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Fun with tomatoes

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Here on California's Central Coast, tomato season is ending, so I've been slow-roasting and preserving and doing fun things with lugs of these end-of-season beauties.

Like a snout-to-tail chef, I've been focused on using nearly every part of the tomato. I set up an organized prep system to process the love apples.

First I blanched them whole for a minute and then plunged them into an ice bath. Then they slid out of their skins (which went into the compost because I couldn't think of a use...any ideas?).

These were juicy, big beefsteak-like tomatoes, so I inserted a knife to make an opening and then gently squeezed out the seeds and tomato water (set aside for another use). The tomatoes went onto a sheet pan.

I sprinkled the tomatoes with olive oil and a blend I made and ground of dehydrated roasted garlic, coarse salt, a little sugar, and thyme.

Then they were roasted at 200° for several hours until they caramelized. Every 15 minutes during the first hour, I extracted the juices that were flowing out of the tomatoes (a lot because of the juiciness of the produce).

I strained the seeds from the collected tomato water and simmered the tomato water with the extracted juices from the roasting trays. As it condensed, the flavor became extraordinary. I'm using that for the base of a fresh tomato soup.

The seeds went on a sheet and into the oven to dry out. Next year I'll see if they will sprout for a new generation of plants.

I'm interested in tips for preserving and storing the seeds. Any ideas?

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  1. Lovely - just be careful that you don't overheat the seeds when drying them. I wouldn't have put them in the oven. Just spread them out on a paper towel-lined tray and leave to dry at room temperature. Once completely dry, vacuum package or store in a tightly covered jar in a cool dark place until next spring.

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