- If your tomato plants are anything like mine, they are suddenly cropping in abundance – (written in 2011)
- If you have any tomatoes that are still cropping you have been really lucky, mine and many others lost much, if not all, of their crop to blight this year (2012). Check out the suggestions below to do with any tomatoes you can’t use as they crop.
- This years tomatoes are cropping well (September 2013). Below are some suggestions of what to do with any surpluses …..
- 2014 and it is mid August, my greenhouse tomatoes are cropping in abundance and my outdoor ones are just beginning to turn red.
- 2015, mid August again and my green house tomatoes are cropping well (they had no flavour the first couple of weeks they started to ripen, but now the flavour is great.
- 2018, like 2016, early August and greenhouse tomatoes ripening rapidly. I adopted a new regime this year – limited watering and no feed. Tomatoes look healthy and have amazing flavour.
I have experimented this year with hardly any watering – if anything they are definitely better. I have many tomatoes in my veg garden and they are just beginning to turn – I have not watered them at all (except lightly with a weekly feed).
2021, looking back at 2018, I have to confess that the new regime was inspired by James Wong. This year I did water a bit more over the really hot period, but otherwise stuck to the limited watering regime. My plants do not look as verdant as they have in previous years, but the tomatoes are plentiful, cropping well and tasty.
There are so many things you can do with them to use in the winter.
- Dry them:
Sadly we don’t have the sun of the southern Med, but we can dry them in a very low oven or bottom oven of an aga. If you have a glut of cherry tomatoes, start by cutting them in half; if they are larger tomatoes, slice them evenly. Place in a single layer on a lightly oiled baking tray and place in oven on the lowest temperature. Some ovens lowest temperature is not low enough, so you may have to leave the oven door open slightly. The tomatoes are done when almost completely dry – takes anything from 3 – 6 hours (not for the impatient and not hugely energy efficient!)
If you have a food drier, then this is an ideal way to dry the tomatoes at a regulated low temperature.
- Freeze them:
If cherry tomatoes, I just cut them in half and place them in a single layer on a lightly oiled baking sheet in the freezer (like freezing raspberries). When frozen I pop them in a container or plastic bag and use as required.
For larger tomatoes, you can just chop and freeze as for cherry tomatoes, however their skins will be a nuisance. It is best to peel and deseed if you don’t want the seeds. Once you have peeled and deseeded, chop into roughly equal sized pieces and freeze in freezer bags or containers in usable quantities.
- Tomato recipes to eat and to freeze any extra:
How about Jamie’s tomato soup. (If freezing, leave out the cream and add when you use it after defrosting). If you have a favourite tomato soup recipe this is a great way to use up tomatoes. You can always gently reduce the soup and use it as a sauce!
Try this spicy sauce from allotment.org
- Chutneys etc:
Green tomato chutney;
Green tomato mincemeat;
Tomato chutney, using ripe tomatoes;
After all your hard work, find a copy of the film “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe”, and enjoy a light hearted American tale…….