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And So it Begins

August 15, 2014
Astiana and Japanese Black Trifele tomatoes

Astiana and Japanese Black Trifele tomatoes

We’ve been eating tomatoes everyday for weeks, but now the plants are starting to produce quantities large enough for preserving.  Let the roasting begin!

Normally our tomato sauce is a roasted mélange of whatever tomato variety needs picking at the time.  But this year I have two new tomatoes to try for preserving, Astiana (seed from tomatoes purchased by a friend from Ayers Creek Farm) and Amish Paste – Kapuler from Carol Deppe’s Fertile Valley Seeds.  Both are doing great as a plant, but a new cooking tomato means I have to subject it to my kitchen trials to see if the variety makes the taste test.

Frugal gardeners, this roasting is a good way to use up those little annoying smallish onions, blooming basil, and tiny garlic cloves (or scapes) that don’t make your heart sing.  Slice the tomatoes, add whatever needs using up, glug in some olive oil and balsamic vinegar, turn on the oven to your desired temperature and be prepared for the best scent of August ever.  High temperatures (400°) roast a little faster, but slow and low is okay too.  I’m heading back to the garden to weed, so we’re taking it slow today on the tomato roasting.

25 Comments leave one →
  1. Chris permalink
    August 15, 2014 1:27 pm

    And then do you store in jars in fridge or use up right away or??

  2. Mich permalink
    August 15, 2014 1:36 pm

    It’s a great way to make tomato sauce isn’t it 🙂

  3. tara permalink
    August 15, 2014 1:46 pm

    And you just can it from there? Pressure can or regular bath?

    I love this idea.

  4. CassieOz permalink
    August 15, 2014 3:53 pm

    I roast on low for longer and it does the ‘reducing’ for me so I don’t have to do the crockpot step. I put a little salt on also, and only the smallest amount of oil but otherwise my method is the same (using only tomato and garlic). I have a great tomato mill that spits out the skins and I dehydrate and grind that stuff for adding to stock and stuff. I just hot water can it and have never had any problems but whether to hot water or pressure can tomatoes seems to be a cultural issue rather than anything else. I’m guessing we don’t grow ‘low acid’ tomatoes so much here (maybe, no evidence to support it) but my thought is that, by the time the tomatoes are a well concentrated, the acidity is fine. Europeans and Australians don’t generally pressure can tomatoes (or hot water can jam or pickles either).

    • August 15, 2014 4:04 pm

      Cassie, I’ve got some paste tomatoes that don’t need the extra step of the crockpot but these big guys sure seem to, or I’m not that patient with my oven space 😉 I should probably clarify the pressure canner too, I do it because it is faster and uses less water…I’d much rather be outside than watching a boiling kettle of water, I pretty much don’t do any water bath anymore at all. Not my cup of tea I guess. The Pressure canner just speeds up the process for me.

      Hope this comment means you’re on the mend??

      • CassieOz permalink
        August 16, 2014 5:14 am

        Mending slowly and dreaming of next summer and piles of fragrant tomatoes.

        • August 16, 2014 6:15 am

          Good news! Saw the pic of you and your sis – sweet girls you are 🙂

          Tomatoes for days now 🙂

  5. August 15, 2014 4:52 pm

    YUp, my kitchen smells like yours, right to the roasted basil flowers! c

  6. Bee permalink
    August 16, 2014 10:04 am

    How many tomatoes do you usually plant, Nita? It seems I never have enough for seven people.

    • August 16, 2014 10:25 am

      Bee, I did about 50 this year, which is too many, but it’s easier to get rid of extra than to not have enough. That’s a mix of new ones to trial and old standbys. I could get by with a lot less if I worked on them more, but for me it’s easier to have more that may be a little less productive without endless pinching and fussing than to have fewer plants that require more of my attention. Once we start doing hay I’m a goner in the garden, and now with Jane newly fresh I’m behind the eight ball. Once it’s canned it keeps, so if I get two years worth of sauce etc., you won’t see me complaining about too much.

      I think a lot too for tomato planning depends on how you’re going to cook them, for bulk canned tomatoes you get a high yield of canned product, but I’m making lots of cooked down sauces so maybe 5 pounds to get a quart? Or thereabouts. I know you know this, but other readers may find it useful.

      • Bee permalink
        August 16, 2014 2:49 pm

        Thanks, that helps. I’ve been shooting for six dozen plants, but maybe I should kick that up a bit, now that I have the big garden. I operate the same way as far as the garden – tie up the ones that sprawl too badly, but there’s no way I’m going to fuss with pinching or sucker removal. I don’t can a lot of bulk tomatoes; we eat fresh until they come out our ears and I make stuff like ratatouille and tomato-corn relish that are really summer-only dishes because they should be made with fresh veggies. That might be my problem: I’m using the glut to eat fresh instead of making sauce, which tends to occur when tomato season is winding down. I’ll try starting the sauce-making earlier. And now that I think about it, the smallest kids are eating a lot more than they were when I did my original planning, which probably has an effect 🙂

        • August 16, 2014 4:00 pm

          Bee, you might want to try Bellstar for your sauce, determinate, and very prolific and when it’s done it’s done. No staking, just picking and it makes an okay salad tomato too. It’s kind of our bread & butter, no fuss, OP prepper tomato. You only need to apply a picker and you’ve got a harvest. I always plant about a dozen of these so I know no matter how the other, more fun tomatoes do, I always have Bellstar to fall back on.

  7. August 16, 2014 11:56 am

    I can’t wait for my tomatoes to catch up to yours!

  8. August 17, 2014 2:50 am

    I’m at home today, chained to the kitchen stove whilst the tomatoes cook down, and fighting off a wasp invasion as I write.

  9. Liz J permalink
    August 20, 2014 12:12 pm

    I am trying this for the first time today ~ thanks so much for posting the recipe again. The house smells “AWESOME” right now!!!

    • Liz J permalink
      August 21, 2014 1:58 pm

      Okay, following up on my own comment. I will never make tomato sauce any other way than this ~ it is AMAZING!!! Thanks so much…

  10. August 21, 2014 6:08 pm

    Agree – roasting concentrate the flavor. I prefer to low roast the paste-tomatoes, but I find that high temperature is better for the big slicer: waters runs out more and faster, so all I have to do is strain them (use the tomato water for something else like rice or couscous [in lieu of water]), and pass the pulp through the food mill. No need to reduce further.

    Like you I finally have enough tomatoes to make sauce. It’s later than usual, but at least they are here.

  11. Stumplifter (Andrea) permalink
    August 26, 2014 1:17 pm

    I have a method for oven candied tomatoes that we love, it’s stupid easy and we use them on pizza instead of sauce and soups, stews, etc. Here goes. . . Chop tomatoes into hunks, large tomatoes get quartered, smalls get halved, toss on a sheet with salt and olive oil, roast at 350 for an hour, reduce to 250 and continue to roast for an hour or two. I put them in jars, topped with oil and shoved in the fridge. They last for well over a year.

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