It’s been so long since I’ve posted, but I had to write about our latest passion….growing our own tomatoes!
2020 has been a crazy year. And there has been moments I have been concerned about providing fresh and healthy meals for the family. And the thought of less time spent in a grocery store appealed to me as well. Even in an agriculturally rich region, there were a few times we couldn’t find what we wanted. We surely would never have a shortage issue, but rather an issue with variety.
So, we put a few raised beds. I read and planned a lot and we planted what we wanted in plentiful quantity – lettuce, cucumbers, beans, peppers, and tomatoes. We grew San Marzano tomatoes, Amish paste tomatoes, Bonny Best slicer tomatoes, Yellow Sweeties, and Cherry Bomb cherry tomatoes. By far those were our best producing crop! And yes, they are the bomb!
Our entire gardening experience has been fun and full of pleasant surprises, but none more than our tomatoes. I grew our biggest producers from seed myself. My husband never liked tomatoes until we started growing them ourselves. I have one child left to try to convince. I am hoping some of this deliciousness on a cracker, with some cheese, may do the trick.
I have so much of these, that I decided to preserve some by roasting and packing in oil. There is no vinegar or water bath canning involved – it is simply extending the life of these tomatoes for 2 weeks in the fridge or 3 months if frozen.
This was so easy and gosh do I have plans with these little gems! Like, spread on crostini and tossed into a pasta with a cream sauce!
Stem, wash and dry the cherry tomatoes. Cut tomatoes in half until you have 1 cup. Slice a shallot. Crush and chop 6 cloves of garlic. Prepare and set aside 1/2 tsp each of dried oregano and dried thyme.
Cover a parchment lined cookie sheet with the tomatoes, sliced edge up. Sprinkle on the garlic and shallot. Drizzle olive oil all over the cherry tomatoes and season with sea salt and black pepper.
Roast in a 200 degree Fahrenheit oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. When finished, evenly sprinkle on the oregano and thyme. Spoon and gently pack into sterile 125 ml jars (mine yielded 2 of these jars). Pour in olive oil to fill up all the tiny air pockets.
Store in fridge for 2 weeks.
Likewise, you could skip the jars, and put the roasted tomatoes in freezer bags for up to 3 months in your freezer.
Now we have a bit of gardening know-how under our belt. We also started collecting our own seeds, so that we can grow the varieties we fancy the most next year.