5 Creative Ways to Use Tomatoes That You Never Knew

By Alex C

Senior Food Writer at Pro Home Cooks

As we all know, summer is tomato season and we are in full swing. All different kinds of tomatoes like cherry, heirloom, roma, san marzano, celebrity and even a few new hybrids are popping up in grocery stores, farmers markets, and even your home garden! Tomatoes are at their peak during the summer season. They are the sweetest, juiciest, and cheapest they will be all year so stock up and enjoy the best nature has to offer. 

Every year for the past few years I have been growing tomatoes in my garden and then all the tomatoes we grow so that my family and I will have fresh summer tomatoes all year round. This is a great way to use up and store a bunch of tomatoes but if canning isn't your thing here are five creative ways to use and store a pound and pound of tomatoes this summer. 


  1. Tomato Jam: 

Tomato jam is a delicious condiment to have in your fridge that goes well in either sweet or savory meals. Although you might think of ketchup, tomato jam has a different consistency and a way more concentrated flavor than ketchup does. It is also extremely customizable with what spices and other ingredients you want to add. I slow cooked 2 pounds of roma tomatoes with onions, garlic, cinnamon and cumin thickened into a jam-like consistency for 3 - 4 hours.

You can use a tomato you want but I prefer using roma tomatoes because they have good flavor, lower water content and less seeds, which is perfect when you are cooking out about 75% of the tomatoes' moisture. What you have left is a delicious spreadable condiment perfect for slathering on a warm crunchy baguette, served alongside artisanal cheeses, or as a glaze for grilled meats and veggies. 

  1. Sun Dried Tomatoes in Oil

I love homemade dried tomatoes because I can control how dry I want them to be. I like them to still have a bit of wetness in them but also be slightly chewy. Cherry tomatoes are my favorite to dry because they are already packed with flavor so when you dry them out they become even more concentrated. These little flavor powerhouses pack a delightful balance of sweetness and tanginess, making them an excellent addition to salads, pastas and sandwiches! My current favorite way of having them with tuna salad and crackers. 

  1. Tomato Powder

Speaking of packing a punch, tomato powder is an interesting and fun way to add tomato flavor to your dishes without the added moisture. I thinly sliced a bunch of tomatoes and dehydrated them for 24 hours at 150F. They became as hard as chips and I blended them into a powder in a blender. I kept my batch plain but you can add salt, smoked paprika or even cayenne pepper to really jazz it up to make your own spice blend. I loved sprinkling this over mac and cheese, adding it to mayo, dusting over my egg toasts, grilled meats, and sauces!  

  1. Lacto Fermented Salsa

I have been obsessed with fermenting things this past year so I had to make a fermented salsa. I learned when making fermented hot sauce that the spiciness of the pepper will be tamed when fermented and the overall flavor will be better harmonized with each other. I added plum tomatoes, onions, garlic, jalapenos, dominican oregano, and salt into a jar to ferment for 5 days. After 5 days, it started smelling amazing so into a blender it went with fresh cilantro and lime juice. Out came a delicious fermented mild & chunky salsa perfect for sharing with chips or topping off some tacos! 

  1. Tomato Sorbet 

If you love tomatoes then this recipe is for you. I cut up an orangish red heirloom tomato (orange tomatoes have a very low acidic level) and froze it overnight. The next morning I blended it with condensed milk and lemon juice and served it with some more condensed milk and a sprig of basil. Super refreshing, very tomato forward, and I loved the additional condensed milk over top. Perfect for all the tomato lovers out there but if i were to make another frozen tomato dessert I would go an ice cream route next time to lessen the tomato flavor. 

If you have too many tomatoes I hope you try one of these recipes out. Not only do they use tons of tomatoes, each one of the recipe is a great way to preserve tomatoes. Drying (tomato powder), oil preserving (dried tomatoes in oil), freezing (sorbet), fermenting (salsa), and canning (tomato jam). 

5 Creative Ways to Use Tomatoes That You Never Knew


Tomato Jam 


  • 2 tablespoons of oil

  • 1/2 of a small onion, chopped

  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped 

  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste

  • 1 teaspoon cumin 

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon 

  • 5 - 6 Roma Tomatoes

  • 2 teaspoons of salt

  • 1 tablespoon of sugar 

  • 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar

  • A sprig of basil

Tomato Sorbet 


  • 1 Orange heirloom tomato, washed & pat dry

  • ¼ cup of condensed milk 

  • 1/2 a lemon

  • Sprig of mint or basil (optional) 

Sun Dried Tomatoes


  • 1 pint of grape tomatoes  

  • 1/2 cup of olive oil

Tomato Powder


  • 3 - 4 Vine on tomatoes 

  • Salt, optional

Lacto Fermented Salsa 


  • 8-9 Plum tomatoes, washed

  • 2 tablespoons chopped onions

  • 3 cloves of Garlic 

  • 1 small Jalapeño 

  • ¼ teaspoon of salt  

  • Pinch of dried oregano 

  • 1 sprig fresh cilantro 

  • Juice of 1/2 a lime 


Tomato Jam 


  1. Wash and pat dry your tomatoes. Next, slice them in half lengthwise and remove as much of the seeds as you can. Chop them into small cubes and set aside. 

  2. To a medium sized pot on medium flame, add in the oil, chopped onion and chopped garlic. 

  3. Once softened, 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, cumin powder, and ground cinnamon. Cook for 1 minute. 

  4. Next, add in the chopped Roma tomatoes along with salt, sugar, apple cider vinegar, and a sprig of basil. 

  5. Cook on low heat for 3-4 hour or until the tomatoes have turn into a jammy consistency 

Tomato Sorbet 


  1. Dice your tomatoes into cubes and place in a single layer on a piece of parchment or wax paper. 

  2. Freeze for 4-6 hours or until completely frozen. 

  3. Place 2 cups of frozen tomato chunks in a blender along with the juice of 1/2 lemon and ¼ cup of condensed milk. Blend until you get a homogenous mixture. Use a blender stick to help blend everything without adding more liquid. 

  4. Scoop out into a bowl and top with more condensed milk and mint if wanted. Enjoy before it melts!

Sun Dried Tomatoes


  1. Wash and pat dry your grape tomatoes. Next, slice the tomatoes lengthwise and place them seed side up. 

  2. Dehydrate them in a dehydrator at 150 degrees for 6-8 hours. Alternatively, you can dehydrate them in the oven at 200 degrees for 3-4 hours. 

  3. Once they have dehydrated, store them in an airtight container filled with the oil of your choice!

Tomato Powder


  1. Wash and pat dry your tomatoes. Next, slice the tomatoes as thin as you can. Pat them dry and place them in the dehydrator. 

  2. Dehydrate them at 150 degrees for 20-24 hours. If using an oven, dehydrate them at 200 for 10-12 hours and prop open the oven door slightly using a wooden spoon. When the time is up, you want the tomato slices to be completely dry. 

  3. Place the dried tomato slices in a blender along with a pinch of salt if wanted. Blend until you get a powder. 

  4. Pour into an airtight container and store in a dry cool place. You may want to add a silica gel to absorb any moisture. If not, store in a cool and dry environment. 

Lacto Fermented Salsa


  1. Chop the plum tomatoes, onions, and garlic. Slice the jalapeno, remove the seeds and dice. Place everything into a mason jar with salt and oregano. 

  2. Shake until you start to see the juice of the tomatoes come out. 

  3. Place a fermentation weight on top and push down to make sure everything is submerged under the tomato juices. 

  4. Seal the jar and let it ferment for 4-5 days, burping it once a day everyday. 

  5. Once fermented, drain the brine and discard. Place everything into a blender along with fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice. Blend until your desired consistency. Adjust salt and acidic level if needed. 

  6. Pour into a bowl and enjoy with some corn chips or tacos! May be stored in a jar for 2 - 3 months.