Sauce 'Em, Can 'Em, Freeze 'Em: 7 Things to Do with Your Summer Tomatoes

Try these ideas to make the most of this summer's tomato crop, and pass the organic pasta (we've taste-tested it)!

September 5, 2010
RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA——Here at headquarters, this turned out to be a pretty good summer for growing tomatoes. In fact, we're swimming in those tasty love apples, from small cherries to big, weird-looking heirlooms.

If you're in a similar boat, read on for some ideas for putting those summer tomatoes to their best use—like pairing them with the perfect organic pasta, as ID'd by Maria Rodale's pasta taste test. You can share your own ideas in the comments section below, or on our Facebook fan page.

#1: Get Saucy.

#2: Serve some soup.


#3: Make dessert.

#4: Try your hand at canning.

#5: Dry them out.

#6: Donate them.

#7: Play with your food.

Pass the sauce:'s Leah Zerbe talks organic pasta on The 10! Show, NBC Philadelphia.

#1: Get Saucy. Making your own tomato-based pasta sauce is easy enough when the main ingredient is so readily available. For the simplest, tastiest from-scratch sauce ever, read about Maria Rodale's recently revamped, Italian-approved, tomato sauce recipe. To find the perfect pasta to go with your sauce, check Maria's blog for her taste test of organic whole wheat pasta.

If you want to try a different sauce, see the Rodale Recipe Finder for a great take on Linguine with Fresh Puttanesca Sauce. If you have plenty of plum tomatoes, go nuts with this recipe for polenta with fresh plum tomato sauce. Or forget the pasta and try this sweet tomato sauce that pairs perfectly with cod.
#2: Serve some soup. Whether you're already experiencing autumn weather, or you're still sweating through the last summer heat wave, there's a refreshing tomato-based soup that will satisfy. Keep cool in the kitchen with Maria Rodale's kid-tested summer gazpacho, which has just five ingredients. Tasty variations on this classic cold soup include Golden Gazpacho, which calls for yellow and orange tomatoes, and Tropical Gazpacho, which adds papaya, pineapple, and mango to the mix.

When the days turn brisk, it's time for classic tomato soup, which you can also make using roasted tomatoes. Or try an international spin with West African Peanut-Tomato Soup.
3. Make dessert. Yes, tomatoes for dessert! This delectable frozen Tomato Granita proves it's possible.
4. Try your hand at canning. There's nothing like opening up a jar of summer tomatoes in the dead of winter. See our story on How to Can Those Extra Garden Tomatoes, and you'll be an old hand at canning before you know it.
5. Dry them out. You've got the tomatoes, you've got the sun…why buy sun-dried tomatoes when you've got everything you need to do it yourself?'s Jean Nick explains it all in her Nickel Pincher column on food dehydration. You don't need special equipment, or even sunny weather, since her method works just as well using your oven.
6. Donate them. If you're truly overwhelmed by more tomatoes than you can can, cook, or eat, don't let them go to waste. Contact a local food bank or pantry and offer them any fresh garden vegetables you don't need. can help you connect your garden's bounty with organizations working to combat hunger and food insecurity.

7. Stage a play. Recently the Community Garden Players were inspired to combine our love of tomatoes with our love of melodrama. The result? Perennial Love, a vegetable-based romance. Check out the clips below and see if you don't appreciate tomatoes on a whole new level.

Part 1:

Part 2:

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