Preserving Flavor for the Winter – Two Tomato Sauces Plus FrozenTomatoes
I’ve already canned a bunch of straight up tomato sauce, but I wanted to make a few complete sauces as well.
My CSA sells bulk produce to its members along with the shares, so last week I got 10 pounds of tomato seconds. I had garlic, basil, oregano, and thyme already. I also had a bag of cherry tomatoes that I couldn’t eat quite fast enough so I wanted to preserve them.
Roasted Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
First up was roasting tomatoes. I filled up a large Pyrex baking dish with halved tomatoes, sliced garlic cloves, and thyme, drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper.
When I originally did this, I had listed 375 Fahrenheit for two hours. Since I was busy working with the other tomatoes, I neglected to start checking the tomatoes. I burnt the heck out of the bottom of this dish. I would suggest starting to check it at 1 hour in the future.
Once the tomatoes are roasted I removed the thyme, and blended with roasted red peppers I had made previously.
Here’s the original blog post on how to make this sauce:
Marinara Sauce with Poached Basil and Oregano
Once the tomatoes started roasting, I got busy with the next sauce. The first time I made this sauce I just used 2 lbs of tomatoes. I wanted a few more portions for the winter freezer, so I used six pounds this time. It uses a method of ‘poaching’ fresh basil and oregano in the sauce. It takes a bit of time to slowly simmer and reduce, but it is worth it for the full-of-flavor sauce in the end.
I added a few more red pepper flakes than I should have at the end, so it ended up pretty spicy.
Here’s the original blog post with all the details:
Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
The last thing I did was to slow roast some cherry tomatoes. It’s amazing any of these even make it into the bags for the freezer. They are so sweet and good, you can eat them like candy.
These are a lot like the roasted tomatoes above, except you roast them at a lower temp and are looking to bring them close to a dehydrated stage.
Just slice them, place them on a baking sheet with a bunch of garlic cloves, scatter some sprigs of thyme about, and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Put them in a 300 Fahrenheit oven and start checking at 30 minutes. I often have a bunch of different sizes so will take them out to cool at different stages as they finish cooking. After the first 30 minutes, check every 15, removing tomatoes as you go.
In the past I have used these in sauces, but also on pizzas or flatbreads, and in salads.
The final products
I got 3 portions of the marinara, 2 portions of the roasted sauce, and 2 portions of the cherry tomatoes. I squeezed out as much air as possible from the bags by putting a straw on one end and smoothing out the air as I zipped the bags closed. They are in the freezer now, ready to give me a little summertime this winter.