Wild Cherry Tomatoes - I'm swamped

This year, I participated in a seed library which lead to growing all sorts of new plants in the garden. The most successful was the Wild Cherry Tomato. Each fruit is between 1/4 to 1/2 an inch across, and the most potent tomato taste ever. It tastes like someone packed the flavour of a dozen regular size tomatoes into tiny taste explosions. BEST TOMATO FLAVOUR EVER!

Only, there are a lot of them. 7 days ago, not a single one was ripe, now I'm getting about 4 dozen every two days. And the season is just getting started. As delicious and tiny as they are, there are only so many tomatoes a girl can eat in a day. Even a girl who loves pasta as much as I do.

Looking for inspiration for preserving these delightful little gems so I can enjoy them all year. We're not canning this year, but fermenting and drying are possible.

I was thinking of drying them on the dehydrator, maybe do a tray or two a day until the frost comes - Only when I dry tomatoes they turn out hard. Even if I store them in olive oil, I just get crunchy, greasy tomatoes. There has to be a trick to it. I assume I take out the seeds before drying? They are about 50/50 seed to flesh ratio.

I'm searching around online of course, but I would love to hear what you do with your tomato avalanche this time of year. Please share your inspiration.



CarlaCooks August 14, 2014
In the New York Times magazine last week, there was an article about the company lunches at Good Egg. The article includes a recipe for a tart with cherry tomatoes that looks like it uses about a millions cherry tomatoes (slight exaggeration). http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/08/05/good-eggs-company-lunches-tomato-tart-corn-soup-fruit-butterhead-lettuce-recipes/
AntoniaJames August 13, 2014
Pickle them. Paul Virant's "Preservation Kitchen" has an excellent recipe. They're simply wonderful, mid-winter, used in a tomato vinaigrette, the recipe for which he also provides. I had a few jars left over, which I've used this summer, cutting the pickles in half and combining with fresh cherry tomatoes and fresh herbs to make the most delightful relish; we've used it to make bruschetta, and to top grilled tuna, and the masa harina corn cakes that recently won the Best Corn contest. That relish is also superb in my corn and quinoa salad (recipe posted here), and mixed with cucumbers as a simple side that goes with just about everything. I made 6 pints last year; I plan to double that this year, or even triple, to give some as gifts. ;o)
trampledbygeese August 13, 2014
Such fantastic ideas! I knew I came to the right place to ask.
Now I almost wish I had planted twice as many tomatoes.

Eat T. August 12, 2014
I end up with a glut of them every year. I roast mine whole, then pop them through the mouli. What you're left with is a gorgeously sweet tomato sauce, that can be used in a myriad of ways.. e.g. add cumin seeds then drop in some eggs for a simple Shakshuka, or add a few pinches of paprika, a tray of roast potatoes and some freshly chopped parsley, and you have yourself some amazing patatas bravas, or you could even add some caramelised onions, a pinch of allspice and some cooked green beans, and serve atop a simple rice pilaf. Recipe here if you need http://www.eatthismyfriend.com/condiments/burst-cherry-tomato-sauce/
mainecook61 August 12, 2014
This sounds like a tomato that some people I know grow; they call it a "blueberry tomato" because of its size (and being in Maine and all). The slow roasted idea (you can leave a very low oven on all night) is the way to go with a real tomato deluge. I throw all sorts of tomatoes, big and small, in a big roasting pan, add salt, basil, sometimes garlic or onion, some olive oil. It's a forgiving sauce. When it cooks way down, I put it through a food mill and freeze it. Cherry tomatoes also do freeze well, although they tend to "explode" through their skins.
QueenOfGreen August 12, 2014
Canal House cookbooks (sorry I can't remember exactly which one) has a recipe for tomato preserves that was a new and interesting twist. I'd share it with you if I knew how!
lem M. August 12, 2014
oh and if you do change your mind about canning (not for your family just to preserve without using up freezer space): my favourite way to can small and sweet tomatoes while keeping most of their fresh flavour is whole in a very light brine. you pack your jars as full of whole tomatoes, add a bit of salt (1-2 teaspoons for a pint-sized jar) and water to fill about 3/4 of the jar (don’t fill them completely, since the tomatoes will release some juices, too); add a bit of basil, oregano or garlic, if you want to, close the jars and can them (I do 15mins after I see the first bubbles rise inside the jars).
This is one of the traditional ways used for small tomato varieties grown on the Vesuvius near Naples (search for “pomodorini in salamoia” for more precise recipes) and I just love how the tomatoes stay pretty close to their fresh state…
lem M. August 12, 2014
oh what a beautiful and delicious problem to have!
regarding your drying questions: if the tomatoes are small and/or not very watery, do leave the seeds in – they contain so much flavour and help get that perfect slightly chewy texture. I’m not familiar with using a dehydrator, but isn’t there a way to adjust some settings (if nothing else, a shorter drying time) to get them the way you like them?
Kristen W. August 12, 2014
I second the slow roasting idea. So simple to do, but it uses up a lot of them and packs SO MUCH flavor into one bite! I just did that with some cherry tomatoes from the garden, and I'm just in love with them right now as an addition to egg and pasta dishes of all kinds, just to mentions couple of vehicles for them.
Susan W. August 11, 2014
I spread a bunch on a cookie sheet and froze them. Then I put them in a ziplock freezer bag. I pulled a few out and used them in the Martha pasta dish. It turned out great. I threw in some dehydrated cherry tomatoes in it too and they softened right up. Delicious.
Susan W. August 11, 2014
Just saw your freezer comment. Dehydrate a ton. Mine really did soften right up in the pasta dish. I put some preserved lemon peel in it..great combination.
Diana B. August 11, 2014
I wish I could remember where I got this recipe to give credit, but it's fabulous for summer:

2 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
1 teaspoon fine chopped tarragon
1 teaspoon light Muscovado sugar (or use light brown sugar)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
9 oz. ripe cherry tomatoes (I prefer Sugar Plum tomatoes)
sea salt and pepper
4 slices of your favorite country bread (I use a split baguette)
½ cup soft fresh goat cheese, to spread (you could use whipped cream cheese with chives or another spreadable cheese, like Rondele, instead)
8 slices of prosciutto (you could use luncheon meat, or thinly sliced ham, chicken or turkey instead)

Preheat the oven to 320°.

In a shallow baking dish, combine the garlic, tarragon, brown sugar, vinegar, and oil. Add the tomatoes, mix and season with salt and pepper.

Place in the oven and bake for 1 to 1½ hours, until the tomatoes are soft.

Toast the bread and spread with the goat cheese. Top each tartine with 2 slices of prosciutto and a few of the roasted tomatoes. Drizzle some of the oil over and sprinkle with a little salt.
Diana B. August 11, 2014
Do you do any canning/preserving? If so, a nice batch of tomato jam could put a serious dent in your bounty! Here's one I ran across this morning: http://growitcookitcanit.com/2012/09/06/make-this-now-tomato-jam/
trampledbygeese August 11, 2014
Oh, that looks tasty. Not doing canning this year because I'm super pi..ed off at the family. They ask for me to can stuff, then they don't eat it. If I can get my hands on a smaller canner I might cook some just for me.
Diana B. August 11, 2014
I understand perfectly, which is why some of my friends no longer get any of my home preserves, and my neighbors have benefited accordingly!
ButterSugarFlowers August 11, 2014
This doesn't help with preserving or dehydrating, but my tomato spice cake will use up almost 2 pounds of any kind of fresh tomatoes, and has proven to be a real crowd-pleaser. (If you don't mention that there are tomatoes in it, skeptics are more likely to try it, and many tasters won't notice!) Recipe: https://food52.com/recipes/29297-fresh-tomato-spice-cake-a-summertime-sweet
trampledbygeese August 11, 2014
Tomatoes in cake? Wow! On my list of things to try.
lem M. August 12, 2014
I have to try this, sounds incredible!
weekend A. August 11, 2014
This won't make much of a dent in your overall stash, but...poke a few holes in the tomatoes with a thin skewer, then marinate in a few glugs of vodka and some grinds of black pepper. These are a tasty happy hour snack with a dish of good salt for dipping!
trampledbygeese August 11, 2014
Oh wow! That sounds amazing. Questions: Would gin work? Room temp or fridge? How long do they last?
weekend A. August 11, 2014
Funny, have never made them with gin, but I'm sure they would be tasty. I typically marinate them overnight in the fridge, but would bet that room temp would be ok, given they're bathing in alcohol! I've made them up to two days in advance for parties as well.
For a kick of heat you could throw in a pinch of red pepper flakes or minced fresh chili pepper like serrano or habanero.
trampledbygeese August 11, 2014
I wonder what the gin/vodka tastes like afterwards.
weekend A. August 11, 2014
that is a burning question that i really need to answer...for science.
trampledbygeese August 11, 2014
Great answers, thanks guys.

It's not such a terrible problem, is it? Really, one plant would have been enough per person per year, these are exceptionally prolific and surprisingly drought tolerant for tomato. I wanted to get as much genetic diversity as I could for seed saving, so I have about 20 plants. gulp.

I'll probably freeze a few, but right now I'm trying to empty the freezer for the fall lamb and goat harvest. I guess drying is my best bet.

Eating fresh is good too. I love the recipes for tomatoes on the site... but what's your personal favourite way to devour tiny tomatoes?
aargersi August 11, 2014
I just took a closer look at your profile picture - are you a Pastafarian? Touched by His Noodley Appendage? Ha - I love that!
trampledbygeese August 11, 2014
Grabs eyepatch and tricorn hat - oh yes! A Pastafarian of the Whole Wheat variety. Whole Wheat Pastafarians see the teachings of his noodliness as a sign that it is our purpose in life to create the most wonderful food possible, and to leave the land happy and healthy so that future generations can enjoy pasta too. So, in other words, I'm a eco-loving hippy foodie farmer type.
aargersi August 11, 2014
That's awesome - we need to hang out!
Posie (. August 11, 2014
We have the same problem (blessing?) and my mother usually makes a LOT of sauce and freezes it. She doesn't cook it very much, and keeps it quite chunky and sparse of seasoning so that it is multipurpose -- it's basically a blank canvas that way, you can eventually defrost and cook it down to a thinner sauce and add whatever seasonings work for your dish.

Voted the Best Reply!

aargersi August 11, 2014
I have never tried drying them but I LOVE slow roasting with olive oil, balsamic and herbs - herbs de Provence is a fave - and salt and pepper of course. They are great in salads, sandwiches, pasta (!!!) soups, chopped into meatloaf, you name it. You could easily freeze them and have them all winter.

And you could overnight a crate of them to me :-)
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