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The end of summer

We’ve had two terrible years for tomatoes. Last year was hopelessly wet and late blight ruined much of the crop around here. This year has been terribly dry and my tomato plants drooped and withered. I didn’t have time to water daily, and as the summer wore on we had watering restrictions in place. We got some tomatoes, but not what we should have given the 24 plants I put in, and the tomatoes we did get were small, not the big oval globes I expect of Amish paste, more like a traditional Roma.

Usually we puree our tomatoes and simmer it down to a simple base the we freeze and use later in sauces and chilis, but this year we never got enough at one time to do that with.

So I roasted my tomatoes garlic and olive oil, and I can’t really complain. This is almost worth doing just for the smell. The oven is on for two hours, so it’s a good end of summer, cool day project.

Roasted Tomatoes

Amounts can vary. If you have more tomatoes, add a little more garlic.

  • 12 plum tomatoes
  • 4-6 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil + 1/3 c. olive oil
  • salt  to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. Spread 2 Tbsp. olive oil on the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish.
  3. Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise. Place cut side up in the pan.
  4. Mince garlic. Press a little garlic into each tomato half. Drizzle with the rest of the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt.

    Tomatoes ready to roast

  5. Bake for two hours. Baste every half hour with the olive oil and drippings in the pan. When you baste in the second hour, push the tomatoes around to keep them from sticking too much.
  6. Remove from oven and allow to cool some.

Roasted tomatoes

At this point, you can start using the tomatoes as is, or you can chop them. I usually put them in my mini-food processor for a quick spin.

These are good right out of the pan, especially if you have some good bread to sop up the juices. I’ve spread the puree on bread, mixed the puree with mashed cannellini beans as a dip or spread, coated and baked chicken with it, and tossed the roasted tomatoes with pasta. It also freezes well if you need to save a little summer for colder days.