Monday, August 24, 2015

A Bushel and a Peck: Roasted Plum Tomatoes

Towards the end of the growing season, many farm stores will sell the final harvests of their crops in bulk at excellent prices, particularly those things that can be preserved easily by canning or freezing. This is a great way to have local produce on hand during the colder months, without ever having to leave your home. Freezing is the simplest method, and tomato products do wonderfully well this way. With very little time and effort, you can have roasted plum tomatoes ready and waiting for soups, stews and sauces.

Roasted Plum Tomatoes

Roasted Plum Tomatoes

You will need:
plum tomatoes
sea salt
bay leaves

Line a baking sheet (or two, if needed) with parchment paper (I line mine with foil first for easier cleanup). Sprinkle lightly all over with salt, and lay about six bay leaves around evenly. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Core and slice tomatoes in half lengthwise, laying them cut-side down in a single layer on baking sheet(s). Roast in the oven for about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on size. The skins should be completely shriveled and juices bubbling all around the tomatoes. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature, about one hour. Gently remove skins from flesh (most will slip off easily). Pack into freezer containers, pressing out any air bubbles and leaving about an inch of space at the top to allow for expansion during freezing. Defrost before using.

Notes: I found that about 7-8 lbs. of plum tomatoes fit on two large baking sheets, and yielded about 8 cups of roasted tomatoes. I used bay leaves to provide a neutral flavor base, but certainly other herbs or aromatics could be included in the roasting process.

What are your favorite foods to preserve, and what method(s) do you use? How do you like to use them throughout the year?


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