Tuesday, September 18, 2012

SSFC: Food Preservation

It has been a while since I've posted about the SSFC eating-locally challenge--and yes, it's still going! I'm a couple of days late with this, but last week's challenge was about food preserving and canning. I have never canned anything before, and I don't think I grow enough food to go through the trouble of canning. I like the idea of preserving fresh food for the winter, and we do freeze a lot of food. I have local squash, spinach, and broccoli in the freezer that I haven't got around to using yet. Peppers freeze very easily--we clean them, core and remove the seeds, and then slice or chop them up, put them in a container, and leave them in the freezer. When I'm ready to use my peppers, I often just run them under water to soften them up and then they're ready to chop and add to your dish.

For the food preservation challenge, I decided to try oven roasting some of my tomatoes.

tomatoes for roasting
These are so many recipes online with varying times and oven temperatures, and after sorting through all of them, I decided to follow this one by David Lebovitz. The length of time is hard to gauge because it depends on the size and moisture level of tomatoes. I've read that Roma tomatoes are best because they have a lower water content than others. Unfortunately my pile of tomatoes was of different varieties and sizes, so I loosely followed his recipe, but mainly decided to wing it.

I had one beefsteak tomato, a few Romas, a handful of cherries, and some Pink Brandywine heirlooms from my garden. I waited until we had a cloudy, somewhat cool day so that running the oven for 3 hours wouldn't stifle us to death in the summer heat. Here's what I did:

Oven Roasted Tomatoes
- Preheat oven to 325°F
- Cut the tomatoes in half horizontally, remove the stems, and remove the seeds. I patted dry some of the juicier tomatoes with a paper towel to remove some excess moisture.
- In an 8x8 pyrex baking dish, add about 3 tbsp olive oil, one clove of garlic, 1 tbsp dried oregano, 1 tbsp dried basil (from my garden!), and salt and pepper.*
- Toss tomatoes around in dish so that all sides are coated.
- Place tomatoes cut side down in the dish.
- Bake for 2 1/2 hours or until tomato skin is wrinkly. (Some of my smaller tomatoes were ready after 2 hours).

*Feel free to add your own combination of herbs and seasonings here. I think next time I'm going to use rosemary and thyme, or maybe do one dish with oregano only.

oven roasted tomatoes final
Here's the finished product. They don't look very pretty, but let me tell you, they smelled fantastic! The whole house smelled like olive oil, oregano, and basil, like a pizzeria! I almost hyperventilated from inhaling all that yumminess. I let them cool a little and then put them in a freezer bag. I think they'll be great in soups and sauces later this Fall.

You can read about what other Challenge participants made here. Do you can? What's your go-to method of food preservation?


  1. Roasting tomatoes is one of those things I love to do. I get lots of them in the CSA and grow my own. I enjoy having containers full of them in the freezer.

  2. Hey Angela, that looks really appetizing. I can imagine how good it will taste on pasta, in salads or even on pizzas. Yummm!

    Thanks for sharing. I never had roasted tomatoes. Will give it a try.

  3. Oh, those look wonderful! And I can just imagine how delicious they smelled! I would have had a hard time putting them in the freezer bag - I would have had to make a pizza out of them pronto!

  4. Angela - your roasted tomatoes look fantastic. That is one of my favorite things to roast and I always add slice onion to mine also. Nothing like that taste in the winter. I love mine warmed on a piece of toast (an on pasta too!) (oh and on pizza also)

  5. Oh I have to try these...I can even smell them all the way here...mmm.

  6. Yummmm! I love to do this with my San Marzano tomatoes but have never added Basil to the mix. I'll try it. Also, interesting, I've always put them on the pan cut side up? I wonder if it makes a difference? Also, wanted to let you know I mentioned your blog on my post today. Check it out if you like!

  7. Hi there! I thought I had left a comment earlier but I don't think it went through. Just wanted to let you know I credited you (on my blog this week) with inspiring me to grow some lovely sunflowers. I too, like to oven roast tomatoes at this time of year. I'll try adding some basil to my mixture before roasting. Sounds yummy!


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