Tomatoes are one of the most common polytunnel plants – with good reason. These versatile fruits can be used in so many different ways – having too many is a problem that it is nice to have! Still, if you are harvesting a ton of tomatoes this month, you may be wondering what to do with them all. Here are some ideas for a glut of tomatoes from your polytunnel.
Tomato Sauce for Pasta or Pizza
If you have a glut of tomatoes, it is a good idea to make a multi-purpose tomato sauce that can be used in a wide range of pasta dishes, or spread onto your home-made pizzas. One of the great things about making your own tomato sauce is that you can customise it to suit you. You can make it with onions and garlic, with Mediterranean herbs, or with a little sweetness or spice. Experiment with different batches to find your perfect tomato sauce recipe.
Home-Made Tomato Ketchup
If you or your kids are prone to putting ketchup on everything then why buy a bottle when you can make your own? (You can even make it a little healthier than the store bought variety if you wish, with reduced sugar and salt.) Again, experiment to find the perfect flavour combination that the whole family will want to enjoy on their summer barbecues and on other dishes throughout the year.
Do you love spice? Tomato masala can be a base for a number of different curries and stews and other recipes, so why not mix up a big batch with home-grown tomatoes, masala spice mix, chillies, onions, garlic and other ingredients (to taste)? That way, you will be able to store it in the fridge (or freezer) for a while and bring it out for a quick meal when you fancy it.
Another great way to use up a large quantity of tomatoes is to make up a big vat of tomato soup. Again, making this ahead of time can give you a go-to meal idea for later in the year. There are plenty of tomato soup recipes to choose from, from the very simple, to more sophisticated herb-strewn or spicy options. Experimentation is key, again, to finding your perfect tomato soup.
Of course, tomatoes are always great in a salad. If you have a lot of tomatoes to use up then salsas could be a good way to go. Combined with chillies, red onion and seasoning to taste, salsas can be stirred into a mixed leafy summer salad, used to fill a tortilla or other flat bread, or enjoyed as a dip with crisps or raw vegetable sticks.
How do you like to eat your tomatoes from your polytunnel? Let us know in the comments below.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.