Tomato Roasting Season

Mystery Chiles
Mystery Chiles

It’s been a busy couple of weeks holidaying out west and at the farm, so I’ve been a little preoccupied. When we got back to the city from each trip I had a huge cache of tomatoes to deal with (even though I only planted four tomatoes this year!). The first batch became roasted tomato salsa, quickly canned after the munchkin went to bed. The second batch was also roasted and turned into passata, also canned after bedtime.

The passata is amazing. I love that recipe, from the River Cottage Handbook No.2 Preserves by Pam Corbin. It’s pretty simple: roughly chop your tomatoes, put them into an oiled roasting pan with your choice of herbs, some garlic (peeled or not) and if you want, some chiles and onions (we’re thrilled to be growing our mystery chile that I was growing ten years ago the summer Chris and I met, which we’ve saved seeds from). Sprinkle the tomatoes with a teaspoon each of sugar and coarse salt, and a few glugs of olive oil. Roast at 350ºF for about an hour. If you have watery tomatoes you might need to do it a little longer to help evaporate off the extra liquid and intensify the flavours of your sauce. Cool your tomatoes and then put them through a tomato press if you have one. If not, you can use a sieve, but if you like to make your own tomato sauce I highly recommend investing in one of these presses — they are the bomb.

To ensure they’re acidic enough for preservation, I added a 1/4 tsp of citric acid to each 500ml jar of sauce and processed in a boiling water canner for 35 minutes. This sauce is a bit labour intensive, but so worth it, and perfect for doing in relatively small batches as your tomatoes ripen.

If you’re a bit lazy and don’t feel like going through with pressing the sauce, you can always roast the tomatoes as per the above directions and then just bag and freeze them to add to your favourite soups, stews and sauces. They’ll still be just as awesome.