If you're like me, you're probably wondering what to do with all those cherry tomatoes your plants keep producing. This guide will show you what I do with my deluge of cherry tomatoes.
In 2020, I harvested over 100lbs of cherry tomatoes! Yes! That was not a typo! Red ones, orange ones, yellow ones and black ones. Round ones, pointy ones, long ones and really small ones. The issue of course is that we tend to revert back to the same recipes and preparations which is neither interesting nor appealing. There are so many things we can do with small fruited tomatoes if we think outside the box.
One of my favorite ways to enjoy cherry tomatoes is by baking them in focaccia. After transferring my dough to the baking tray and giving it a good press down with my fingers, I'll nestle small tomatoes within the poke holes. They focaccia will bake up, the tomatoes will concentrate and the whole thing will just be delicious and comforting. You can use your favorite focaccia recipe for this preparation. Add some herbs, olives, good olive oil and you've got yourself a winning dish!
Confit means to cook a protein in its own fat at very low temperature for a long time. This is usually done with duck legs, a traditional French preparation. As tomatoes don't have their own fat, cooking them in good extra virgin olive oil is the preferred method.
In a rimmed baking dish, place a single layer of cherry tomatoes. Add whole (or chopped, whatever your preference is) garlic cloves. Add some herbs (I like thyme as it can withstand long cooking times). Drizzle olive oil all over the cherry tomatoes. You don't want the tomatoes to be fully submerged in fat. A thin layer of olive oil should do. Roast low and slow until the cherry tomatoes start bursting. You're not looking for them all to burst. You want the confit to have some body. Cool and then transfer to a mason jar.
Enjoy your confit tomatoes on toast or crostini. I like pairing it with a dollop of ricotta. You can also turn the confit tomatoes into a quick pasta sauce. I also love including confit tomatoes on a charcuterie and cheese board.
Enjoy them fresh!
Step up your salad game! This year, I made fattoush (a Middle Eastern tomato, cucumber, pita and sumac salad). I enjoyed them with burrata and peaches (check out this Instagram reel for some inspiration). I added them to a grilled corn salad.
Another great way to enjoy them fresh is TOMATO TOAST! Whether you pair them with cheese, avocado or even mayo (yes, tomato and mayo open faced sammies are amazing!), the possibilities are endless.
Bake them into a tart!
Another great way to quickly use up your cherry tomatoes. All it takes is 3 simple ingredients. Store-bought frozen puff pastry, herbed cream cheese, and cherry tomatoes. Check out my recipe for Tomato and herbed cheese puff pastry tart here.
How about a Galette?
A relatively new addition to the blog, here's a recipe for Rustic Tomato Galette. Although the recipe calls for slicer tomatoes, you can certainly try making it with cherry tomatoes!
I'll admit, this isn't my favorite way to enjoy cherry tomatoes, but it is a great way to transform and preserve them. There are plenty of pickled cherry tomato recipes out there, and for now, I'll suggest you do some research. Perhaps I'll add a recipe to the blog in due course. In the meantime, check out this recipe from Thekitchn.
Make jam with them!
Have you ever had tomato jam? I highly recommend making a batch. I would normally make tomato jam using paste or plum tomatoes, but you can certainly made it with cherry tomatoes as well (you'll just need to cook it down longer). Tomato jam is a perfect accoutrement to a charcuterie and cheese board. It also makes a great sandwich spread. I made a big batch of tomato jam last year but did not document it for the blog. Another recipe to add to the list!
Roast and turn them into sauce (for preservation)!
My go to preparation for cherry tomatoes when I need to preserve vast amounts of fruits. Follow the same procedure as I described for confit tomatoes, except this time, you want to cook the tomatoes high and fast. You want the tomatoes to burst. You want them to cook down and concentrate their juices.
If you need a more detailed ingredient and method for this recipe, check out my recipe for Roasted tomato sauce here.
When I'm not motivated to cook and need to put away large quantities of cherry tomatoes, I freeze them for future use. You can freeze cherry tomatoes whole in freezer bags. They won't be suitable for fresh eating as they will fall apart when they thaw, but they make perfect additions to stews and sauces throughout the winter months. This is a wonderful way to enjoy summer flavors throughout the winter!
Canning tomatoes safely is a contentious topic. There are many techniques and recipes out there. I don't personally share canning or fermenting recipes because you can never guarantee that people will actually follow the directions perfectly. Canning is a science, so make sure to follow approved recipes like the ones from Ball, Kerr or Bernardin. Your country/region may have a food safety authority and recommendations around canning and preservation. Do your research.