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What to Do with All of Those Tomatoes

August 1, 2012 Le Cordon Bleu Austin 0 Comments

What to Do with All of Those Tomatoes

Before you plant a single seed or seedling in the spring, you need to know what you are going to do with all of those tomatoes come harvest time. Tomatoes fruit prodigiously. A single tomato plant can produce 15 pounds or more of fruit. That’s a lot of tomatoes for your summer cooking in Austin. You need to know what to do with all of that produce or there is going to be a lot of delicious waste.

For those of you who might’ve planted without such forethought, we’ve put together this list of ways to use your tomatoes before they go bad:

Canning & Preserving
You can go the whole water bath canning method - and why not - but the easiest way is to chop, salt, bag, and freeze. Remove the stem and top of the core, roughly chop, add about ½ teaspoon of salt per quart of tomatoes, and let them sweat for 1-2 hours. Put the mixture in freezer-safe containers and drop them in the deepfreeze. Use them all winter long in soups, chili, or other applications that call for diced tomatoes.

Tomato Soup
Besides having enough sodium to give a horse a heart condition, canned soups lack anything liketaste – hence the salt. Save your heart, and your taste buds, and make your own this summer. Make it cream-based or a simple tomato basil to preserve the taste summer. Put last year’s pastry classes to good use and make a loaf of homemade bread for a complete meal.

Salsa
Ketchup may be the most popular condiment in America, but fresh salsa has it beat in the flavor department. If you grew some onions and peppers along side your tomatoes, you’ve got the makings of scratch-made salsa. The store-bought varieties just can’t compare.

Spaghetti Sauce
Even if you didn’t grow up in an Italian family, you probably know nothing tastes better on pasta than a homemade marinara. Make a simple marinara from crushed tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, onions, and fresh herbs. Make enough and you can have fresh sauce all winter long.

Friends & Family
Call mom, dad, your brother, and your sister. Still have more tomatoes than you know what to do with? Get out that Christmas and birthday list and make surprise visits to dear Aunt Virginia or cousin Johnny … with a basket of fresh, home-grown tomatoes in hand of course.

Charity
After, or maybe even before, you’ve exhausted all of these and other ways to use your tomato harvest, consider making a charitable donation. Your local food charities get plenty of boxed and canned foods. They get little in the way of fresh produce, however. Call before dropping off any fresh produce. Some don’t take it, and others have special handling requirements.

If you’re still looking for new and creative ways to use your garden-fresh tomatoes this summer, a quick Internet search on “preserving tomatoes” will provide you with plenty of ideas.

This article is presented by Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Austin. Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Austin offers culinary arts and pâtisserie and baking training programs in Austin, Texas. To learn more about the class offerings, please visit Chefs.edu/Austin for more information. 

Find disclosures on graduation rates, student financial obligations and more at www.chefs.edu/disclosures.  
Le Cordon Bleu® and the Le Cordon Bleu logo are registered trademarks of Career Education Corporation. Le Cordon Bleu cannot guarantee employment or salary. Credits earned are unlikely to transfer.

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