a glut of tomatoes

glut of tomatoes in trug


Every summer, we get overwhelmed with a glut of tomatoes. The pattern is the same each year, starting with meagre pickings in the first few days, then just enough, a few too many and then so many that almost every meal contains tomatoes with still some to spare, at which time I start preserving them so we can eat them through the year.


Here are a few ideas for dealing with a glut of tomatoes.


Tomato Salad


The first tomatoes of the summer are picked and eaten still warm from the vine breathing in the smell of heat and tomatoes in the greenhouse. Those that make it into the house become the stars of the meal; a plate of sliced tomatoes dotted with mozzarella and basil leaves with oil drizzled over and a chunk of good bread to mop up the juices is all I need for lunch on a sunny day.


Six or so tomatoes (skinned and chopped) mixed with a few torn basil leaves, three tablespoons of rapeseed or olive oil and a good seasoning of salt and pepper make a change from sliced tomatoes. It’s also a good sauce to stir into hot pasta.


Tomato Sandwiches

My favourite sandwich is made with white bread and sliced tomatoes, all firmly pressed down so that the tomato juice soaks into the bread. A nostalgic reminder of school trips when sandwiches were wrapped in tin foil and stuffed into a bag where they’d end up in a squashed mess underneath the detritus of the day.


oven dried tomatoes

Oven Dried Tomatoes

Take 1kg of tomatoes, cut them in half horizontally and lay them cut side up in the bottom of a baking dish. Drizzle with two tablespoons of olive oil, season with salt and pepper and cook for about an hour until they’re soft, but not collapsed.

When they’ve cooled a bit, scrape them (with all the juices) into containers. I freeze small amounts to stir into stews or make into a quick sauce to spread onto a pizza base. Oven dried tomatoes also make a delicious tomato soup.

lino printed labels


I follow The Shady Baker’s instructions for making passata. Sometimes I bottle passata but although it’s immensely satisfying to line up the jars on the shelf, (especially with matching labels like the one above) I’m not a confident bottler and worry that I may poison everybody, so usually end up freezing it instead.

Tomato Ketchup

I make tomato ketchup using the recipe from Food for Keeps by Pamela Westland. My children mock me. Who, they ask, would ever bother to make tomato ketchup? They tell me it doesn’t taste as good as Heinz. I tell them it tastes different. I only make tomato ketchup when we have a monumental glut of tomatoes.

Sweet Tomato Chutney

I used to make pots and pots of chutney but have scaled back, to make just a few jars of different kinds.

This is one of my favourites and we use it to liven up a cheese sandwich or cheese on toast.
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 pieces stem ginger
  • 500 ml vinegar
  • 1.5 kg tomatoes
  • 450 g granulated sugar
  • 1.5 teasp salt
  1. Finely chop the garlic and ginger, roughly chop the tomatoes and put everything into a preserving pan.
  2. Bring to the boil and then simmer uncovered for about two hours until the chutney has thickened.
  3. Pot as normal.
Recipe Notes

If I'm growing chillies too then I add one or two finely chopped for a little heat

Green Tomato Mincemeat

This mincemeat uses the last of the tomatoes, the ones that you know will never ripen and tastes much better than it sounds. Store it in a cool place and bring it out at Christmas time to make your mince pies. Honestly, you wouldn’t know that it was made with green tomatoes.

green tomato mincemeat recipe

Do you have a glut of tomatoes? Share your ideas for using them. Please.

A glut of tomatoes in trug


0 thoughts on “a glut of tomatoes

  1. Tomatoes are amazing aren’t they Anne. We are right at the start of our tomato season…I am currently sowing seed as well as planting out some seedlings. Your bread looks delicious too, is that a sourdough or yeasted? Your sweet tomato chutney sounds like a great recipe, something for me to save for the summer glut!

  2. I have never been able to grow tomatoes successfully. But those recipes sound delicious, so I might give it a try again next year.

  3. I think this is the first year that I won’t have a glut of tomatoes but each one that is picked is so enjoyed. I’ll try your green tomato mincemeat recipe as I know all my tomatoes won’t be ripe by the end of September when frosts are a probability.

  4. Oh Anne, I understand your dilemma. I still shudder to think of how many tomatoes I had last summer. We still have about 50 jars of preserved tomatoes, along with the bottles of tomato sauce and jars of salsa and chutney. I have used all the frozen roasted tomatoes though …. they came in very handy. This year I am only growing two plants not 16 like last year 😀 BTW I like the sound of that tomato chutney recipe I will keep it in mind this summer.

  5. I wish I had a tomato glut now I’ve read all your lovely ideas for dealing with one! Having had a rubbish year of tomato growing last year I’ve only got a few plants this year, just enough to eat fresh each day. Maybe I’ll have to visit the local farmshop so I can try your ideas.

  6. Your tomato recipes look fabulous! My favourite is the green tomato mincemeat because I love the way you’ve written and drawn it! My preferred sandwich is also a tomato one and likewise I’m fussy about it – bread must be homemade wholemeal or granary (not white), butter must be unsalted and cold from the fridge, tomatoes must be ripe and room temperature and not chilled and must be sprinkled with salt and pepper, the addition of a few fresh basil leaves nice but optional! I eat these all summer long and never get tired of them! My tomatoes haven’t got anywhere near glut levels yet. I shall go and talk to them and see if I can egg them on! Enjoy all your tomato-cooking and eating including the ketchup! E x

  7. Ahhhh! I love your recipe drawing. Ah-mazing! I can’t wait until I have enough space to plant a bunch of heirloom tomatoes and end up with a glut!!

  8. Anne, what a lovely drawing of your green tomato chutney recipe. I was in England this past spring and thought about you on open farm day but I was in Dorset so not really in striking distance of you. I visited a very nice free range pig farm instead. I am loving the view from your kitchen and am glad you are having a fantasic summer weather wise. Cheers Sally

      1. Such a great word – Cavalier – showing a lack of proper concern; offhand.
        I think this is a great way to be about recipes, especially when one has been cooking a while. No need to feel (recipe) boxed in. 🙂

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