One area that I chose to work on in the garden yesterday was my tomato patch. We have been harvesting tomatoes for a couple of weeks now and have been enjoying them for lunch and supper almost every day. We use them for sandwiches, cut them into salads, but mostly we simply slice and sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper and eat as a side dish with whatever we are having for supper; nothing much compares to the taste of a freshly picked, still warm from the sun, garden tomato. Up until now we could keep up with them by simply picking and eating, but now they are ripening so fast that it is time to start preserving. My vines are all brown and dead, having succumbed to a late-hitting blight, but the plants were able to produce quite a bit of fruit, and the tomatoes are ripening quite nicely. I did pick a bowl full of rotten ones that had been pecked at by our rogue Guinea hen that kept sneaking in the garden before we clipped her wings (the chickens were quite happy about that bowl full), but I harvested a nice basketful for preserving.
I've always canned our tomatoes, but this year I decided to try something a bit different. I roasted them. It was quite simple; it filled our house with the most tantalizing aroma, and the result was delicious! I will definitely be doing this again, maybe even replacing my usual method for making spaghetti sauce with my new roasted tomato sauce.
It was so simple; I wanted to share with you how I did it.
After washing the tomatoes, I cut them into chunks and spread them onto pans, lightly covered with oil. I sprinkled them with salt, pepper, chopped garlic, basil, and fresh oregano. You could use as much or as little as you want and add any herb that you like. I think next time I may try adding a bit of onion and even some green peppers. I then roasted them for about 2 hours at 300 degrees. Oh, you won't believe how delicious your kitchen will smell while those delightful tomatoes are roasting! After they were finished roasting, I let them cool, put them through my food processor to break up the chunks, and poured the sauce into freezer bags...that's it! It really was so simple, and the flavor....oh, the flavor...so much better, in my opinion, than the traditional spaghetti sauce that I usually make and can. Roasting the tomato brings such a smoky sweetness to the sauce and will be quite comforting on a blustery, cold night this winter. I'm looking forward to putting many more bags of roasted tomato sauce in our freezer.