When you have a lot of tomatoes, you have to find something to do with all of them. Granted, we set ourselves up for this conundrum by planting around 30 tomato plants. Why so many you ask? Well, if you are going to the trouble of making a mess processing them, you might as well have enough ripe at one time to be able to do a giant batch of sauce or salsa. Of the plants we have, most are a large slicing variety, but we also bought a pack of cherry tomatoes figuring the boys would like them. As you saw in one of our previous posts, they do like them and enjoy plucking piles of green ones. Will, our 2.5 year old, has become more helpful. He would carry the little bucket while I picked and then go dump them in the big tub for me. This saved me from moving a 4-5 gallon tub multiple times while I moved up and down the row. He also helped me pick the cherry tomatoes while I continuously reminded, “only the red ones.” I ended up with 12-15 gallons of big tomatoes and 2.5 gallons of cherry tomatoes.
So what to do with 2.5 gallons of cherry tomatoes? The boys and I made oven dried tomatoes (similar to a sun dried tomato) to use in sauces, on pizza, and any other recipe we like. It was a fun project with them.
First they helped pick the greens off the tops.
Then I washed them and cut each in half. After that it was time to squeeze the seeds out. This part was great fun. Keegan, our 15 month old, really enjoyed squeezing the tomatoes in his hands and transferring them back and forth between the bowls.
Lastly I spread them out on parchment paper covered cookie sheets and baked them in the oven at 200 degrees for 4-6 hours.
When we were done I transferred them to a bowl for the boys to marvel and the little one thought he would sneak a few from the kitchen counter.
I placed all of them in a freezer bag and store them in the freezer until I’m ready to use them.