Do you have a glut of tomatoes and no idea what to do with them all? Well try some of these out!

If you have freezer space, just throw them in the freezer.  When you take them out to use them, the skins will just slip straight off before they totally defrost.  Mainly useful for soups and stews this way though.

  • Tomato Jam. When I was a kid, we made everything into jam and sauce. Tomato jam is the same as any other.  Just remove the peels, squeeze out the seeds (keep them for planting if they are good ones!) and follow the normal procedure as if they were apricots.  I always found they needed pectin and something like apples to take away that vege flavour.  But it is great with vegemite on toast!
  • Tomato Face pack – yes, this is a goodie for oily skins and is sort of like a fruit peel.  Just slosh it on and leave it but not more than thirty minutes or it may sting and make you peel.  Again, I would mix with oatmeal for a cleansing balance.  Softens the skin, draws out impurities.
  • Tomato is great on the hair if you have left your colour on too long.  Puree it, put it on your hair, leave it under a plastic shower cap for 30 mins and when you rinse it, condition well afterwards.  It will lighten your hair.
  • Tomato Chutney – a perennial favourite.  Quantities are not important.  You can use the skins and pips if you want or remove them first.  To each kilo of tomatoes add some basil, all spice, ½ cup vinegar, 500 grams sugar, knob of grated ginger and boil it for 20 minutes till the liquid reduces and it becomes thick.  You could add capsicum or even mushrooms.  I store it in the fridge, but if you have a Fowler’s Vacola unit you can seal and boil in the sterilizer for pantry storage.  Follow their recipe.  You can definitely ad lib on ingredients as long as you have enough sugar for its preservation.
  • Tomato Sauce – the best tomato sauce I have tasted was actually made with one of those Jamsetta premixes you buy in the supermarket.  But my father in law made a good one with the above chutney ingredients and then pureed and bottled it.  It never lasted long enough to require preservation.  Yummy!
  • Italian bottled sauce – find an Italian family and join in with their bottling day and pay your share and bring a stack of long necked beer bottles. This is great!  Just pure tomatoes and basil bottles, sealed and boiled in a 44 gallon drum over a log fire.  We would make enough for at least five families thanks to Vince and Anne our lovely neighbours.  In Melbourne, Labour Day is tomato bottling day.
  • Sundried Tomatoes – you can do these in the sun on old flywire screens – keep them out of dusty areas, sprinkle with salt. It will take several days of dry weather.  Turn them each day. Pack in oil next day,
  • Semi-Dried tomatoes – most hotels make these at the end of the day after the ovens have been turned off. Put trays of tomatoes cut side up and sprinkled with salt in the oven leaving the door ajar.  Leave overnight.  Pack in oil next morning with garlic or whatever takes your fancy (olives perhaps? Chilis? Eggplant?)

Tomato Salsa Recipe(Makes about 2 cups)

  • 2 large, red ripe tomatoes, peeled and seeded
  • 1 garlic clove peeled
  • 1 green chili, seeded and cut into thirds
  • 3 spring onions, cleaned and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup fresh coriander, chopped
  • 4 oz canned chopped green chilies
  • 1 to 3 whole jalapeños, deveined and seeded (Optional to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup iced water

Char the tomatoes over a gas grill or under the flame of a hot broiler for a few seconds, turning them until the peel blisters. Slip off the peel, and the flesh will still be firm. Remove the green stem core and cut the tomatoes in half vertically. Use a teaspoon to scoop out the seeds.

In the food processor, with the metal blade, pulse the garlic, coriander, spring onions and chili for just a few seconds so that it doesn’t go to much.

Add all the remaining ingredients. Process a few more seconds.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Allow to season for approximately one hour preferably not in the fridge as nothing kills a tomato’s taste like refrigerating it. Just before serving mix in the 1/4 cup of iced water to cool the salsa.

Serve with tortilla chips, enhance your favorite chicken recipes, fish, barbecue beef, or with beans wrapped in a tortilla.

Note: I prefer to do this by hand and chop everything into uniform dices as they do in Mexican cantinas.

I am sure there are more things to do with tomatoes than this.  For me, nothing is quite as good as picking one off the plant and scoffing it off in the garden!  They are pretty bushes, small great and if your tomatoes seem to be lacking their taste, put them in a paper bag with some tomato leaves in a shady spot.  They will get some of it back!

Send us your thoughts on this wonderful fruit!

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