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What to do with leftover tomatoes

Tomato and cheese tarts

Discover diverse ideas to repurpose your overripe tomatoes and prevent waste

Tomatoes have been a pantry staple since the dawn of time. And for good reason. From your classic ruby-red vine-ripened varieties, to sweet cherry tomatoes and even the unique, flavour-rich heirloom varieties, tomatoes are so versatile and lend themselves to any top-notch dish.

While many of us turn to the trusted tomato sauce to use up surplus, there's a world of possibilities with this versatile fruit. From storage secrets to transformative recipes, discover the many ways you can use your overripe tomatoes.

Storage tips:

Understanding how to store tomatoes based on their ripeness can maximise their shelf life:

Green tomatoes: Store them at room temperature in a spacious container or paper bag. If you want to speed up the ripening, place them in a sunny spot.

Ripe tomatoes: Check ripeness by feeling for a firm texture that yields slightly when squeezed. Keep them in a cool place with the stem up, and use them within days. If needed, refrigerate them but remember to take them out an hour before eating raw to intensify flavours.

Freezing tips:

Want to prevent spoilage? Freeze your tomatoes! After washing and coring them, slice them up, pop them in freezer bags, and store for up to six months. Later, these frozen jewels can be a base for a refreshing sorbet or an innovative dish like shaved tomato atop burrata.

Classic Tomato Pasta Sauce


Make a tomato sauce

Got too many leftover tomatoes? Try the age-old solution: a robust tomato sauce. This isn't your simple pasta accompaniment. By combining ripe tomatoes with onions, garlic, and a selection of fresh herbs, then allowing them to simmer, you get a rich sauce perfect for various dishes from lasagna to a hearty stew. The versatility doesn't stop there. By adding diced peppers, coriander, and a squeeze of lime, this sauce can be easily transformed into a salsa.

Roasted Tomatoes With Mozzarella & Basil


Roast them

In just 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven, leftover tomatoes can transform into a deep, flavoursome side dish. Simply coat in olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to enhance their natural sweetness and umami flavour. Their softened and caramelised texture complements diverse dishes, from a succulent steak to a creamy risotto or rich soup, roasted tomatoes add a gourmet touch with minimal effort.

Pico De Gallo


Make salsa or pico de gallo

Want to know what you can do with leftover tomatoes that's quick and easy? Try a fresh salsa or pico de gallo. By dicing a few tomatoes and mixing them with ingredients like onions, cilantro, jalapeños, lime juice, and seasoning, a vibrant topping is ready to elevate nachos, tacos, and grilled dishes. You can even add your leftover mango or pineapple for a tropical twist. Its refreshing zing and textures can transform even the simplest of meals into a culinary fiesta.

Roasted Tomato Soup With Toasted Cheesy Olive Bread


Make soup or gazpacho

For those sweltering summer days, nothing is as cooling as a bowl of gazpacho. Taking ripe tomatoes, combining them with cucumber, onions, and garlic, then blending with olive oil, vinegar, and seasoning creates a Spanish soup that can be served chilled. Not only is it a delectable starter for a summer feast al fresco, but it's also a great way to use up overripe tomatoes. For a rich, warming tomato soup, roast them with onion, garlic and red capsicum.

Tomato & Cheese Tarts


Make tomato tart or pie

While tomatoes often find themselves in pasta or bakes, they’re also perfect in pastries and pies. A tomato tart or pie is a testament to this. By layering slices of tomato with cheese and herbs on a pie crust, then binding with a rich mixture of eggs and milk, the result is a golden, flaky pastry with a sumptuous filling. Perfect for brunches, picnics, or as an unexpected dinner treat.

Chillied Tomato & Garlic Chutney


Make tomato chutney

Tomato chutney, with its blend of tang, sweetness, and a hint of spice, is a versatile condiment. Cooking down tomatoes with sugar, vinegar, spices, and raisins achieves a spread perfect for sandwiches, as a side for curries or simply as a unique dip. This idea can be expanded with this capsicum chutney recipe and more ideas found here.

Tomato & Pepper Sorbet With Caramelised Wafers


A refreshing sorbet

Pushing boundaries in cooking often leads to unexpected delights. Get innovative and try making a tomato sorbet. After freezing tomatoes, blending them gives a surprising dessert option. Season lightly, and the dish transforms into a palate cleanser or a quirky dessert. For those up with the Instagram trends, try the shaved iced tomato atop burrata – a winning combo of creamy and icy textures.

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