Saturday, July 26, 2008

It's tomato season, and...

For someone who loves to cook, I certainly haven't done much with canning.

Well. I still haven't done much, but at least I've gotten my feet wet.
But, suffice it to say that when I came home from the farm where I get my eggs on Thursday, I had a lot more produce than I expected-- about 20-30 pounds of Roma tomatoes.

First I froze two gallon-size bags of plain tomatoes--and made fresh-tomato pasta sauce for dinner.

Then, after reading more recipes than is healthy, I decided to make roasted tomato sauce. It's easy: coat a cookie sheet in olive oil, slice tomatoes in half, throw in 4 whole cloves of garlic, some rosemary, and sprigs of thyme. Roast at 400 degrees for 25 minutes, and 350 for 40-45 degrees. Take the tomatoes out of the oven, discard the spice sticks, and puree. Freeze if you want to store.

Then I was ready to can. My mother and I got out her pressure cooker that was last used over thirty years ago, and went to work skinning tomatoes, cutting up herbs, and sterilizing jars. The only different thing I tried here was some Italian diced tomatoes with minced garlic and fresh basil and oregano. (I think I need to fill my jars a little more next time. Ya live, ya learn.)

The last: Oven-dried tomatoes with herbs in olive oil. I sliced my tomatoes in half, removed the seeds, and placed them on racks. After oven-drying for 12 hours on the oven's lowest setting, I decided to put it on convection to speed up the process. By noon today, I was finally done drying tomatoes (I think a dehydrator would have been much easier--and if I'd peeled to tomatoes, it would have been even easier.) I rough-chopped them, mixed them with basil, thyme, and oregano, and packed them in jars. After pouring olive oil over the tomatoes, I slid I knife around the sides to release any air bubbles, sealed them, and pressure-canned them.

--And this is what's left:

I want more.

Posted via web from marielenora's posterous

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