By Fredrica Syren:
I love this time of the year when our homestead is exploding with ripe vegetables and fruits. My tomato plants are producing like never before, and on top of that, I also received tomatoes from a neighbor who does not know what do with her huge tomato harvest. Not only do I have an enormous stack of recipes featuring tomatoes, but over the years I have become quite crafty with preserving tomatoes, so I can have that summer taste all year long.
First, if you’re in a pinch and simply do not have time to eat/preserve your tomato harvest, you can save them by simply placing your super ripe tomatoes individually in the freezer until they are hard, then put them into a freezer bag or container. They will make a great sauce later in the year. All you have do is place a thawed tomato or two into a blender.
I like canning all these wonderful tomatoes so I always have access to tomatoes for sauces and stews. Here is a super easy recipe from Martha Stewart I use.
When traveling around Italy with my husband before we had kids, I fell in love with bruschetta, which is so simple: just bread and tomatoes. Well, here is a fun spin on a spicy tomato bruschetta with jalapenos because I also have a jalapeno bush that is going crazy producing.
- 1/2 jalapeño
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 1 large basil leaf, minced
- 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1 baguette
- Grated cheese
Preheat oven to F400.
Roast the jalapeño pepper over open flame until skin is black and blistered. Place in a plastic bag for a few minutes and then remove skin. Mince pepper and remove seeds. In a bowl, blend peppers, tomatoes, basil olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Let the mixture rest for 5-10 minutes to develop flavors. Slice bread and place a good amount of mix on top. Sprinkle on some cheese and bake for 5 minutes in the oven.
Fire Roasted Canned Tomatoes: I used to buy canned fire roasted tomatoes, but found that making my own is super easy and eliminates waste.
- Fresh tomatoes on the vine, cut in half
- Olive oil
- Basil, chopped (Optional)
- Garlic, diced (optional)
Preheat oven to F250
Place tomatoes, cut side down on parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Coat them with oil and sprinkle salt over. Bake for 1 1/2 hours. Let the tomatoes cool before handling them. Remove the skins, dice them, and add salt and basil (or garlic if you choose), and blend well. Make sure the tomatoes are completely cooled before pouring into jars and freezing them.
- 3 cups heirloom tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped (Add that tomato water, too, it’s full of flavor!)
- 1 cup coarsely chopped jalapeno or other hot pepper (remove seeds and pith)
- 1 onion, coarsely chopped
- 6 cloves garlic
- ½ cup fresh oregano (thyme works well, too)
- 4 – 5 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ cup lime juice
- Place the tomatoes and tomato water into a blender. Pulse on low for a rough chop. Remove to a large bowl.
- Place remaining ingredients in blender and pulse on high for a finer chop. Add mixture to tomatoes and stir to combine.
- Ladle salsa into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch head space. Adjust 2-piece caps. Process for 15-20 minutes in simmering water.
Got big tomatoes with blemishes? Are they getting overripe and mealy? Perfect! Time to make grated tomato sauce. It’s simple and quick, and all you need is a box grater. And it freezes brilliantly in gallon Ziploc bags.
Making sun-dried tomatoes can be achieved simply by slicing tomatoes in half and arranging them on a raised screen. Lightly sprinkle with salt and optional herbs. Cover with a raised cheesecloth so it does not touch the tomatoes, and place in the sun until dry. Be sure to bring them in at night. This could take anywhere from 4 days to two weeks, depending on your weather conditions. If you have a dehydrator or use your oven, they will be finished in a fraction of the time. In any case, they must be perfectly dry but not crispy, and with no inside moisture (to avoid bacterial growth). Note that sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil with fresh herbs or garlic added must be refrigerated.