use this soft & chewy sun-dried tomato recipe from Tyrant Farms. 

2. Classic tomato salsa 

Toss ingredients into a blender and you’re done. Doesn’t get any simpler than that!

Hence why this simple, classic salsa recipe is a go-to recipe for us in the summer. Just BYOC (bring your own chips) — tortilla chips of course. 

For this recipe, we used an heirloom tomato that weighed a little over 1 pound to make four servings. However, drier sauce tomatoes (like Romas) are typically preferred since they make a less watery salsa.  

Ingredients:

*Makes a little over 2 cups of salsa, or four servings.

  • 2 cups diced tomatoes (~1 lb)
  • 1/2 cup diced red onions
  • hot pepper to taste, diced 
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • juice from half of a lime
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander seed (or you can use fresh cilantro to taste)
  • cumin to taste
  • sea salt to taste

Blend all ingredients until there’s an even consistency, then serve at room temperature. Or chill first, then serve if you prefer cold salsa.  

3. Pico de gallo 

Pico de gallo - perfect as a standalone dish with tortilla chips or added to tacos, quesadillas, or other Latin American cuisine.

Pico de gallo – perfect as a standalone dish with tortilla chips or added to tacos, quesadillas, or other Latin American cuisine.

Pico de gallo is basically salsa without the blender. Same ingredients, same great flavor. Lots of tomatoes put to good use. https://d0339fb318f005307cd633ccce9cb8dd.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

The other nice thing about pico de gallo is it makes a perfect topping on tacos, quesadillas, enchiladas, and other Latin American cuisines, whereas a blended salsa may be too runny.     How to get continual kale harvests from your organic gardenPlay Video

To make pico de gallo, use the same ingredients and ratios from our salsa recipe (above), but dice them with a knife instead of putting them in the blender.https://d0339fb318f005307cd633ccce9cb8dd.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

You can also use different colored tomatoes for more visual interest. (Our pico de gallo picture above was made with a yellow/orange ‘Pineapple’ heirloom tomato).

4. Greek-style tomato cucumber salad

Greek-style tomato cucumber salad is a side dish on our summer dinner table more often than not.

Greek-style tomato cucumber salad is a very common side dish on our summer dinner table.https://d0339fb318f005307cd633ccce9cb8dd.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

Greek-style tomato cucumber salad is our favorite summer salad. It takes about 5 minutes to make and also uses up some of those excess cucumbers from your garden.

Plus, feta cheese. Anything with feta cheese in it tastes good. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup cucumbers, sliced thin and into bite-sized pieces 
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion 
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, freshly crumbled from block
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar 
  • sea salt to taste

Instructions:

Combine ingredients. Chill or serve fresh at room temperature. Stores for ~12 hours in fridge before the tomatoes lose their fresh tomato texture.  

5. Tomato rosemary kabobs 

A rosemary tomato kabob ready for the grill! The rosemary imparts a wonderful flavor to the tomatoes as they cook.

A rosemary tomato kabob ready for the grill! The rosemary imparts a wonderful flavor to the tomatoes as they cook.https://d0339fb318f005307cd633ccce9cb8dd.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

This is a great recipe to use up a pile of cherry tomatoes. The only caveat is that you need to have access to a mature rosemary plant so you can harvest entire sprigs to use as kabob sticks. 

Instructions: Cut your rosemary kabob sticks to desired length, punch the sticks through the tomatoes, and grill until just right.https://d0339fb318f005307cd633ccce9cb8dd.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

Sprinkle tomato kabobs with large flake sea salt before serving and enjoy! 

6. Rosemary pickled tomatoes

Rosemary pickled cherry tomatoes. The tomatoes are skewered on rosemary cuttings.

Rosemary pickled cherry tomatoes. The tomatoes are skewered on rosemary cuttings.

Pickling is a process, not a recipe — and not all pickling recipes have to involve cucumbers. You can scream this out loud in the pickle section at your grocery store where there seems to be a conspiracy amiss to make people think that “pickles” = pickled cucumbers.

Notes: 

1) This recipe is best with cherry tomatoes, rather than chopped up large tomatoes. For visual interest, we also recommend using a colorful mix of tomatoes rather than just all red tomatoes. 

2) We recommend using rosemary sprigs to spear (kabob style) your tomatoes, like in the rosemary tomato kabob recipe above. This does two things: a) allows the brine to penetrate the skin of the tomatoes, and b) adds a wonderful rosemary flavor to your pickled tomatoes.

Don’t have rosemary? Just poke a hole through each tomato with a toothpick or skewer. 

*When you’re done with your pickled tomatoes, add some of your left over brine to tomato sauces or Bloody Marys (recipes below)!  

Ingredients:  

*For one quart jar of pickled tomatoes.

  • 6 rosemary stem cuttings
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups water 
  • 3 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves for flavor 
  • 1 tablespoon pepper corns
  • 1 tablespoon pink Himalayan sea salt (or pickling salt)
  • tablespoon honey or sugar (optional) 

Instructions:

  • Whisk to dissolve salt and (optional) sugar in water using saucepan on stovetop.
  • Put garlic cloves and peppercorns in bottom of quart jar.
  • Cut rosemary sprigs to height 1/2″ below quart lid surface. Punch rosemary sprigs through tomatoes, then place in jar. Pour vinegar plus salt water mix over top of tomatoes, then refrigerate. Make sure tomatoes covered – add more water and vinegar in 1:1 ratio if needed to fully cover. 
  • Wait at least one week before eating, but can be stored in the fridge for months.  

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