Do you have end-of-the-season tomatoes languishing on the counter like I do? This is the perfect way to use them up, and save them from going into the compost. The method also works well during the summer when you have a glut of tomatoes that are on the verge of going bad and you need to use them up quickly, without hassling around with skinning them and canning them. Because of all the additions, this is not a sauce you want to can, but it freezes beautifully.
|Cut the yucky off, and the bottom will be perfect|
Let’s face it; those last minute tomatoes are not really very appetizing. They might have been through a freezing night or two. You collected them even though they were green and hard, hoping that they’d ripen to a somewhat tasty tomato, but the chances are slim. Once they have ripened a bit inside, they may taste a somewhat like a store bought tomato, or even less flavorful…but they will never be a luscious, juicy beauty queen like all those tomatoes that came in all summer long.
|A couple apples in a bag full of end-of-season tomatoes…|
|In hopes they will ripen up a bit!|
This method will transform those sad tomatoes!
|Sorting out the red from the hopelessly green, from my paper bag|
|Hoping for at least 6 pounds of relatively ripe tomatoes.
I have thrown a couple yellowy and green ones in before, no prob!
The sauce is multipurpose; I like to use it in mid-winter pots of chili, mix it with spaghetti sauce for a flavor boost, and add basil and garlic for a tasty pizza sauce.
If you have a lot of green tomatoes coming into the house, use the paper bag and apple trick to ripen them up a bit. Some of the tomatoes may have bumps and bruises and holes, and for this sauce, that is perfectly acceptable.
After you have a good amount of ripened tomatoes, chop them up, cutting out any bad spots. Throw them all in a roasting pan.
|Method #1, see below|
|Method #2, see below|
There are two different methods to follow from this point on; the carefree, anything goes method I learned from Spring Warren in this book, or the specific instructions described by Joan Gussow in this book. Both of these women are heroes of mine, and I own their books, referring to them often.
The second recipe will blow your socks off, and become a sauce that can totally stand on its own, but I go to the first recipe when I don’t wanna mess with measuring. Both sauces are handy; however, I label them on their own, specifying YUM to indicate that it can go directly into our supper rather than as an addition (for example, I will put the plain glut sauce into chili along with equal amounts regular tomato sauce, or into pasta with equal amounts pre-made pasta sauce). I also call this YUM sauce because while it roasts, your kitchen will become filled with the most delicious aroma you’ve ever inhaled. Even the kids agree on this. I can’t think of a better way to end the year’s tomatoes; a fragrant, happy goodbye that fills the house!
|Future pasta dishes and chili, yay!|
1. Carefree Tomato Glut Sauce
Fill your roasting pan with 2/3 tomatoes and 1/3 other stuff. Other stuff can be peppers, eggplant, onion, garlic, fresh herbs, pears, plums (the sweet additions give a nice balance of flavor). Roast in a 400 degree oven, stirring every 30 minutes or so, until you have a big pile of mush. Let it cool, then blend the heck out of it. If the veggies lost too much moisture while roasting, add water while blending until you have the consistency you want. Mine always turns out pretty thick.
2. Tomato YUM Glut Sauce -with actual measurements and stuff
(source: adapted from the NY Times and This Organic Life)
Once you’ve tried the recipe, experiment with other veggie additions.
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Put into large roasting pan (I divide everything up into two 9×13 pans):
6 pounds tomatoes (chop them in half to prevent exploding tomatoes)
1 1/2 c. coarsely chopped carrots (optional)
1 1/2 c. coarsely chopped celery
1 1/2 c. coarsely chopped onions (can use green onions)
9 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
6 T. balsamic vinegar
1 bay leaf (I break it in half to divide it into my two pans)
1 1/2 T. each fresh thyme, oregano, basil, parsley (or 2 t. dried)
1 1/2 t. salt
1 T. pepper (I used 2 t.)
Mix everything up a bit with your hands to evenly distribute the ingredients. Roast for 45 minutes until vegetables are soft. Let cool. Pulse in blender until it reaches consistency you prefer. Recipe says it will make 2 quarts, but when I make it, I get 2 1/2 quarts, which I freeze in 2-cup portions.