I love it when an old friend shows me a new trick or reveals a secret. The friend? Tomatoes. The secret? Deep tomato deliciousness is extracted from roasting tomatoes at a low temp for hours.
Low and Slow.
Today I roasted tomatoes for canning (as sauce), stewing and canning whole.
The beauties on the right will be stewed tomatoes.
This week's haul of 40 pounds of Romas came home from the Farmers Market yesterday. I started the weekend of tomatoes with vegetable juice -- for my sweetie/husband Cee Lee.
I also wanted plain strained tomatoes. Usually I would cut the toms into quarters and cook them on the stove for a few hours.
I was reading an e-newsletter put out by Anthony Boutard of Ayres Creek Farm. He suggested slow roasting the tomatoes. He recommended heaping them in a shallow baking dish, nicking the skins with a knife and sprinkling with a little salt. They baked in a cool oven (200-225 degrees) for five hours. I cooled them completely (by accident -- I was too tired to finish the project) and re heated them in the morning. Wow, they were spectacular.
The end product of roasting was a gorgeous sauce. As I was grinding it through the food mill, I thought about the toms I most often buy. Whole peeled -- which bear an uncanny resemblance to the tomatoes I was processing (in a vintage Foley food mill) for sauce.
So I made whole peeled tomatoes by peeling about two-thirds of all the roasted tomatoes and grinding the other third into juice.
I put about five or six tomatoes in each pint jar. Topped the jar (to the neck) with tomato sauce and sealed the jars. I'm so pleased with the end product.
My last fun project was making stewed tomatoes for my BFF Milo -- stewed tomatoes. Blech! Stewed tomatoes remind me of bad institutional meals created for folk with no teeth. Nope. I don't like stewed tomatoes.
But my fondness for Milo overwhelmed my disgust and I decided to put all my skill and love to bear and make spectacular stewed toms.
So I pierced the tomato skins and roasted them with onion, garlic, OO, salt, thyme and rosemary. They cooked for four hours at 225 degrees.
I cooled and peeled the tomatoes, and trimmed the woody stem end. I packed them in their own juice, adding slivers of the well-cooked onion to each jar. Topped them with my own tomato juice and sealed them up.
Crazy tomato lady!
Eat well and love big!