Make passata, soups, garlic-rubbed bread, or this delicious marinate to keep tomatoes usable long after they’ve gone soft.

In the UK, we throw away around 1.2 million whole tomatoes per day, despite the fact that other culinary cultures have demonstrated that they are easy to preserve. Turn a summer surplus into passata to savor in the winter or facto-ferment them into wild flavor bombs that lend tangy taste and depth to anything from tomato soup to panzanella.

If a tomato is too soft to eat raw, use it in cooking or make pan con tomato: grate one medium tomato per person, place the meat in a dish, and toss in the finely chopped peel (do not discard it), and season with salt. Transfer to a non-metallic strainer and strain for 15 minutes over a bowl. Toss the tomato pulp onto garlic-rubbed bread with olive oil sprinkled on top. Don’t throw away the remaining tomato water, it’s delicious on its own, or uses it to make an umami-rich tomato martini: simply combine the tomato water with equal parts vodka, shake over ice, and filter.


A ripe tomato is a wonderful thing, full of flavor, and you can preserve that goodness by making these. Facto-fermented tomatoes were originally introduced to me by my friend Olia Hercules, a fantastic culinary writer and author of three excellent books, the most recent of which is Summer Kitchens. She calls them champagne tomatoes because they have a lovely fizz to them and explode in your jaw like a supernova of aroma if you eat one whole.

This recipe uses a 4 percent brine solution, which implies that sea salt makes up around 4% of the total weight of the water. Because tomatoes are highly fluid, they absorb the salt, resulting in a decreased instructional effectiveness. This is a little higher-than-normal concentration. Because tomatoes are sweet, they are more likely to produce yeast during fermentation, which the salt prevents. Stir a couple of times a day to prevent yeast from growing on the surface, then keep in the fridge until you’re satisfied with the flavor.

20g sea salt 500ml water Tomatoes, cleaned

Basil, dill, fennel, bay, and celery leaves are all options for aromatic compounds.

Fill a suitable jar halfway with tomatoes, leaving a 3cm space at the top. Optional fragrant herbs and spices should be used sparingly.

Stir the sea salt into the water until it dissolves to get a 4 percent brine solution. Cover loosely with a lid or cheesecloth and pour this over the tomatoes until they are completely submerged (if necessary, prepare additional brine to cover). Keep for at least four days in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. When bubbles form, taste the tomatoes to make sure they’re to your liking. If they’re, leave them at room temperature to continue fermenting, or seal them and put them in the fridge to stop the process.


  • Preheat the oven to 100 degrees Celsius and line two big baking pans with two large cooling racks.
  • The tomatoes should be washed and cut into half or quarters; the smaller the size, the faster they will dry.
  • Place the sliced tomatoes on the cooling racks, season liberally with salt and freshly cracked black pepper, and top with thyme leaves.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and bake the tray for three hours. The amount of time it takes to dry the tomatoes depends on how much you’re drying and how you’ve sliced them. To begin, I set a timer for two hours, then checked them and increased the drying time to meet my demands.
  • I’d like them to be dry but not entirely shriveled, as well as juicy and moist, in order to preserve them.
  • Remove the dish from the oven after the tomatoes are semi-dried. Sterilize the jars you’ll be storing them in.
  • Place the heated tomatoes into the sterilized jars and top with oil while wearing clean rubber gloves. Keep the bottles refrigerated. I use olive oil, and once the tomatoes are eaten up, you’ll have tomato infused oil, which is great for pasta recipes and salad dressings.


  • Wash and cut the tomatoes in half.
  • Crush the garlic cloves and cube the peeled onions coarsely.
  • Sauté the onion, smashed garlic, bay leaves, and spices in a large pot with the oil until golden brown.
  • Cook for 3 minutes with the tomato puree and sugar before adding the prepared tomatoes and water.
  • Bring the tomatoes to a boil, then lower to a low heat and cook for 20 minutes.
  • Place a food mill over a clean saucepan and run the tomato sauce through it, discarding the skins as you go. Return the sauce to a boil.
  • Divide the fresh herb sprigs among the jars, then pour the sauce into sterilized glass jars or bottles, seal, and set aside to chill.


 This is one of the most important processes in effective canning, and you should never skimp on it. If you don’t do it correctly, your preserved foods may grow moldy and ferment sooner than intended. Preheat the oven to 100 degrees Celsius. Do not dry the jars with a tea towel after washing them in hot soapy water. Place the moist jars and lids on a clean baking pan, being careful not to contact the insides of the jars and lids. Preheat the oven to 400°F and bake them for around 40 minutes. Before scooping in the cooked food, let the jars to cool somewhat.

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About the Author: Lisa O Carroll

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