Was it just a few years ago that tomato crops were struck by a late blight, devastating the harvest for many home gardeners? Those gardeners who weren’t permanently scarred by the experience and have ventured back "into the water" were certainly rewarded this summer. People are talking about what to do with the many tomatoes they've harvested—and are continuing to harvest.
Tomato seedlings in late February
The seeds I started in my greenhouse back in February have yielded a bumper crop of tomatoes. My only worry now is preventing frost damage before the last ones have a chance to ripen. We haven't had our first frost where I live, but it’s coming soon.
Tomato plant being repotted in early May
Tomatoes ripening in my garden in early September
Here are some ideas for using your tomatoes that don’t require learning the time-honored art of canning and preserving.
My stepdaughter Eve slices her tomatoes in half, places them face-down on a cookie sheet, and bakes them at 250˚F for a couple of hours. She lets them cool, puts them in plastic bags, and then freezes them.
Try blanching tomatoes and then plunging them in cold water. Peel the skins off, place the tomatoes in a plastic bag, and freeze them.
If the frost comes before your last tomatoes have a chance to ripen, all is not lost. One of my favorite blogs, You Grow Girl, has ideas for preserving those immature green tomatoes that need to be harvested before their time.
And, if you just want to enjoy some of your harvest now …
Chaiwalla’s Famous Tomato Pie
I learned about this famous pie from friends of my mother’s who say it’s heavenly. The recipe is found at Hammertown Barn, where they served the famous Chaiwalla Tea House (Salisbury, Conn.) tomato pie at their 25th anniversary party.
Chaiwalla Tea House Tomato Pie (Hammertown Barn photo)
Dorian Winslow is the president of Womanswork, and is passionate about making the best products on the market for women who garden and work outdoors.
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