Every year I grow as many tomato plants as my garden will hold. If I’m lucky and #thosedarnsquirrels don’t eat them all, I have a bounty of juicy red and yellow fruit that lasts through September. Inevitably some tomatoes will ripen too quickly or blister in the sun.
But let me tell you, do not pass these up – whether in your own garden or at the market. These less-than-perfect tomatoes can be some of the juiciest and sweetest you’ll find.
There are a number of delicious and creative ways for how to use up overripe tomatoes, and I’ve tried a lot of them. But summer after summer, I always come back to the following three recipes.
1. Make a pan con tomate
A favorite dish from my time living in Spain, pan con tomate is summer food at its finest. If you’ve never heard of it, I’ll break it down for you: It’s bread with tomatoes.
Well, it’s a little more nuanced than that but it is one of the simplest – and mouthwateringly good – ways to use up overripe tomatoes. I often use nothing more than high-quality olive oil, garlic and flaky sea salt, but check out Danielle Oron’s version (above), Tapa d’Or, via her site, I Will Not Eat Oysters.
I love the addition of vinegar and her presentation (great for entertaining). Her pan con tomate recipe will convince you to make this every chance you can for the next month.
2. Slow roast and use them with just about anything! Here’s how.
Slow roasting cherry tomatoes is one of my absolute favorite methods for using overripe tomatoes. Once cooled, I store in a jar and add them to simple pastas or grain salads.
After sharing my tips on Instagram, one of my teacher friends told me she adds them to BLTs. Genius.
To slow roast cherry tomatoes:
1. Halve the cherry tomatoes and place along with some unpeeled garlic cloves on a baking sheet.
2. Toss with olive oil and salt, making sure the garlic cloves have olive oil on them too.
3. Roast in a 225-degree oven for about 2 – 2 1/2 hours or until they look a little wrinkled, but not dried out.
4. Once cooked, add to a bowl or jar, add a little more olive oil and taste for salt and pepper.
3. Whip up fresh salsa from scratch
Playdates, birthdays, adult cocktail parties, snacking on your own… it’s hard to imagine an ocassion where chips and salsa are not welcome. And what better way to celebrate a summer party than with fresh salsa.
You should follow Isabel for all her Mexican influenced cooking, but if you haven’t discovered her yet, the fresh homemade salsa recipe on her site, Isabel Eats, is a perfect place to start. The salsa is ridiculously easy and tasty, and includes a handful of great tips. Oh, and it takes five minutes to make.
4. Freeze them.
One last pro tip: If you’re running out the door for vacation and you find yourself with a haul of tomatoes, you can actually freeze raw tomatoes pretty well. Just know that once frozen, the texture will have changed so only use them in recipes requiring cooked tomatoes, not raw.
Top photo: Iñigo De la Maza via Unsplash