One of the blessings of summer is having a garden that gifts you with ripe, luscious tomatoes. But at some point those tomatoes are piling up on the counter, and even your friends don’t want any more. What to do? We grow a mix of heirloom and hybrid “slicing” tomatoes, and they are too watery for canning or making sauces. Some people freeze them whole, but (a) I don’t want to devote that much freezer space, and (b) what are you going to do with a mushy thawed tomato? You can’t use them like fresh, and they are too watery for sauces. This year I came up with an idea that I think is genius – slice, roast and then freeze them! This process eliminates all that excess water, concentrates the flavors and makes the ‘maters much smaller to package. Win, win, win! The process works equally well for slicing tomatoes and grape/cherry tomatoes. Here’s how (and I apologize for failing to photograph most of the process!):
- Preheat oven to 350 and place rack in lower third of the oven.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment – tomatoes will stain your bakeware!!!
- Wash and core your tomatoes. No need to peel them. See below for a pic of my favorite tool for coring tomatoes and hulling strawberries. Got it at Crate and Barrel
- Slice regular tomatoes into ½” rounds, and slice each round in half. Slice grape/cherry tomatoes in half.
- Place tomatoes, cut side up, on the sheet, leaving a bit of space around each piece.
- Bake 30-45 minutes. You are looking to reduce their volume by half, not incinerate them. The cherry tomatoes will develop a bit of caramelization – bonus! Do not disturb tomatoes while they roast or they will completely fall apart.
- Remove from the oven an allow to cool, undisturbed, till room temp.
- Pack tomatoes into an ice cube tray and freeze.
- store your tomato pops in a freezer-safe tupper. Now you have summer flavor at the ready!
As soon as I can get them up I’ll share 2 recipes starring these glorious, roasted, homegrown flavor bombs. One is an appetizer, and the other, wellllll…here’s a teaser…