How to Preserve Oven-Roasted Tomatoes
Michele Harmeling, author of Canning & Preserving, recently and very unexpectedly came into having a bounty of Roma tomatoes that needed to be dealt with. Today she shares with us how to preserve oven-roasted tomatoes.
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Dealing with the abundance of tomatoes is an unavoidable challenge in canning and preserving your own food, and sometimes you are not going to feel like doing so.
Particularly in these current, challenging times, we’re being encouraged daily to go easy on ourselves. Social media is alive with posts about Quarantine Baking; everyone is a Home Pantry Chef. We are inundated with imperatives on starting new hobbies, creating activities for our kids, following home workouts using only cans of soup. (Spoiler alert: Not all soups are created equally heavy. If you’re looking for a real workout, I recommend Campbell’s Chunky Chicken Pot Pie…).
As mom to a very energetic 5-year-old, regardless of having written Canning & Preserving: The Techniques, Equipment, and Recipes to Get Started, I promise you, gentle reader, that my kitchen also contains plenty of Goldfish snacks, frozen corn dogs, and ubiquitous Top Ramen packages.
On the day in question, my countertops laden with those Roma tomatoes, I did NOT want to Do The Thing, readers. And that is perfectly OK. For me, for you, for all of us.
So, given the case of 12 pounds of tomatoes staring me in the face, and my decision fatigue (especially about cooking), I chose to practice radical self-acceptance. I accepted that I was absolutely NOT feeling like toiling over spaghetti sauce or salsa. I gave myself permission to use a far simpler recipe.
And so, oven-roasted tomatoes preserved in olive oil it was. This easy, versatile recipe will allow you to use your finished tomatoes in a variety of ways. Puree them for a rich, thicker spaghetti sauce or add to chili, salsas, or salads for an earthy, sweet note. They are wonderful atop toasted bread and accompanying cheese plates as well.
Oven-roasted Tomatoes Jarred in Olive Oil Recipe
Tip: Use only good-quality sea salt and olive oil for the best results. Please note that the recipe below has been considerably scaled back, and it can be doubled, tripled, or more to accommodate your personal tomato habit!
About 5 lbs of fresh tomatoes of your choice. (Cherry tomatoes may also be used but will give a much smaller yield)
Sea salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
1-2 large bay leaves per pound of tomatoes
Extra-virgin olive oil (I use unrefined for its stronger flavor)
Cut large tomatoes into slices or halves, removing the stem ends. Leave skins on. In a large mixing bowl, combine tomato pieces, sprinkled lightly with sea salt and pepper. Add bay leaves, whole. Coat tomatoes with olive oil, making sure the bay leaves are no longer dry (this will prevent them from burning).
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Spread tomatoes over baking sheets evenly, leaving a little space between pieces. Roast for 2-4 hours, checking for doneness once every hour. The skins should be somewhat chewy, the flesh soft and cooked through. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Pick out bay leaves and discard.
Once tomatoes are fully cooled, pack them into clean jars (these need not be Mason jars!). Cover with olive oil until fully submerged. These will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or they can be frozen for up to 6 months.