Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Herbs for Freezer Sauce

Tomato salvation #2. This is one of my all time favorite ways to save or "put up" (as they say down south) tomatoes. And this one involves those prolific cherry or grape tomatoes that seem to pop up overnight. I have literally been picking 2-3 quarts of these per day but maybe that is my fault. See... I have this theory that if I make my garden just "a tad bit bigger" every year..... I have to mow less grass!! Yes, I know. What reasoning! But I think in the past 3 years, at this one house, I have cut out mowing maybe 3 extra feet on the one end of the garden. Wow!  Every inch counts for me when it comes to mowing grass. I hate mowing! In case you didn't notice, it just comes back..... And in the South Carolina heat, that just means another day dripping sweat at 7 am before the real scorching temps set in. So instead of mowing that extra little space, I prefer to can, freeze and preserve these little jewels. They are worth the sweat to plant, nurture and pick because I get to enjoy them all year!!

My backyard better watch out .... in 10 more years I won't have to mow grass.

Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Herbs for Freezer Sauce

So here it is.  I am embarrassed to say that it is not really a recipe with real specific parameters. It is more of a guideline.

Cherry or grape tomatoes, washed and dried- quantity is unlimited
Garlic cloves with skins removed
Hot Peppers, cut up in rings or pieces
Olive oil
Oregano or Basil or any fresh herbs
Sea Salt
Fresh Ground Pepper

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Place the tomatoes, peppers, and garlic on large baking sheets. Generously pour olive oil over the veggies until they are all oiled and shiny. Toss to coat. This requires a good amount of oil. Toss the herbs on top and generously salt and pepper the whole baking sheet. Place the baking sheets in the oven and time for 1 hour. At the one hour mark, toss all the ingredients and set the timer for another hour. During the second hour, toss the ingredients 2-3 times  As the tomatoes cook, they will start to become wrinkly. You might want to flatten the tomatoes with a spatula at this time. I might continue this process for another 30 min to 1 hour depending on the size of the tomatoes. I do not cook them till they are dry.  They are still juicy but they are sticky and the flavors have all melted together. At this time, I take them out of the oven and let them cool completely. I might give them a toss or two during their cooling time. When they are totally cool, I place them in pint canning jars or zip top bags and place them in the freezer.  They will store for about 9 months.
When I decide to use these, I thaw them completely by letting them sit out or by microwaving, if needed.  Then I will use them to make a sauce over pasta, spaghetti squash or over grilled chicken. Just heat the sauce a little and you can use it right out of the jar. You can always add more fresh herbs,  a little more oil or cheese if desired. I have also used this as a great soup starter.

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