Homegrown tomato recipes

tomato recipesIf you have a number of tomato plants and they are fruiting beautifully, there’s a risk that your supply might outstrip demand.  Sometimes you get lots ripening all at once and you just can’t eat them fast enough.  Well, there are a number of things you can do to preserve your tomatoes, so when you’ve had enough of salad you can use these tomato recipes to make good use of the rest of your crop. Homegrown tomatoes are a world apart from many tasteless supermarket varieties, so you won’t want to waste a single one!


Tomato sauce

One of the most versatile of tomato recipes, this homemade tomato sauce is rich and delicious, and although you can’t freeze tomatoes as they come off the vine, this sauce will freeze brilliantly.  It can be used as a base for pasta sauces, soups, stews, pizza toppings, and countless other recipes – you’ll be enjoying your lovely summer tomatoes well into the winter months.

The method is simple:

  • Take lots of tomatoes, and cut the larger ones in half (leave cherry and baby tomatoes whole).
  • Place in a single layer in one or more roasting trays, drizzle with olive oil and add sprinkle with a little salt and a good grinding of black pepper
  • Add in whatever herbs you fancy (thyme is nice – just pick the leaves, not the stalks – and basil is a superb partner for tomatoes)
  • Give a good mix around with your hands to make sure everything is coated
  • Roast in the oven at 180 degrees C, gas mark 4, for about an hour
  • Leave to cool, then either seive them or pop the lot into a food processor
  • If freezing, put portion-sized quantities into freezer bags or containers, and freeze immediately

It’s a good idea to freeze in smaller quantities, so you can just defrost as much as you need each time.

This sauce is so much tastier than the sauces that you get in a jar from the supermarket, and it’s better for you because you can control the salt, sugar and oil content. This is a culinary staple that will only cost you the price of a packet of seeds and a bit of compost!  What could be better ?

Oven-dried tomatoes

These are really homemade sun-dried tomatoes, and have a myriad of culinary uses.  You can put them into pasta dishes, use them to liven up sauces and savoury dishes or to garnish salads.  They make a wonderful pairing with mozzarella cheese, and are punchy enough to stand their own in dishes with strongly flavoured ingredients such as chorizo.

Here’s what to do:

  • Cut the tomatoes in half, and cut across the centre to expose more of the inside, give a light sprinkling of salt, and place them cut side down on a wire rack, so that the air can circulate around them.
  • Put them in a VERY low oven (around 70-80 degrees C, gas mark 1/4 to 1/2) and roast for 8 – 12 hours or overnight.  It’s a good idea to put an ovenproof tray underneath to catch any drips.
  •  When they’re done they’ll have shrunk and dried out, but still be soft and slightly moist.  You’ll soon find out timings that work best for your particular oven.
  • They’ll keep for ages in the fridge, especially if you use sterilised jars, and you can cover them with olive oil if you like.  They also freeze really well (without the olive oil – cover them with this once they’ve thawed).

We hope you enjoy these tomato recipes – do let us know your own favourites.

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