Wednesday, August 31, 2011

More than half baked

After all my complaining about the tomatoes being so slow to ripen this year,  it's finally happening.  Oh boy,  is it !  I think even the chickens are starting to be a little weary of tomatoes.  ( The chickens love-love-love tomatoes.  They get all the ones that are a little too far gone and when they see me bringing tomatoes to them,  they practically jump up and take them out of my hands ! )

Usually,  my standard method of preserving tomatoes is to give them a wash and put them in freezer bags.  That's pretty much it.  Sometimes,  if I'm feeling a little more energetic,  I'll blanch them and peel off the skins first.  I use them all winter in soups,  stews and sauces and it works just fine.  When I was at Juniper Moon Farm for Culinary Camp,  a few weeks back,  I learned another way to save some of that summer flavor.  Slow roasting is now my favorite method of "putting by" some of the tomato crop and adds a little variety to the ways of using them during the winter.  It is super easy and there's very little preparation involved.  Here's how Susan told us to do it - preheat the oven to 200 degrees and slice tomatoes in half, top to bottom.  Place on a foil lined sheet pan,  cut side up,  drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle on some salt and pepper and you can add herbs,  if you're feeling adventurous.  I used an Italian seasoning blend on this last batch.  Now stick the pan in the oven and walk away.....for hours.  Really !  The goal is to roast them until they collapse,  which for the Romas was about 5 hours.  Obviously,  a large meatier tomato is going to take longer.  When the tomatoes are done,  I let them cool down and then stick the whole pan in the freezer,  just long enough for the tomatoes to freeze solid.  Then,  I scoop them off the pan,  put them in freezer bags and mark the date on the bag.  That's it.  Simple - simple - simple.  Prepared this way,  they become sweet and intensely flavorful.  Besides my usual way of using preserved tomatoes,  I really like tossing these with some hot pasta and sprinkling with Parmesan cheese.  It makes for a super quick meal.

Back to those chickens,  I feel a little like the one with it's head cut off !  Besides dealing with a lot of gardening chores right now,  this is the third week that the painters have been here,  construction of the greenhouse is going on,  lambs are leaving the farm and we have a new Great Pyrenees that we are trying to acclimate to our farm.  ( more on that next time )  And,  wedding planning is kicking into high gear now, as we are almost 5 weeks away of the date !   I think I need a personal assistant to keep me focused and on task for the next month.  Any volunteers ?
 

4 comments:

  1. http://www.somerhillfarm.com/ sent me this post today, nearly as soon as you posted it! This does look like a scruptious way to prepare tomatoes. I think I'm going to try it with the last of mine.

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  2. that recipe for your tomatoes looks great! i'll be trying it. thank you!

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