Lots of heirloom tomatoes - what to do?
Got an organic box this week with a bunch of heirloom tomatoes. Our two-person household can't possibly eat all of them fresh. What to do? They're yellow, red, and green (don't know the specific varieties).
- tomato sauce to freeze
- salsa (to freeze?)
- gazpacho (how will that freeze?)
I also have a bunch of sweet red peppers. Think I can roast them and store them somehow?
Most of the heirlooms (and hybrids) in markets are for eating fresh and are too watery for cooking - unless they are plum style tomatoes which are meatier and are grown specifically for cooking. The best use for the salad style tomatoes is in things that are juicy anyway like soups and stews. You'll be making those all winter so you can freeze these tomatoes just as they are. Remove the skins (and the seeds if you want) and put them into ziplock bags for freezing. You can keep the colors separate. When you use them during the winter, it will be like adding fresh tomatoes to your recipes. You can even make gazpacho in winter since cucumbers are available year round in markets. The ingredients for salsa are too. Those things will taste fresher if you make them as you need them with fresh ingredients.
I freeze some tomatoes on sheets before bagging them for freezing, so that I can take out just one or two to add to a recipe during the winter.
Sweet red peppers freeze very well. Remove the stems and seeds, cut them into quarters and put the pieces into ziplocks. You can take out what you need for cooking all winter, chopping them while still frozen before adding them to recipes. They aren't good for salads because they do get limp and watery from freezing, but they're fine for cooking. Good to have on hand since it's hard to get color into winter foods.
I don't roast them because I don't always want that flavor in my dishes.
There's a great recipe for heirloom tomato soup on the splendid table website - I've made it a couple of times already this summer. It freezes well so you can have some now and save some for the middle of winter - highly recommend this recipe!
This'll help you. They also keep very well. They're handy to have for bruschetta, soup, sauce, etc.
The Washington Post, August 15, 2007
• Cuisine: Mediterranean
• Course: Appetizer, Condiment, Side Dish, Snack
• Features: Healthy, Meatless
The low heat of the oven turns these tomatoes almost jammy, shriveling them and concentrating their flavor beautifully. The amount of time it takes depends greatly on the size and juiciness of the tomatoes, so for the least fuss, don't mix varieties or sizes. Left long enough, they'll start to get a little chewy around the edges, which makes a nice counterpoint to the moisture inside.
Other herbs and spices, particularly cinnamon and paprika, can be substituted for the cumin, if desired. Put the tomatoes on bread or crostini for bruschetta, served as part of an antipasto platter with mixed olives, cheese and smoked fish; or toss with hot pasta for an instant sauce.
The tomatoes can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Makes about 3 cups
• 8 large tomatoes, stemmed (but not cored) and cut in half vertically
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 8 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground (see NOTE)
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper; do not overlap.
Place the tomatoes, cut side up, on the baking sheet. Season on the cut side with salt and pepper to taste, then drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon cumin on each tomato half. Bake for 8 to 12 hours, or until the tomatoes have collapsed and shriveled to about 1/4 inch thick; they should still be moist inside. Cool completely, then refrigerate in an airtight container.
NOTE: To toast cumin seeds:
Place a small skillet over medium heat. Add the seeds and toast, shaking the pan occasionally, for 2 to 4 minutes, until fragrant. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and cool completely.
From Joe Yonan.
99 calories, 6g fat, 1g saturated fat, n/a cholesterol, 89mg sodium, 12g carbohydrates, 3g dietary fiber, 3g protein