What do you do with all those delicious tomatoes you worked so hard to produce?  How about our quick tomato salad and canning some salsa along with some other recipes using fresh tomatoes?

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More and More Tomatoes

In our gardening post called How to Increase Tomato Yield Per Plant  we talked about the things that we do to get more tomatoes out of our fifty plants every year.  With all those tomato plants working so hard to produce all those tomatoes, we have a lot of tomatoes coming into the house everyday.  What do we do with all of them?

We eat them!  Eating fresh tomatoes is a summertime pleasure.  Winter tomatoes just don’t taste the same no matter where you get them.  We love slices tomatoes and cherry tomato snacks too. Here are our favorite recipes using fresh tomatoes.

Fresh Tomato Pizza

We peel fresh tomatoes and use them in cooking and baking.  One of our summer traditions is homemade pizza.  On the parbaked crust we put olive oil and minced garlic. Next comes chopped fresh sage and parsley.

Tomatoes are peeled by placing them in boiling water for a minute or two until the skin pops. Lift them out of the water with a slotted spoon and cool until you can touch them. The skin peels right off. Then we layer peeled, sliced, fresh tomatoes, onion slices, bacon or ham.  The pizza is then topped with mozzarella and parmesan cheeses to your hearts content and baked until the cheese is bubbly.  MMMMM.

Quick Tomato Salad

Fresh Tomato Salad

Fresh Tomato Salad is quick and just as easy to make for one person as it is for several people.  This salad works just as well with small tomatoes as with large ones.  I have to confess, I eat this salad almost everyday that I have fresh tomatoes.


  • 4 cups fresh tomatoes cut in bite sized chunks
  • 1/2 can black olives sliced
  • 3 ounces feta cheese
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil snipped in tiny pieces
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper


  • Combine the tomatoes, olives, cheese and basil in a serving bowl.  Drizzle the olive oil over the salad and toss lightly to coat.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Wasn’t that easy?  We take this salad to picnics and potlucks all summer long.  The compliments just roll in.  It is one of those dishes that make you look like you spent all day on it but it doesn’t take you all day.  I love those!

Canning Salsa

As you can see in the Montana Bowl of Cherries blog post What is Needed for Canning we preserve a lot of what we grow.  Fresh salsa is fantastic but we also want to enjoy it in January after shoveling and plowing snow all afternoon.

Many years ago when Cameron was in the Navy, we got together with some friends and neighbors to make salsa.  We lived in an apartment complex with many other military families from all branches of service as well as local folks.   Some of us had planters on our patios and someone had jalapeno peppers in their planting box.  It overproduced and that was all it took.

Some of us had canned before.  Others of us grew up in big cities in apartments and had never had the opportunity.  We went to a pick-your-own-produce garden for all the rest of the vegies and split the cost of everything.  It was a long two days but at the end of it we had some salsa for all of us.  We all had a new recipe, some of us learned several new skills, and we all had a great time.

Canned Salsa

Preserve your overabundance of tomatoes and peppers in the form of Salsa that you made and canned yourself.  It’s not as difficult as you think.


  • 8 quarts tomatoes peeled
  • 5 red or green peppers chopped
  • 3 cups onions peeled and chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic peeled and chopped
  • 3-7 jalapenos chopped
  • 1/2 cup sugar granulated
  • 1/2 cup pickling salt
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar


  • Put all ingredients into a large pot.  The amount of jalapeno depends on personal preference and the heat of the jalapenos.  
    Boil all ingredients together until the salsa gets as thick as you would like it.  The time depends on the variety of tomatoes used (some have more water in them than others) and whether the recipe was halved or doubled, but in any case it takes more than an hour.  
    When it is right, prepare the canning jars and lids.  Process in a boiling water bath or steam canner for 20 minutes.  Because there are not as many preservatives in this salsa as in the jars that you buy at the grocery store, this salsa only keeps for about a week in the fridge after the jar is opened.

Nowadays, we make several different versions of this recipe.  Some versions are hotter than others.  One version has rough chopped vegies and the other has pureed vegies in it.  Then we label the lids so we know what to expect when we open the jar.

Other Ways to Use Fresh Tomatoes

We plant around 50 tomato plants every year. Feasting on tomatoes is what we look forward to. We also make spaghetti sauce and freeze it, cook peeled tomatoes down to make our own tomato sauce, and dehydrate for our own sun-dried tomatoes.

What do you do with all your tomatoes?


Rhonda Brown lives in rural eastern Montana, surrounded by her family, chickens, gardens and dog. When she isn't writing or weeding, she loves spending time with her family, baking, and all things CHOCOLATE.


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