I received an email from Elmridge Farm last week indicating that they had an overabundance of tomatoes all ready at the same time, thanks to Hurricane Dorian. I placed an order for 25 lbs of field tomatoes, unsure of exactly what that would look like prior to walking down to the Halifax Seaport Market. It turns out that 25 lbs of tomatoes are A LOT of tomatoes! We managed to sort out how to get them all home (reusable bag + space left in our grocery cart) and then I was left with the question of what to do with all of this tomato abundance.
We put a selection of tomatoes aside to use this week in addition to slow-roasting 10 pounds of them. One batch of the recipe below fits comfortably in a quart size mason jar for easy storage in the fridge or freezer. These tomatoes are delicious in risotto, pasta sauce, or blended in a creamy tomato soup. I slow roasted the tomatoes with some olive oil, fresh garlic, sea salt, dried oregano, and thyme or savory. Adding the dried herbs during the roasting process helps infuse extra flavour into the tomatoes and means that when you go to use them later they are pre-seasoned and ready to go.
There is nothing better than an in-season, fresh tomato right off the vine. Or out of a pint from the farmer’s market. When I brought these tomatoes home we ended up snacking on quite a few of them straight out of the bag. The flavour is so bright and fresh, the tomatoes at the grocery store really can’t compare. I especially love this recipe in the wintertime, when grocery store tomatoes are pale and anemic looking. The process of slow roasting the tomatoes brings out so much flavour and sweetness, I am hard-pressed not to eat them all directly off the tray. I add a bit of extra olive oil during the roasting process as the oil is also infused with delicious flavours from the tomatoes, garlic, and herbs. I haven’t tried it this way yet, but I suspect these tomatoes would be delicious served over pasta, either on their own or paired with some roasted red peppers and artichoke hearts. Yum!
In addition to their delicious taste, tomatoes also contain high levels of phytochemicals, including lycopene, lutein and beta-carotine. These compounds can be very helpful when it comes to the health of your eyes, heart and skin. Studies indicate that cooking tomatoes increases their lycopene content, although their Vitamin C content does go down a bit during the cooking process. I love that we now have a huge batch of fresh tomatoes, perfect for eating both raw and cooked. I am going to toss some more of the tomatoes with the same ingredients listed below and will dehydrate them at 115°F degrees for a full day. I am planning to crush or thinly slice the garlic rather than dehydrating the cloves whole.
Slow Roasted Tomatoes
5 lbs tomatoes
⅔ cup olive oil
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried thyme or savory
8 cloves garlic, peeled
½‒1 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
Fresh cracked pepper
Preheat oven to 250. Cut tomatoes into small, equal size pieces and arrange on two baking sheets. Add cloves of garlic to the baking sheets. Drizzle with olive oil, then top with oregano, thyme or savory, sea salt, and fresh cracked pepper.
Roast for 3‒4 hours, checking the tomatoes every hour or so. The length of time required will depend on how small you have diced your tomatoes. They will reduce in size and will be devoid of most of their moisture when they are done.