Monday, 6 February 2012

Preserving Oven Roasted Tomotoes

Felt like kicking my heels together today...the tomatoes are here and RIPE! This is by far my favourite time of year. A couple of years ago when suffering from a serious glut of tomatoes, I came up with the idea to oven roast them and preserve to keep for the year. Too be honest there are no hard and fast rules, I just tend to guide myself by quantity of fruit and what herbs I have going.  I will admit you don't get that much bang for your buck, but it is all worth it when you crack open that jar in a month or few!

Cut your tomatoes either in half or to a size which suits.
Put them into a bowl, add dried oregano, finely chopped basil and season well.
Mix gently to avoid mushing tomatoes add a splash of Balsamic or Sherry vinegar.

Set your trays out with cake racks on top. ( You can just use baking paper directly onto tray if you like).
Place tomatoes onto rack evenly spread, and place into oven for roasting.

Roast at around 180 degrees, just keeping an eye out that they don't burn. Usually in my oven about 15 to 20 minutes.

While tomatoes in the oven put clean jars and the lids into boiling water to sterilise. Once jars have been boiling for a few minutes carefully remove from water being sure not to touch or contaminate lid or inside of jar.

When choosing jars ensure they are clean reasonably new and don't have plastic rings. You are looking for jars that have the dent in the lid that makes the 'pop' when you open the seal.

Once tomatoes are ready spoon into jars ensuring there are no pockets of air. Just tap jar lightly on the bench to push down the fruit. When jar full pour some good olive oil over the top. You should only need a small amount if jar filled, pop the lid on tightly.

Now for preserving, we have a 'fowlers unit', but this is not essential. A boiling pot of water will do the same trick. Place the jars into the pot or unit so that the water is almost at the top but not covering the lid, bring to the boil.  Special note, this is not about cooking the fruit but sealing the jar so 5 minutes or so is usually enough at boiling point.

When you're done carefully remove from water and allow to cool. After a month or so the tomatoes will have marinated and be ready for eating. These tomatoes are great on sandwiches, salads or on a cheese platter with some tzatziki and crackers.
Store in cool dark place and enjoy.

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