I acquired seeds of the Galapagos tomato (Solanum cheesmaniae) in a trade last winter because I thought it sounded interesting. Not only did the marble-sized yellow fruits prove to be attractive, but sweet and multitudinous.
A bit gangly, my un-staked plant eventually fell flat on its face under the weight of all that Galapagos gold. I also have an unidentified red cherry tomato, on which the fruits are larger but not as abundant. Although their foliage is getting a bit brown around the edges now in September, the plants still are churning out fruits.
Like many other guys, my father isn’t fond of leafy salads. That eliminated one of the most obvious uses for the tomatoes since—as the title here implies—almost any salad would look prettier with a few cherry tomatoes on top. However, Dad does like sliced cucumbers in sour cream dressing. So, I took advantage of that fact to toss a few little yellow tomatoes into those “non salads,” about which he didn’t complain.
Freezing Cherry Tomatoes
When I had to come up with uses for the rest of the tomatoes, I found out that I could freeze some. I simply washed them, spread them out on a cookie sheet to dry and then placed that sheet in the freezer overnight. (I’d recommend that you lay paper towels under the tomatoes during the drying phase, since the parchment paper I used left some water beneath the fruits which froze into ice.) Although I avoided using cracked tomatoes, a few did crack from the cold.
When frozen solid, the fruits actually felt like marbles and could easily be stashed in a bag and returned to the freezer, from which I intend to take only as many as I need at a time. They will, of course, be mushy after thawing, but should work well for recipes that just require small amounts of tomatoes.
Fermenting Cherry Tomatoes
Dad also is fond of what he calls “pickled tomatoes” that his mother made when he was young. However, I suspect they actually should be described as “brined” or “fermented” instead, since his version includes only salt and water—no vinegar or spices.
Although I never was impressed with the flavor of fizzy brined tomatoes myself, it probably being what is called an acquired taste, one of Dad's sisters was as fond of them as he is. You can find recipes online, most of which call for 2 to 3 tablespoons of salt per quart of water. (Many of them also include the herbs and spices which Dad’s mother apparently skipped.) It occurred to me a bit too late that I probably should have used the pickling (non-iodized) type of salt for less sediment.
Roasting Cherry Tomatoes
And, if you still have more cherry tomatoes left, try roasting them. The recipe I used instructed that I cut the fruits in half before tossing them in a mix of olive oil and Italian seasoning. Then I spread them atop a cookie sheet covered with the aforementioned parchment paper and baked them at 300 degrees for one hour. (I use a lot of parchment paper, since my non-stick bakeware isn’t so non-stick anymore.)
The recipe worked well for the largest red cherry tomatoes. A few of the yellow sort dried up too much, so I’d advise going with 45 minutes instead of an hour for the smaller ones. But the flavor was fantastic, since the roasting removed some of their moisture, leaving more of their sweetness.
Finally, if you are feeling thirsty when out in the garden, you always can snack on a few cherry tomatoes. Their high levels of water and potassium should make them ideal for helping prevent dehydration. But, of course, most of us just eat them because they taste so good!
Photos: The banner photo is a stock image. The other photos are my own.
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