tomatoes

If you’re anything like me, you can’t get enough of summer’s produce: corn, tomatoes, berries… everything is bountiful, and while autumn has some jewels to offer too, it’s always hard to say goodbye to the best of what these three warm months have to offer. Luckily, you don’t have to. Summer tomatoes can be kept all year long, either in sauces or frozen. Here is one delicious way to keep those flavors in your kitchen into the winter months: a slow oven-roasted tomato recipe perfect for wintertime.

Slow Oven-Roasted Tomatoes

This recipe is really more of a ratio; use it with however many tomatoes you like.

1 pound tomatoes
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. orange juice
2 tsp. salt

Score an “x” in the base of each tomato. Blanch them in boiling water for 1 minute, then remove to an ice bath for 2-3 minutes. Carefully remove the skins and halve the tomatoes. If you are using tomatoes that have a lot of seeds, you may wish to remove them as well, but this is optional.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss the tomatoes with the olive oil, orange juice and salt and spread on a lined baking sheet in one layer. Roast for between 4 and 6 hours, depending on the water content of your tomatoes. The more tomatoes you roast at the same time, the longer you will need to roast.

Storing

To store these tomatoes, you have two options. Freezing works well; the tomatoes can be frozen in freezer bags and stacked for easy storage.

They can also be canned. Usually, thanks to their high acidity, you can use a water bath method to can tomatoes. However, because these tomatoes are roasted for such a long period of time, additional acid in the form of bottled lemon juice is needed; 1 Tbsp. per pint jar will be enough.

Whichever storage method you use, consider adding some chopped fresh basil to conserve even more summer flavor for those cooler months.

Using Your Tomatoes

As for what to do with your tomatoes when you open them, the possibilities are varied. Use them to make a simple sauce for pasta or fish; they hardly need anything more to add flavor, though a clove of garlic is never unwelcome with tomatoes.

Aside from tomato sauce, your roasted tomatoes are extremely versatile. Though they will have less water content than traditional canned tomatoes, with a bit of doctoring, they can be used in many recipes that call for the canned variety. To get you started, try using your homemade canned tomatoes in some of these delicious recipes:

Image: See Ming Lee