The tomato season is in full flow, and you may find that your successful polytunnel garden is providing more tomatoes than you know what to do with. You may be wondering what to do with all those delicious tomatoes that you have grown.
Of course, tomatoes are a hugely versatile ingredient. You can use these fruits in a huge range of different ways. Of course you can always enjoy some tomatoes in a fresh salad. There are also the common classics like tomato ragu and tomato sauces, that can be spread on pizzas, used with pasta, or slathered on chips. And by canning or bottling your home grown tomatoes, you can always make sure you have some simple tomato based sauces on hand.
But you can definitely branch out. And there are a range of other interesting recipe ideas to consider. In this article, we’ll explore a few interesting options that you might like to consider:
Shakshouka is a dish well known in the Mediterranean region, where it has been cooked for centuries. This interesting breakfast, lunch or dinner option involves poaching eggs in a sauce of tomatoes, olive oil, peppers, onion and garlic. It is commonly seasoned with cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg, and can also be garnished with a range of fresh herbs.
You may be more familiar with recipes that involve stuffing squash or peppers. But larger tomatoes grown in your polytunnel could also be stuffed. You can choose a wide range of fillings – rice can work well, especially alongside chickpeas or lentils. Season the mix with whatever herbs or spices you enjoy, and you can create an amazingly flavoursome dish.
Tomato Courgette Layer Bake
If you love lasagna, then you will love this lighter alternative, which uses slices of courgette or marrow in place of pasta sheets. Simply layer up tomatoes, traditional white sauce (or a vegan alternative), courgettes, and cheese (or vegan cheese) and bake it all in the oven.
Cypriot Tava Inspired Casserole/ Stew With Tomatoes
My uncle introduced us to this recipe, which was his vegetarian version of the usually lamb based Cypriot Tava. It involves layering and slow cooking onions, tomatoes and potatoes with olive oil, herbs and seasonings. And makes a hearty and satisfying dish.
Tomatoes, Onion, Basil and Oregano Fougasse
This is a type of French bread that you can customise with whatever fresh ingredients you have on hand. One great combination is Tomato, onion, basil and oregano. Make your simple, yeasted, white bread dough then push your fresh ingredients into the top of the formed bread. Drizzle with olive oil and add salt to taste, then bake.
Tomatoes cannot only be used in savoury recipes. Something that you might not have considered is that they can be used in sweet recipes too. Here are five more interesting recipe ideas to consider to eat your tomatoes for dessert:
Tomato Tarte Tatin
You might not think to use tomatoes as you would use other summer fruits. But tomatoes are a fruit after all. And one way that they can be used is to make a sweet tomato tarte tatin. Blanch and peel plum tomatoes, then remove the seeds. Spread butter (or vegan spread) on the base of an oven proof dish, then sprinkle sugar over the butter. Add the tomatoes on top, then cover with puff pastry and bake until golden brown. Loosen the sides when cooked, and turn out the other way up to reveal your amazing creation.
Many fruits and vegetables from your garden can find their way into sweet cakes and tomatoes are no exception. Add fresh tomatoes to a simple cake recipe and their citric acid will help give the cake a light and airy consistency. No, it won’t taste of tomatoes, but this could be one other interesting way to use up your tomato harvest.
Tomato Jam Tarts
Add equal quantities of tomatoes and sugar (or honey or agave syrup if you prefer), then make a sweet jam that can be enjoyed on toast or in other ways. You could also consider making some pastry cases and filling these with your sweet tomato jam to make tomato jam tarts. They could be a very interesting alternative to more traditional jam tarts, and people may be very intrigued when they find out what went into them.
Tomato cheesecakes can be both savoury and sweet. For something very different to the norm, consider the sweet option, with sugar or other sweeteners added. Challenge your guests to work out which fruits your cheesecake was made from – chances are, they will struggle to guess.
Fresh, polytunnel grown tomatoes also lend themselves well to the creation of a light and zesty sorbet. Combine tomatoes with sugar and fresh basil leaves and freeze it, stirring regularly, to make your sorbet.
These are just some interesting recipe ideas for polytunnel grown tomatoes that you may not have considered. Of course, there are just a fraction of all the fascinating options out there that you could consider. Often, making the most of all the produce you grow in your polytunnel means thinking outside the box. So don’t be afraid to try a little experimentation.
When it comes to the end of the growing season, there are plenty of ways to use up your green tomatoes too. So make sure you don’t let them go to waste.
For tomatoes, and other ingredients from your polytunnel garden, the key is to be open minded. Thing about cuisines from different cultures, and new and interesting options that you might not have thought about before. Chances are, if you type an idea into the internet, someone, somewhere has been there and done it before, and will have some tips and suggestions to share.
But don’t neglect the basics either. Sometimes, you can’t go wrong if you fall back on tried and tested favourites. After all, things like pasta and pizza are favourites for a reason. Just ring the changes every now and then and you can still return to your top family favourites again and again.
Do you have some favourite tomato recipes to share? Please do so 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.
To get in touch, visit https://ewspconsultancy.com.