While I may not be the best tomato grower out there (though next summer – watch out, I’m coming for you), one thing I am definitely good at is cooking with tomatoes. Today I am going to talk about two EXTREMELY SIMPLE methods for preserving an excess harvest.
These are legitimately simple methods – I despise when internet recipes claim to be extremely simple and quick and end up… not. I recently saw a recipe that listed a 15 minute prep time, but one of the ingredients was pomegranate arils – I don’t know about you folks, but taking apart a pomegranate alone is a 15 minute task for me.
What I’m saying is I don’t have time to can tomatoes all day. You don’t have time to can tomatoes all day. But if you have 15 minutes and a bunch of tomatoes that you don’t know what to do with, read on.
This is my favourite thing to do with an excess of cherry tomatoes, though it will work well with any low-moisture (i.e. paste) tomatoes.
Rinse the tomatoes in a colander. Put them on a sheet pan. Toss with a couple splashes of oil and a few shakes of salt. Roast in the oven at 300 until they have dehydrated to the texture you like. This will take between 1-3 hours depending on the size and moisture content of the tomatoes you are using – set a timer and give them a check every half hour or so.
If you want to store them longer term, cover them in oil and refrigerate. If you plan to use them in the near term, they will keep in the fridge without extra oil for about 2 weeks. They also will freeze fairly well.
You can also add aromatics like garlic cloves or herbs to the roasting pan! A clove of roasted garlic stored with the finished tomatoes infuses them with a lot of flavour.
You can make this with any size or type of tomato!
Wash the tomatoes. If they have woody cores, remove them. Put them in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Freeze until you’d like to use it.
Note that this does not make tomato sauce, which is a cooked product – this will be fairly watery unless you drain or squeeze the flesh before pureeing. Another extra step you could add is blanching the tomatoes so you can remove the skins, or strain the puree after blending. I don’t do either of these – I have a high powered blender which pulverizes the skin and seeds and I am far too lazy to do more than necessary here. When you want to use the puree it will need some cooking down to remove the excess water and concentrate the flavour.
These have been my go-to preserving methods, along with homemade tomato paste, for several years, and they never fail to produce delicious results.