Monday, October 8, 2012

Hey, I thought the gardening season was over !!!

But apparently not !!!

Sure, we have had several killing frosts and my own garden is long long gone. MY once proud castor bean plant looks like a big pole with cooked spinach draped all over it. Kinda gross actually.

But as always, with the end of the season comes an abundance of green tomatoes, and while I personally did not have an abundance from my own garden, my friends sure do, and they are giving me tomatoes by the box full. Of course,all these green tomatoes mean I have been devoting alot of research time into recipes for green tomatoes- and besides the obvious, pickled green tomatoes, which I don't even know if we'll like, we have the Tomolive Experiment still going, but the weird thing about nature and tomatoes is this: if you spend too much time worrying about what to do with GREEN tomatoes, they eventually change into RED tomatoes.

Which is where I'm at today. These tomatoes aren't your fancy hybrids, no Beefsteak or Early Girl or anything like that in there. These are all the golf ball size tomatoes you get when you leave a seed or two behind over the winter and get 25 volunteer plants that you just don't have the heart to pull. They revert back to their original form instead of the hybrid you had last summer. Which makes no difference to me, a tomato is a tomato to me, and I'll gladly take them off your hands.

But what to do with many pounds of smallish tomatoes, without dealing with peeling and all that mess? Easy !! Wash, cut in half, toss with the littlest bit of olive oil and salt and ROAST them to release the juice, heat the tomatoes and then can them, which is exactly what I did.

I'm going to guess at this point I had about 5-6 lbs of small tomatoes, mostly red golf ball size with a few small yellow pears and tiny yellow teardrop tomatoes in there. I gave them a quick bath in the sink, sorted out a small handful of yucky ones and then set aside two deep baking sheets, with a little drizzle of oil on them.

With the oven heating to 425 degrees I started cutting the tomatoes in half and tossing them on the sheets, ending up with two generously full baking sheets of beautiful tomatoes. I gave each pan a nice grind or two of sea salt and put them in the oven with the rack in the upper third and roasted them about 15 minutes and that temp then turned it down to 325 and let them go another half hour or so while I readied everything else.

Once the tomatoes were roasted and juices were released I dumped them into a big bowl and added my personal Italian seasoning mixture- a generous tablespoon or two of basil, crushed, palmfull of parsley, crushed, thyme, BIG pinch of oregano, and garlic powder.

Mixed it all up and filled 7 pint jars full. I put them in the boiling water bath for 40 minutes and they came out looking perfect. The tomatoes were so juicy I didn't have to add any additional water to the jars.

They were so successful, I was only able to store 5 of the 7 pints. 2 jars were opened the next day by The Chef and went into a pot of pasta sauce. But this is not the end of the story I hope. MY friend still has a LARGE stockpile of green tomatoes. And even though I really want to try some green tomato mincemeat, I have a feeling I an going to be doing plenty more roasted tomatoes with Italian herbs to get us through the winter.

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