6 Genius Ways to Use Up Extra Tomatoes and Veggies

Is your garden too productive this year? Not sure what to do with all of those tomatoes? Make the most out of your abundance of produce.

What to Do With Extra Tomatoes and Veggies

Did you grow too many tomato plants and veggies again? Me too. But don’t start planning to sneak zucchini onto your neighbor’s front porch just yet. Birds & Blooms readers shared their best ideas for what to do with extra tomatoes and surplus produce.

1. Prep and Freeze Extra Tomatoes

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Fresh basil and heirloom tomatoes 

When I’m lucky enough to have extra tomatoes, I roast them with garlic and olive oil and freeze them in two-cup portions,” says Kathy Eppers of Aledo, Texas. “It’s the perfect base for a pasta sauce.”

Stop making these 12 mistakes with your tomato garden.

2. Give Extra Produce to Farm Animals

Strawberries...picture alliance/Getty Images
Strawberries for sale at a market

Megan McCloud of Woodbine, Maryland has a clever suggestion: “We give leftover corn and strawberries to our chickens and goats.”

Psst–here’s what birds can eat from the kitchen.

3. Set Up a Veggie Swap

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Clusters of cherry tomatoes

Set up a little free library for vegetables! “My home-based business lets me share with clients,” says Lorraine Schmit of Mass City, Michigan. “They swap their harvest with me, too.”

Learn how to save tomato and veggie seeds from your harvest.

4. Make Friends With the Neighbors

Shawnda Hurley of Kelso, Washington and her husband, Roy, came up with a genius way to give away fresh veggies—while also being great neighbors! “Roy loads them up in his tractor and drives around the neighborhood to give them away,” Shawnda says. “Who needs an ice cream man when you have a fresh veggie man?”

Psst—learn how to store vegetables so they stay fresh longer.

5. Offer Extra Veggies to Backyard Wildlife

Rabbit looking at flowersCourtesy Darrell Albee
Rabbit in the flower garden

Mike Froio of Rome, New York thinks about backyard critters who might like to stop by for a bite. “I leave out leftover sliced carrots for the chipmunks, deer and rabbits in my backyard,” he says.

From carrots to cucumbers, here’s your guide to veggie-harvest times.

6. Share the Bounty With Your Community

Portrait of mature woman with baskets of harvested vegetables and man working in the background. Horizontal shot.stevecoleimages/Getty Images
Woman and man harvesting vegetables

Carol Brisky of Canby, Oregon says: “My husband and I live in a senior community where we have a raised-bed garden. We put our extra veggies in a decorative box for residents who are unable to grow their own.

Next, learn the right way to ripen green tomatoes.

Molly Jasinski
Molly Jasinski is an editor, writer and social media manager for Birds & Blooms. She’s been with the magazine since 2019 and with Trusted Media Brands since 2012. She brings more than 10 years of editorial experience to Birds & Blooms and has a bachelor’s degree in print journalism. In her role, Molly works closely with bird experts Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman and gardening expert Melinda Myers, in addition to the Birds & Blooms freelance writers. Molly was featured in a May 2023 episode of The Thing With Feathers birdwatching podcast. She's a member of the nonprofit Friends of Wehr Nature Center in Franklin, Wisconsin, a popular location for birdwatching in southeastern Wisconsin. She goes out birding often and is still hoping to spot a tufted titmouse in the near future.