September 6, 2011

Roasted Heirloom Tomato's - Jars of Joy

A few years ago, I stumbled across a recipe for roasted heirloom tomato's.  The source of the exact recipe I cannot remember.  However, this recipe is what led me to the way we preserve most of our tomato harvest each summer, and I am going to share it here with you.

You begin by cutting your tomato's into thick slices and place them in one layer on roasting pans, or cookies sheets with sides that you have already seasoned with olive oil.  The recipe initially suggested that you line the pans with aluminum foil, but I find this an unnecessary step, as the pans are fairly easy to clean..and a waste of foil.

Pre-heat your oven to 225 degrees and roast the tomato's for 2-4 hours (depending on how thickly you sliced them) until they begin to reduce in size.  You can leave them in longer if you want them to become more like sun-dried tomato's.  This process was traditionally done by laying them in the sun...but the oven works just as well and I do not have to worry about keeping bugs and animals out of them.  Add whole garlic cloves, oregano, thyme, and salt to your taste.  The garlic will roast along with the tomato's.  I used fresh thyme and oregano from my herb garden and the last of my garlic from last year.

Various heirloom tomato's, garlic, thyme and oregano, ready to go in the oven.
I roasted this pan for almost three hours, and I should have taken an "after" photo, sorry.  Since tomato's are acidic, you can process them in a water bath canner.  Get your jars and lids ready and heat the water in your water bath canner while they are roasting.

When they are roasted, simply scoop them out and into your clean jars.  I layer them with fresh basil and top them off with a tablespoon of lemon juice and a little more olive oil. Clean the rims, add your new seals and screw the rings on tightly.  I boil in a water bath process for 45 minutes.  Refer to The National Center for Home Canning for the basics of all canning methods.  There is a great tutorial on Chickens In the Road. Another worthwhile blog is Food In Jars.  She is a wealth of information on all things canning, and on her blog she talks about Weck all-glass jars and Tattler Re-Usable lids...both of which I am going to look into further.  It really bothers me that the Ball/Kerr lids can only be used once and then must be tossed.

Jars of Joy
The jar on the right could have used another tomato or two, but alas, this was all I was able to harvest. Two measly quarts!  I really hope we continue this warm weather so the rest of them have a chance to ripen.  We call these "Jars of Joy" in our house, as they give us immeasurable pleasure to open them in the dead of Winter....or late cold Spring as the case may be here in the Pacific Northwest.

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