Do you find yourself with an over-abundance of tomatoes? Or perhaps you are tempted to clean out the stock of vine ripened heirlooms at your local market? Save your summer tomatoes to enjoy all winter long.
There are three main ways to preserve tomatoes (and other fruits and vegetables): canning, freezing and drying. Here is a little article in Grist that discusses the options and has a recipe for tomato sauce that you can make and freeze.
I think the easiest way to store tomatoes is to dry them. It is easy to do and they don’t take up nearly as much space as jars of tomatoes or bags of frozen sauce. You can store them for up to a month in the refrigerator or all year long in the freezer. Use dried tomatoes to add a depth of flavor to sauces, soups, stews and casseroles. Re-hydrate them with water or vegetable broth and use them for bruschetta, toss with pasta, or put them in salads. Bake them into bread with some kalamata olives for a treat. The possibilities are endless!
Here is how I dry my tomatoes, the recipe is from I’m Just Here for the Food, by Alton Brown.
20 ripe tomatoes, halved crosswise
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons mixed fresh herbs such as thyme, rosemary and sage, minced
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 170, or the lowest temperature setting on your oven.
Place the tomato halves close together, cut side up, on a shallow baking pan lined with a rack. Drizzle the tomatoes with oil, sprinkle the sugar, herbs, salt and pepper on.
Roast in oven for 10 or more hours. You can do this over night.
Teresa’s Tip – this works for any size tomato, but watch the time. Obviously tiny cherry tomatoes are going to take a lot less time than a big beefsteak. You want them to still have some chew to them when they are done. This method will also work with other fruits like summer squash and eggplants. (Yes, those are fruits.)
Please share your favorite way of storing summer’s bounty with everyone by leaving us a comment. It doesn’t have to be about just tomatoes either, all fruits and veggies are fair game!