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Mainely Tipping Points

Turkey Tracks: Roasting Tomatoes

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Turkey Tracks:  September 15, 2011

Roasting Tomatoes

September is the “red” month in Maine.

Or, in other words, September is when our tomatoes turn…red.

September is when my kitchen gets really interesting:

Those gorgeous yellow and Black Krill tomatoes on the left–and more red tomatoes–come from my neighbor Susan McBride of Golden Brook Farm.  The large red tomatoes to the right are ours; they’re Brandywines, and I think they are probably the best eating tomato in the whole world.

I’ve made a dense tomatoes sauce that I freeze in past years.  But, now that we don’t really eat pasta very much–too much of a carb hit–I looked around for a different way to preserve tomatoes for the winter–and, indeed, for early summer since our tomatoes take much longer to ripen.  Remember that summer doesn’t really arrive in Maine until July 4th!

Last year I made tomato soup and froze it, and it’s been so delicious all year.  And, I roasted tomatoes and put them into smaller jars.  It takes a LOT of tomatoes to fill a pint mason jar.   But, the flavor is dense and very rich.  So that’s what I decided to do with this year’s crop extras.


Start the oven at 375.

Put on a pot of water to boil–a large one if you have it.

Put a large bowl filled about half way with ice in  your sink.  Add some water, not too much as you don’t want to spill out the cold water when you put in the tomatoes.

When the water boils, drop in tomatoes to fill the pot, and after about a minute, lift each out and drop it into the ice water.

Let your pot reboil and add more tomatoes, etc., until all are done.   Meanwhile, take out the cold tomatoes, run a paring knife around the stem section to remove it, and slip off the skins.  Chuck up the tomato into a baking pan.

For about five pounds of tomatoes, add a chopped up onion, 4 to 5 cloves of garlic smashed and roughly cut, a couple of handfuls of basil, some salt, and a drizzle of really good cold-pressed, organic olive oil over the top–no more than 1/4 cup total.  Mix it all up with your hands–GENTLY.

Here’s what things look like at this stage:

Cook the tomatoes for about an hour, then stir gently.  Now you have to start checking on them about every 30 minutes.  And, when they start to “cook down,” more frequently.

The smell all over your house will be absolutely mouthwatering!

Here’s what they look like all finished up, which will take at least 2 hours total:

Load the tomatoes into pint mason jars–a canning ring funnel is a great help with hot food going into mason jars.  Be sure to leave at least an inch at the top for freezing expansion.  Cap the jars and put them upside down on a counter so they form a vacuum–you’ll see the cap is pulled down.  And, yes, you must freeze them.  You cannot can tomatoes cooked in oil–too dangerous.

Use these gorgeous tomatoes to enrich winter soups, to drizzle over meatloaf or stuffed peppers–saving a bit for some sauce on the side, or over pasta.


Written by louisaenright

September 15, 2011 at 7:01 pm

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