Recipes for Last Minute Tomato Crops

In the last blog I was talking about how to pick a tomato politely. In this one I just want to share with you some of my favorite ways to cook up those softer tomatoes that start cropping up before the frost. Sometimes you end up with a batch of tomatoes that are a little soft, a little green or a little cracked. They might also have some blight spots but not enough to justify throwing the whole tomato out.    

         When this happens it is time to make 'lemonade' out of your lemons.  Here are some recipes that can help you save a tomato from an early throw in the compost heap. 


1/4 Cup olive oil

3 medium onions, chopped

4  garlic cloves,

minced24 whole tomatoes chopped finely (12 cups)

3 12 oz. cans tomato paste3

 Tablespoons brown sugar

1 Tablespoon dried oregano

4 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons dried basil

1 teaspoon dried black pepper 

Heat oil in large pan. Sauté onions and garlic until tender. Add rest of ingredients. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat. Simmer, partially covered, for 2 hours. Stir occasionally.

After it has simmered, cool completely and store in freezer bags or containers 


1 gallon green tomatoes (16 cups sliced)

1/4-cup salt

1/2 tablespoon powdered alum

3 cups vinegar (5% acidity)

1-cup water4 cups sugar

1 tablespoon mixed spices

1/2-teaspoon cinnamon2-tablespoon celery seed

1/2-teaspoon allspice

1 tablespoon mustard seed 

Slice tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and allow standing overnight.  The Next morning drain and pour 2 quarts of boiling water with 1/2 tablespoon of powdered alum over the tomatoes and let stand 20 minutes. Drain and cover with cold water, drain. Combine vinegar, water, sugar and spices (tie spices loosely in bag) and bring to a boil. Pour this over the tomatoes. Let stand in this solution another night.

Then drain and bring solution to boil and pour over tomatoes. Let stand overnight yet once again.  On the third morning bring the pickles and solution to a boil. Pack into sterilized jars to within 1/2 inch of top. Put on cap, screw band firmly tight. Process in boiling water bath 10 minutes.  Yield: 8 pints. 


1 peck (12 1/2 pounds) ripe tomatoes

2 medium onions

1/4-teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 cups cider vinegar1 1

/2 tablespoons broken stick cinnamon

1-tablespoon whole cloves3 cloves garlic (finely chopped)

1-tablespoon paprika

1-cup sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons salt 

sh and slice tomatoes and boil until soft. Into another pot slice the onions. Cover with a small quantity of water and cook until tender. Run the cooked onions and tomatoes through a sieve. Mix the onion and tomato pulp. Add the cayenne pepper. Boil this mixture rapidly until it has been reduced to about 1/2 original volume. Place vinegar in an enamel pan; add a spice bag containing the cinnamon, cloves and garlic. Allow this to simmer for about 30 minutes, then bring to boil. Place cover on pan and remove from heat.  

When tomato mixture has cooked down to half of its original volume, add mixture, of which there should be 1 and 1/4 cups. Add the paprika, sugar and salt and boil rapidly until thick. This takes about 10 minutes. Pour while boiling into sterilized jars to within 1/2 inch of top. Put on cap, screw band firmly tight. Process in Boiling Water Bath 5 minutes.