Green and red tomatoes on the vine

How To Utilise A Glut Of Tomatoes

Preserve all those lovely tomatoes in chutneys or a winter warming soup

This year there has been a fantastic crop of greenhouse tomatoes (not so the outdoor varieties), unfortunately they have not ripened too well and some of them are pretty tasteless. At this time of year (early November) there is not much chance of many more ripening so we will have to strip the plants and preserve what’s left.

Here are just a few suggestions; if you have any favourite recipes please share them via the comments box at the bottom of this article.

Passata – courtesy of BBC Good Food

This can be used as the base for pasta sauces or soups or as the tomato base spread on a pizza.

  • 1kg (2lb 3oz) ripe tomatoes; quartered
  • 6 garlic cloves; halved (optional)
  • 1tbsp. olive oil
  • 1teasp. caster sugar

Put tomatoes, garlic and oil in a large pan and cover and cook gently, shaking occasionally, for 10 minutes.

Season well and add the sugar. Remove the lid and boil for 5 minutes until the garlic is soft.

Once it has cooled sieve and store in the freezer in small plastic containers.

Keeps in the fridge for 7 – 10 days and up to 3 months in the freezer.

Tomato and chilli harissa – courtesy of Sara Buenfeld

This Middle Eastern spicy paste is ideal for Moroccan lamb dishes, as a base for pasta sauce, dip, marinade or to flavour soup.

  • 1teasp. each caraway and coriander seeds
  • ½ teasp. cumin seeds
  • 100ml. olive oil + little extra
  • 4 garlic cloves; peeled
  • 1teasp. smoked paprika
  • 500g. (1lb 2oz) tomatoes; deseeded and chopped
  • 3 red chillies; deseeded and chopped – leave the seeds in and use more chillies if you require it a bit hotter

Heat the spice seeds in a dry pan until they are lightly toasted and aromatic. Crush them in a pestle and mortar.

Heat the oil in a large pan. Add all the ingredients and cook over a gentle heat, stirring frequently, until the tomato is pulp and the garlic is tender, it should take about 15 minutes.

Remove from the heat and blitz in a blender until it is a smooth paste. Spoon into sterilised jars and cover the surface with a little oil. If you cover the surface with a thin layer of oil every time you use some it should keep in the fridge for several months.

Dried tomatoes

Dried tomatoes – courtesy of Delia Smith

  • tomatoes
  • salt
  • olive oil

Wash and dry the tomatoes and cut in half across the middle. Place them on a plate, cut side down, and squeeze out the seeds. Place upside down on a double layer of kitchen paper. Turn them over and sprinkle with a little salt.

Lay the tomatoes, cut side down, on wire cooling racks. Lay foil on the bottom of the oven to catch any drips.

Pre-heat the oven to 80C (175F, gas ½), place the racks of tomatoes in the oven and wedge the door slightly open with a metal skewer; the tomatoes need to dry slowly not cook.

Check them after about 6 hours and remove any which are ready; they should be chewy not paper dry. Medium tomatoes may take 8 hours.

Pack the cooled tomatoes into sterilised jars and fill with the oil.

 

Semi-dried tomatoes in olive oil

Semi-dried tomatoes – courtesy of BBC Good Food

  • tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • basil and/or oregano
  • garlic; peeled and chopped

Halve the tomatoes and arrange in a roasting tin, cut side up. Brush very lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with the herbs, seasoning and garlic.

Heat the oven to 120C (248F, gas 1) and cook for 2 – 3 hours until semi-dried.

Pack the cooled tomatoes into sterilised jars and fill with the oil.

They will keep in the fridge for up to 14 days.

Tomatoes, olive oil, pepper, parsley

Mediterranean vegetable soup

The quantities of vegetables used in this recipe need not be exact, just make sure you have more tomatoes than other vegetables.

  • 1kg (2lb 3oz) tomatoes; skinned and chopped
  • 1 aubergine; chopped
  • 2 courgettes; chopped
  • 2 red onions; peeled and chopped
  • 3 medium red chillies; deseeded and chopped – leave the seeds in if you want it hot
  • 2 sticks celery; chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic; peeled and chopped
  • 1teasp. mixed dried Mediterranean herbs (oregano, basil, thyme, parsley) or a handful of fresh chopped herbs
  • 1 Knorr vegetable Stock Pot
  • little olive oil
  • 2 handfuls pasta (optional)
  • 1ltr (35fl. oz) boiling water

Gently soften the onion and celery in the oil.

Dissolve the Stock Pot in the boiling water in a large pan. Add all the ingredients, except the pasta.

Simmer gently until the vegetables are soft and pulpy. Remove about half the mixture and blitz with a blender until smooth, return to the pan and add the pasta. Cook gently for a further 15 minutes. Season well to taste. If required the whole mixture can be blitzed or left whole and chunky.

Roasted tomatoes

These go really well with any meat and white, meaty fish. They are also fantastic with cheese and toasted thick slices of sourdough bread.

  • tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • dried mixed Mediterranean herbs (oregano, basil, thyme, parsley)  or chopped fresh herbs
  • garlic; chopped finely (optional)
  • medium red chillies; deseeded and finely chopped (optional)
  • sea salt
  • black pepper

Place tomatoes, stalk side down, in an oven-proof dish and cut a cross in the top. Drizzle olive oil over the top and sprinkle with the herbs, garlic, chilli and seasoning. Cook in a medium oven for 20 – 25 minutes, depending upon the size of the tomatoes, until they are soft but not fallen away.

Bowl of tomatoes, mixed colours

Tomato chutney courtesy of BBC Good Food

  • 1kg. (2lb. 3oz.) tomatoes; chopped
  • 500g (1lb. 2oz.) red onions; peeled and finely sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves; peeled and sliced
  • 1 red chilli; chopped
  • 4cm. piece ginger; peeled and chopped
  • 5 cardamom seeds; crushed
  • ½ teasp. paprika
  • 250g. (9oz) brown sugar
  • 150ml. (9fl.oz.) red wine vinegar

Place all ingredients into a heavy-based pan. Bring to a gentle simmer, stirring frequently, and simmer for 1 hour. Bring to a gentle boil until the mixture turns jammy.

Pour into warm sterilised jars; cover with lids once the chutney has cooled.

It should keep for about 6 weeks.

Green tomato chutney courtesy of Mary Cadogan

  • 2.5kg (5lb. 8oz.) green tomatoes; sliced
  • 500g (1lb. 2oz.) onions; peeled and finely chopped
  • 500g (1lb. 2oz.) sultanas
  • 500g (1lb. 2oz.) cooking apples; peeled, cored and chopped
  • 500g (1lb. 2oz.) light muscovado sugar
  • 1 rounded tbsp. salt
  • 1.14ltr. (2pts. 10fl.oz.) jar spiced pickling vinegar

Layer the tomatoes and onions in a bowl and cover with the salt. Leave overnight. Strain off the juice.

Put the sugar and vinegar into a large pan and bring to the boil slowly, to dissolve the sugar. Add the sultanas and apples and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the strained tomatoes and onions and return to the boil.

Simmer for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until the chutney is thick.

Pour into warm sterilised jars; cover with lids once the chutney has cooled.

It should keep for several months.

Fried green tomatoes

This recipe is from the southern states of the USA so all measurements and ingredients are American; British equivalents have been suggested in brackets.

  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup buttermilk (skimmed milk)
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour (plain)
  • ½ cup cornmeal (polenta or maize flour not cornflour)
  • 1teasp. salt
  • ½ teasp. pepper
  • green tomatoes cut into 1/3” slices
  • vegetable oil

Combine the egg and milk.

Combine ¼ cup flour, cornmeal, salt and pepper in a bowl.

Dip the slices of tomato in the flour then into the egg mixture then into the cornmeal mixture.

Put ¼ - ½” oil in a heavy-based skillet. Heat to 190C (375F). Drop in the tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels. Season.

Don’t cook too many at once otherwise the temperature will drop too much.

If you want to know more about growing tomatoes just contact the Outdoor Plants team here in store or check out the videos on our youtube channel.

Angela Slater
Daughter of a farmer so always used to producing something from the earth, whether it was animals or garden produce. Along with my work at Hayes Garden World I also have a smallholding, mainly breeding rare breed pigs. I also keep a few hens and grow vegetables for my own personal use. I gained a BSc in Conservation and Environmental Land Management. As a result of this I have a keen interest in environmentally friendly gardening.