Fall is officially here. Shorter days and cooler nights take their toll on sun-loving crops, like tomatoes, okra, cucumbers and squash. Gardening in a small space means that when crops slow way down, it’s time for them to move out and make space for those that relish the current season.
It’s always a sad day when I pick the last tomatoes, but also something of a relief. Relatively cool weather and consistent rain resulted in the best harvest in recent memory. Working through a bumper crop of nearly everything is both joyful and time consuming. Nevertheless, I won’t let a single tomato go to waste. Underripe tomatoes quickly mature in a sunny window, where temperatures are steadily around 70 degrees. Here are few tips for preserving and using the last of the pomme d’amore – apples of love:
Dry Tomatoes In The Oven
Nothing says umami like a chewy, sun-dried tomato. However, leaving tomatoes in the sun to dry will only result in unwelcome guests chowing down on what is rightfully yours and those whom you chose to feed. Tomatoes are easy to dry in the oven, and the resultant delicacies will store in the freezer for several months. Any type of tomato can be dried, but I like to use ‘Roma’ varieties that have little pulp.
- Pre-heat oven to 170 degrees, or use your oven’s lowest temperature setting.
- Spray a baking sheet with olive oil.
- Slice the tomatoes about 1/4 inch thick and space them evenly on the baking sheet.
- Spray the tomatoes lightly with olive oil.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Add some dried herbs, if you like.
- Bake for about 8 hours.
- Tomatoes will be leathery and flexible when ready.
- Store in freezer-safe bags for up to 3 months.
- Use dried tomatoes on pizza.
- Combine them with rice and toasted pecans for a delicious side dish.
- Mix them into salads.
- Share your favorite way to use them!
Prepare and Store Tomato Sauce
- Collect the last of the tomatoes onions, peppers, basil, fresh thyme, rosemary, and garlic the farmer’s market or your garden.
- Dice vegetables and put them into a crock pot.
- Add a teaspoon of salt, a tablespoon of honey, and a dash of red wine.
- Set the temperature on low for 8 hours.
- Dinner is ready!
- Store the rest in freezer safe containers for up to 3 months.