Cherry tomatoes are like the Energizer Bunny of the tomato world. They start producing early, and just keep going – long after their larger siblings give up for the winter. But there are many ways to save and use late-season cherry tomatoes, before the frost finishes them off for another year!
- America’s favorite backyard garden plant is the tomato. And the easiest tomatoes to grow are cherry tomatoes.
- They mature quickly, so you can grow them even in a short season environment. They don’t take up much space so you can grow them in a pot on the deck or balcony.
- They come in all different shapes, sizes, and colors so you can grow a rainbow with just a few plants.
- They are prolific so you will almost always have enough for a salad or snacks.
- They are long lasting, so you will have ripe tomatoes in June, and still have ripe tomatoes in September or October – maybe even November if it’s a warm year.
They are also enticing. Each year I vow to plant fewer cherry tomato plants – yet it never happens. This year I planted at least one plant each of: small red cherry, black cherry, orange cherry, yellow cherry, medium green cherry, and a medium red cherry. Plus, I had a red grape cherry volunteer plant that had produced all season – smack dab in the middle of the blackberry patch. Let’s just say, I have had a lot of ripe cherry tomatoes over the past few months.
Winter is threatening early this year though – at least here in the Mid-Columbia region. So, I am busy harvesting, refusing to let Jack Frost have my late season tomatoes. Of course, a huge container of cherry tomatoes will only last so long – which means it’s time to get creative and either use or preserve them now! Just what can you do with an abundance of cherry tomatoes?
Roasted Cherry Tomatoes:
Sweet cherry tomatoes, right off the vine, are delicious. Keep that flavor, if not the crunch, all year long by roasting them. Layer washed cherry tomatoes on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil, salt, and herbs if desired, and bake at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes.
After they cool, I package them in freezer containers and freeze to use later on pasta or soup. Find the complete directions on my site: Roasted Cherry Tomatoes.
It may seem to be a lot of work – cutting cups of cherry tomatoes in half. But dehydrating cherry tomatoes is well worth the time. The drying process intensifies the sweet tomato flavor, and the end result is better than any dried tomato product you can purchase at the store.
Dry cherry tomatoes as much or little as you like; crispy or soft and chewy. Don’t forget that dehydrated tomatoes should be conditioned before storage. Find out how at: How to Dry Cherry Tomatoes.
Cherry Tomatoes in Oil
For many years, it was not considered safe to can tomatoes in oil at home. Luckily there is now an approved method. Bathing dehydrated cherry tomatoes in oil, is not only a wonderful way to preserve your harvest, it’s also fantastic hostess or holiday gift.
Find out how to safely preserve your late-season cherry tomatoes in my previous post: Make Your Own Dried Tomatoes in Oil.
Good luck with your own late-season cherry tomato harvest. Now I need to get busy preserving!
Renee Pottle is a freelance food writer and author. She writes about canning and cooking at SeedtoPantry.com and about food business issues at PenandProvisions.com.You can read all of her blog posts here.
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