Maybe, like me, you’ve seen something like this at your farmer’s market lately: crates of plump and glistening red, perfectly ripe, tomatoes. And let’s say that, like me, you don’t want to take the time to can them. But to turn and walk away? Just leave them there? It’s out of the question. Because soon, the farmer’s market will close for the season and tomatoes will be of the too firm, phony red, flavorless, grocery store variety.
If this resonates with you, then I have very good news.
You can slow roast pounds of these beauties – at least 10 pounds at once – pack them in jars, stack them in the freezer, and resurrect the flavor of summer whenever you like, all winter long.
The tomatoes will keep for about five days in the refrigerator. They can also be frozen for up to six months.
And there’s more. When you slow roast tomatoes, their flavor deepens and intensifies. Imagine the flavor of an oil packed, sun-dried tomato in the form of a tender, cooked tomato.
The process couldn’t be simpler:
You’ll cut the tomatoes in half and arrange on baking sheets. Drizzle with oil, season, and then pop them in the oven.
In three hours, you’ll have this:
Then you’ll fill up your jars and freeze them. Maybe you’ll even share. And this winter your soups, stews, pastas, toasts, and risottos will whisper of summer.
Tip: Save out 2 cups and make this!
- 10 pounds small plum tomatoes, stems removed
- olive oil for drizzling, about 1 cup
- fresh thyme leaves or minced rosemary, ½ cup or more (optional)
- fine sea salt, to taste
- Preheat oven to 225°F
- Arrange 3 oven racks to the top, middle and bottom positions of your oven.
- Line 3 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Rinse tomatoes and cut them in half crosswise (equator, instead of top to bottom) and arrange, cut side up, on prepared baking sheets.
- Drizzle tomatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with fresh herbs. Sprinkle with salt to taste (I recommend a light sprinkle as the flavor will intensify).
- Roast for 3 hours, until tomatoes are soft and shriveled. Rotate the sheets among the racks every 45 minutes or so, to cook the tomatoes evenly.
- Cool tomatoes until they’re comfortable to handle. Then fill your clean, lidded jars almost to the top and freeze.