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What to Do with Tomatoes after Harvest + Prep & Storing

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Growing tomato plants often leads to baskets of tomatoes to enjoy or share. If you’re wondering what to do with tomatoes after harvest, here’s a list of suggestions!

First, though, consider which types of tomatoes you’re growing. Some, like cherry tomatoes, work great for snacking and salads.

Others like beefsteak tomatoes are wonderful for slicing and sandwiches.

Meanwhile, paste tomatoes and plum tomatoes, like Roma tomatoes, are excellent made into sauce or delicious Italian dishes.

Big bowl of Roma tomatoes from my 2021 garden
Big bowl of Roma tomatoes harvested from my 2021 garden

Okay, now I’m getting hungry! There are so many ways to use tomatoes after harvest.

Let’s dig in.

What to Do with Harvested Tomatoes

After harvesting tomatoes, determine your intentions for the tomatoes. To put it plainly, decide how you will use the tomatoes:

  • Eat the tomatoes fresh.
  • Cook with the tomatoes.
  • Share them with friends and neighbors or coworkers.
  • Store tomatoes for near future use.
  • Freeze tomatoes for another day.

First of all, decide if you will use the tomatoes right away, store them, freeze them, or share them.

Once you have a basic gameplan, you can move on to more specifics as you decide what to do with harvested tomatoes.

Large batch of Roma paste tomatoes
Large batch of Roma paste tomatoes – what do you do with your tomato harvest?!

What to Do with Tomatoes after Picking

After picking tomatoes, bring them inside to your kitchen and prepare them for their fate.

Here are some steps on how to wash tomatoes after picking.

  1. Lay out a soft towel or clean drying mat on the countertop.
  2. Rinse each tomato under cool running water.
  3. Rub gently to remove dirt, dried leaves, or other debris.
  4. Gently blot with a clean paper towel if desired, or set directly on a clean towel or drying mat to drip dry.

Once dry, move the tomatoes to their next phase.

  • Eat any tomatoes for lunch or dinner as desired.
  • Leave tomatoes on the counter if you’ll enjoy them within a day or two.
  • Cut tomatoes for cooking immediately.
  • Bag up tomatoes to share with others.
  • Freeze tomatoes (or refrigerate) to use later.
Big, juicy red beefsteak tomatoes
Big, juicy red beefsteak tomatoes

What to Do with Cracked Tomatoes

If some of your harvest includes cracked tomatoes, you must first assess the cracks.

Identify whether the cracks in tomatoes are superficial or if they go deeper into the fruit.

For deep cracks, insects and bacteria could be a very real problem. In this case, you should probably compost the affected tomatoes or toss them in the trash.

For shallow or superficial concentric cracks, you can probably still make good use of part of the tomato. Use your best judgment to determine the fate of the cracked tomato. You can try cutting away the cracked part.

Final Thoughts: What to Do with Tomatoes after Harvest

Besides the basics of what to do with tomatoes after harvest, such as washing and storing them, try to think of some fun ways to use tomatoes.

Roma tomato harvest in a big, red bowl outside on the deck
Part of our 2021 Roma tomato harvest

10 Ways to Use Fresh Tomatoes

Here are a few ways to use homegrown tomatoes:

  • Pizza – Make homemade Margherita pizza with fresh tomatoes and fresh basil.
  • Sauce – Simmer some homemade sauce.
  • Salad – Create a delicious garden salad.
  • Dip – Make a yummy dip for chips.
  • Pasta Salad – Add tomatoes to pasta salad.
  • Pasta Dish – Cook up a fresh pasta featuring homegrown tomatoes.
  • Soup – Make homemade beef vegetable soup with diced fresh tomatoes.
  • Veggie Tray – Create a fresh veggie tray with cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes.
  • Bruschetta – Make a yummy bruschetta appetizer.
  • Tomato Basil Chicken – Cook up a yummy bruschetta chicken dish featuring fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, and balsamic.

Do you have any other ideas for what to do with tomatoes after harvest? Feel free to share them in the comments below – we love hearing from you!

Happy Gardening!

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