Harvesting and Preserving Tomatoes

Sungold tomatoes from Go Gingham

I just washed my hands and the soapy water is completely green. That’s what happens after I’ve been picking tomatoes. The tomatoes we planted earlier this summer are coming in fast and furious.Usually, the tomatoes get oven roasted and made into sauce directly after picking.

Go Gingham: Tomatoes from garden

But this year, our weather has been so hot that most days, it’s too hot to turn the oven on. (Our old house has a wonderful front porch but lacks insulation and air conditioning.) This year, I’ve taken to picking the cherry tomatoes and dropping them into a container for freezing immediately.

Buying organic veggies from Go Gingham Stylishly Frugal Living

No rinsing tomatoes or freezing them individually. Large tomatoes need slicing in half – mostly to fit into the containers.

Go Gingham: Tomatoes from garden

Tomato soup and heavenly pasta sauce can get made in January – when we want the heat from the oven to warm our cold house. Having tomatoes from the garden in the winter is such a treat, too. They’re not pretty enough for a salad but they taste delicious.

I found biodegradable food storage bags at Bi-Mart. They were less expensive than the name brand zip top storage bags and they’re an environmentally responsible product – meaning they break down in a compost bin. They’re by a company called Green Solutions and I bought the gallon size.

While I prefer using glass containers for storing food, when we run out of space in our freezer at this time of year, these plastic bags are helpful.

I visited our local morning talk show, AMNW, to share my methods for preserving the harvest – quickly.
http://swfs.bimvid.com/player-3.2.15.swf

We’ve made pickles and frozen lots of herbs already. I think we’ll make peach jam during the fall. We picked lots of peaches (from a u-pick farm) and they’re so sweet, we’ll hardly need any sweetener.

Roasted tomatoes ready to freeze

Harvesting fresh fruits and vegetables that we’ve grown in our garden, or from a farm, is one of my favorite summer time activities. Knowing we’ve grown the food – or at least picked it ourselves – makes it taste that much sweeter. But, I’m not sure when I’ll stop smelling like tomato plants.

What are you harvesting right now in your garden? Have you been picking produce this summer?

Go Gingham related links:

How to stake tomato plants – a very stylishly frugal method!
Why my tomato plants are happy – what I plant with them
My non-gardener-gardening-strategy – yes, non gardeners can fake it

8 thoughts on “Harvesting and Preserving Tomatoes

  1. We are not having a good tomato year. My husband thinks he was sold diseased plants, as most of ours have died. It was cool earlier in the summer so what we do have is still pretty green, which is unfortunate, since I love BLTs …

    Enjoy your harvest! You’re right, homegrown tomatoes taste great in supper dishes during the winter.

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    1. Well that’s too bad about the bad tomato plants! I’d definitely talk with the nursery/store where they were purchased so that they can let their supplier know. Either that or try a new nursery next year. Honestly, some of my best tomato plants have come from Costco – and they’re organic. This year I was too late and bought them from somewhere else. The change meant I had new/different varieties but I’m sure we paid more.
      We used to only get tomatoes after Sept. 1 so I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you get some soon, Kris! Thanks for writing in 🙂

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  2. Been growing tomatoes, basil, and cilantro in my container garden on my patio. I haven’t had enough tomatoes to freeze like you have, Sara. Maybe I’ll expand next year!

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    1. Yay, Vanessa! That’s exciting that you’ve got a vegetable garden – that sounds like a yummy dinner to me!
      We have lots of containers in our yard, too. I just planted ginger in an empty pot. The ginger was starting to sprout in our kitchen so we’ll see what becomes of it. 🙂
      Thank you for sharing!

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      1. Hi Sara,
        Just found your blog, amazing what a person can grow out of soil.
        The most healthy and beautiful coloured vegies and fruit.
        Have you perhaps a recipe for sundried tomatoes.
        I live in “Sunny” South Africa and tomatoes all year round available
        at Food Lovers Markets.
        Will forward you my recipe in the near future for making delicious
        homemade pickled gherkins. Also how to make onion marmelade with
        Balsamic reduction.
        Love to cook with garlic and ginger. I am going to find out where I can get the ginger seeds. I have peppedew plants, but they grow so slowly, please forward your address and I would like to post you some
        seeds to you.
        Many thanks and kind regards.
        Joan van der Merwe

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      2. Joan,
        Thank you for your nice comment and good wishes! I’ll send you my address.
        Yes, it is amazing what can be grown out of soil and I like food to grow more than anything in my soil.
        Thanks again ~
        🙂

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  3. Those are great tips. I was just sitting here this morning trying to figure out what to do with all of these tomatoes I harvested – I didn’t really want to can them. I’ll freeze them now from watching your video. Have you had any experience dehydrating them? Just wondered if it was worth the $ to purchase one.

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    1. Hi Ruthie!
      So glad 🙂 I did buy a dehydrator (found one at an estate sale) but you could dehydrate them in your oven to see if you like them. We haven’t dehydrated tomatoes but we have done apples and bananas. I’ve loaned mine out, too. Not everyone needs to own one. Could you borrow one from a friend?
      Good luck! How nice that you have so many tomatoes ~

      Like

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