Ah, the splendid summer tomato! Come September we all begin to mourn the end of tomato season. After several months of tomato sandwiches and every other wonderful use of amazing local tomatoes, there are ways of easing that loss! Making and freezing or canning fresh tomatoes are methods that will give winter meals a special touch. There is no substitute for the taste and nutritional value of a local vine-ripe tomato but preserving tomatoes today will bring a ray of sunshine to your kitchen come February. Cooked tomatoes also contain more than three times the phytonutrient lycopene (the red pigment) than fresh tomatoes since it is better released when heat softens the fiber in the flesh and peel. Simply roasting tomatoes concentrates their sweetness and flavors and can be turned into tomato paste, sauces, soups, salsa, dressings, jam and much more.*
Roasted Tomatoes for Sauces, Dressings and More
Makes about 4 cups
3 pounds ripe medium tomatoes like Roma or plum (see below for roasting small grape or cherry tomatoes)**
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil and more if needed
- Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375℉.
- Cut the stems from the tomatoes and slice them in half lengthwise.
- Squeeze or scoop out the seeds if you want or leave them in.
- In a large bowl, coat the tomatoes with olive oil, adding more if needed
- Place the tomatoes, cut side up, in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet (half sheet pan) lined with parchment paper or non-stick foil.
- Roast for 40 minutes.
- If you are making a specific recipe with roasted tomatoes add the other ingredients (garlic, herbs or salt and pepper, etc.) and drizzle a little olive oil over these.
- Increase oven temperature to 400℉ and continue roasting until the tomatoes are caramelized, about 20 minutes more.
- Turn off the oven and let the tomatoes cool in the oven for about 10 minutes. Move pan to a rack to cool completely.
- Pour the contents of the trays into freezer baggies and freeze to use over the next 6 to 9 months.
*You can also use this method to make roasted tomatoes with added ingredients for tomato paste, sauces, soups, salsa, vinaigrette dressing, jam or any other recipe that uses tomatoes.
**When roasting small tomatoes, leave whole.
Adapted from feastingathome.com