Are we still talking about tomatoes here at Old Depot Farm? Are we still picking heirloom tomatoes and putting them on the back porch in cardboard flats, and are we still canning them? Not to mention slicing them up and covering them with blankets of cottage cheese (with freshly-ground pepper on top) for our lunches, and are we still cutting them up and adding them to salads and stir-fries and all that?
And are we making roasted tomato sauce for the freezer, and are we still–after a couple of months of this–still excited about all this tomato-over-the-moonness?
Yes, yes we are.
I personally never get sick of these gorgeous, tasty orbs of delight. Now I can’t speak for my children. Perhaps there is a certain tomato weariness that I’m just beginning to sense from them at this point . . . as we lug one more load of 5-gallon buckets from the garden, filled to the brim with these gorgeous tomatoes. Maybe.
Nevertheless! I love having a steady supply of heirloom tomatoes from my garden to eat and cook with. I realize what a treat it is to have bowls full of cherry tomatoes (and grape tomatoes, and currant tomatoes and pear tomatoes) for snacking on the kitchen countertop, too, not to mention for impromptu snacking when I’m outside.
No wonder I’m never hungry when I come in from the garden. 🙂
After an unusually fair (read: not brutally hot) summer, the weather finally warmed up to a nice punishing heat in August and the tomato plants (which crave heat) took off great guns and we’ve had a glut ever since. I use the word “glut” here in the fondest possible way. Glut is good, where heirloom tomatoes are concerned!
Once we started school in September, time became a bit more precious around here, and I had to get a bit more focused on my tomato putting-by-ness. I hate to waste veg that I’ve worked so hard to raise. But canning tomatoes takes time. Making and canning salsa takes even more time. But roasting fresh heirloom tomato sauce for the freezer, I can do almost with my eyes closed and in minutes. An infant could make this sauce. Almost. It’s so fast and easy that I nearly do a jig of joy when I’m finished. My lovely daught-in-law Sonia makes a version of this sauce and I developed this recipe per her instructions.
So if you love this sauce as much as I do, you can direct your exuberant shouts of joy in Sonia’s direction. And, Gentle Reader . . . you’ll love this sauce.
Not only is it so easy to make that you can practically make it with your eyes closed, but since it’s roasted, it concentrates the flavors of the tomatoes and onions and garlic and herbs and whatnot in a lovely way, and it retains its fresh taste because you pop it into the freezer when it’s done. (Of course you could just boil up a big pot of pasta and eat it when it’s hot and coming out of the oven. It’s all good.)
There are lots of great-looking tomatoes at the farmer’s markets around here, so if you’re not a gardener, you can still make this sauce for your freezer. And yes. You do want to make it. 🙂
- 12 cups ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into large (about 1") chunks
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 4-6 cloves garlic, smashed and diced
- ¼ cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
- 1 or 2 Tbs of your favorite dried tomato sauce herbs, such as rosemary or oregano, or a mixture (optional, but so good!)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ tsp salt
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and pull out two jelly roll pans. Combine tomatoes, onion, garlic, and herbs in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Toss until everything is coated with oil. Transfer to jelly roll pans (or pyrex pans, but don't use aluminum or cast-iron) and spread so the mixture is about 2" thick. Put into the oven and slow-roast until the sauce has reduced to about half from its original volume. This should take, probably, two hours or more, but keep an eye on it, so it doesn't burn. Remove from the oven and let it cool. When it's cool, transfer to freezer containers (my batch made 3 quarts) and put into freezer. Now! Don't you feel clever? That's because you are!
I wish you could smell my house while this sauce is roasting! Oh, it smells just glorious, and I know that when the snow is falling and the wind chills are scary, I can pull out a container of this sauce from the freezer, heat it up, pour it over some steaming hot pasta, and it will bring back the brilliant, warm sunny fall day when I made it! Such an easy meal, too!
Happy, happy tomato sauce roasting, Gentle Readers!
And here’s a quart all ready for the freezer . . . BOOM! Done!
Now you can face those last few tomato pickings with joy, Gentle Reader. Happy sauce-making! and . . .
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