Obviously, this did not include blogging. I did manage to put up plenty of tomatoes and peaches, though, which are my favorite summer foods. I grabbed around 30lbs of tomatoes at the farmer’s market, and 13lbs of peaches from Carlson Orchards Pick-Your-Own in Harvard, MA.
Lots of tomatoes were canned as sauce in my pressure canner, others got thrown into braises, over pasta, even into pie, but my go-to method for preserving that sunny tomato flavor is slow roasting. Slow roasting is slow, and some folks aren’t comfortable keeping a gas oven running the required 6-8 hours. I did try throwing some sliced toms into the dehydrator, but I wasn’t happy with the taste.
Here’s what I recommend: Slice tomatoes a half-inch thick, spread them on a baking sheet, and flavor with salt, pepper, rosemary or any herbs you like, and spritz with olive oil.
Put them in the oven at the lowest temp possible – here’s where my cranky oven gauge comes in handy! I set it at 200F, and it warms up to about 160-180F. If you have the misfortune of an accurate oven, and like most modern ovens it doesn’t read lower than 200F, you can keep the door cracked open a smidge. An internal oven thermostat can be picked up for a few bucks at the hardware store so you can get an accurate read. Now, just wait til these tomatoes are reduced by almost half, not as small as sun dried tomatoes, but the moisture should be removed. In my experience, that’s taken 6-8 hours.
Let cool, then stack into freezer bags or mason jars, be careful to remove as much air as possible and freeze. Throw them into sauces or saute as needed.
Tomorrow: updating a classic peach recipe!