5 Ways to Use & Preserve Cherry Tomatoes
Everywhere I look, I see cherry tomatoes. This is a good problem to have, but a challenging one to manage. Cherry tomatoes are great for fresh eating, but only up to a point. For the past few weeks, I have been picking close to 10 pounds of cherry tomatoes per day. Keeping up with that volume requires a bit of creativity. Discover 5 ways I've been using and preserving an abundance of cherry tomatoes.
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Roasted Tomatoes to Freeze
Roasted tomato basil soup is a staple in my house, especially during summer when the tomato harvest is at its peak. Since I have so many cherry tomatoes this year, I decided to roast some of them to freeze so it'll be easy to replicate the recipe during fall and winter.
This simply requires cutting cherry tomatoes in half, putting them on a baking sheet, drizzling olive oil over the top, and roasting at 425 degrees F for 25 minutes.
When they cooled, I spooned them into quart-size freezer bags to store until I no longer have access to fresh tomatoes to make my favorite soup.
Dehydrated Cherry Tomatoes
Dehydration has long been my go-to method for preserving cherry tomatoes, so my dehydrator has been pretty much running non-stop for the past several weeks.
I typically slice cherry tomatoes in half to dehydrate and store them in Mason jars. I mostly use them when making vegetable soup.
I also grind dehydrated cherry tomatoes into tomato powder, which I use as a thickener in various sauces or as a tomato paste substitute.
Marinated Dehydrated Tomatoes
Once I had more than enough regular dehydrated cherry tomatoes on the shelf for the year, I decided to use some of my fresh cherry tomatoes make a batch of marinated dehydrated tomatoes using this recipe from the Food in Jars website.
This recipe requires tossing tomatoes in an oil/herb mixture before dehydrating them. They have to be stored in the refrigerator, where they will keep for a few months.
They are a delicious salad topping. When I've made this recipe in the past, this is how I primarily used them.
Cherry Tomato Jam
To use up some of this year's cherry tomato bounty, I also made some tomato jam. I minimize the use of sugar, so I usually use Pomona's Universal Pectin when making jam. I used the tomato jam recipe from their website and was very pleased with how it turned out.
For snacking, I like to spread this jam over cream cheese, just as people often do with pepper jelly. It tastes great on crackers.
As strange as it sounds, tomato jam is delicious in meatloaf. I mix it into the meat it instead of tomato sauce or ketchup.
Enhancing Favorite Recipes
I've also been experimenting with ways to enhance recipes that I make all the time by adding fresh cherry tomatoes. A few of the experiments have worked out so well that they've become new staples.
When making shepherd's pie, I added both cherry tomatoes and shredded zucchini to the meat and vegetable portion of the dish. That worked out great.
Cherry tomatoes were an awesome addition to a chicken casserole I make that is usually just chicken, ranch dressing, cheese, and chopped spinach or Swiss chard.
More Ideas for Cherry Tomatoes?
I hope you find these ideas to be helpful. They have helped me make the most of this year's cherry tomato harvest, but I'd love to find some other ideas. If you have any suggestions to share, please share your thoughts in the comments section below. All ideas are greatly appreciated!