Sunday, September 16, 2012

Too Many Tomatoes...

This summer was long and hot...which is apparently the prefect weather for growing a garden. Our garden grow into a jungle this year and we have more tomatoes than we know what to do with—I've been picking a pound or two a day since the beginning of August. So, I had to come up with a couple of easy ways to use and preserve this amazing bounty (and waste as like as possible).

Fresh Sauce

I planted two varieties of cherry tomatoes this year and they produce more fruit than the other varieties I planted. We've had so many, I could have stocked the local grocery store—there is no way we could eat them all ourselves.

I came up with a very easy way to use them and store them for later...freezable pasta sauce.  This sauce has a wonderful fresh taste that really showcases the flavor of the sweet little tomatoes...and it's fat free! It could not be more simple to make. Here's how to do it:

1 to 2 pounds of cherry tomatoes
3 to 6 cloves of garlic, peeled
6 to 10 leafs of  fresh basil
1 tsp crush red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1 to 2 tsp white pepper
Salt and pepper to taste

Blend the tomatoes, basil, and garlic in a food processor and then pour them into a large sauce pan. Heat the tomato liquid over medium heat. Once the liquid is cooking add the other ingredients.  Cook it until the liquid thickens up—about an hour.

At this point, you can either serve it over pasta, or add chicken stock and cream to make a soup. What ever you don't use can be frozen and used throughout the winter. 

Freezing Instead of Canning

I planted two Roma tomato plants with the intention of canning them, but I discovered a much better way to preserve them...freezing!

Canning is labor intensive and you need a lot of ripe tomatoes on hand at one time. My Roma plants have produced lots of fruit, but I have not had a great enough quantity of ripe tomatoes at the same time to make canning worth while. Freezing has worked out for me much better because I can do small batches. Once or twice a week I freeze what's on hand.

The process is simple. Blanch them in boiling water for about 1 minute, peel them, pop them in a freezer bag, and done! Since I started preserving my Romas this way, I've discover this works for the large heirloom varieties I have too.

Now I'm looking forward to a winter filled with yummy sauces, soups, and stews made with summer fresh tomatoes from my own backyard!


  1. I like to oven dry and freeze. Slice and cram onto foil lined cookie sheet, bake at 200 degrees until they are kind of dry but not quite leathery. I freeze this as one "batch" which I add to any pasta dish or sauce or with pasta dishes in lieu of sundries tomatoes.