How to bottle sunshine – slow roast organic Romanian tomatoes in jars
summer in a jar
I’ve eaten tomatoes around the Mediterranean, I’ve eaten Mexican and Californian tomatoes and I love to eat tomatoes like a fruit but hear me out – Romanian tomatoes are simply the best except maybe for Mum’s home grown ones. So when you have the chance to buy proper slow grown heritage varieties grab all you can and when you cant gorge on them any more here is how to bottle that taste of summer. I try and avoid superfluous titles in my posts but these merit it.
How to preserve that flavour? Now personally along with other fads like the balsamification of food I am not a fan of “sun dried tomatoes” – I would rather put shoe leather on my plate. But semi dried or if you permit me to use the term, “confit” tomatoes where they are moist and the flavour has been concentrated down – thats a whole different ball game!
The best most flavourful ugly mug tomatoes money can buy plus bay leaves, rosemary, thyme and garlic to throw in the jars. This may look like I stalk veggie sellers in markets but you need to secure your tomato swag! the particular ones here and I could not stop nicking them off the trays both before and after roasting were from Nicole at La Tanti Ioana – beautiful veggie boxes.
What you want is lightly roasted, not blackened, and cooked through well, but not dried out. Many recipes call for olive oil to be dribbled over at this stage but I don’t bother. Why waste and ruin volatile oils whose goodness and flavor is maximized cold? Simply sprinkle a little salt and pepper over them. Slice in half horizontally. Roast at 90C until they decrease in volume by 50% – approx 2-3 hours in a convection oven or a day or two on a tin roof in the Balkans. But then I am accident prone…the whole tin roof thing while eco friendly….might not be me-friendly…
I love how they change
and you see the caramelised juices appear. Thats how I like mine. If you are fussy you can de-seed them before roasting. I think life is too short. Roasting the tomatoes of course doesn’t decrease their rich supply of lycopenes, a powerful antioxidant.
Then I prepare the jars adding the herbs that come to hand and that will infuse the tomatoes with a bit of added flavour. You dont have to do this – I just like to do it and it makes the resulting sauces and pestos even more effortless. If only people would believe that convenience food can also be home made.
So now squish in your tomatoes. I like to keep them looking orderly, I dont want tomato mush. These ones went in so well there was almost no room for a drizzle of olive oil or cold pressed sunflower oil.
and then they get to be water babies. Here they are with the sweet and sour cherries being taken to 100C for a good 30 minute boil to sterilise them.
Thats it folks! And you can do amazing things with them.
Use to make the fastest most intense Roast Tomato Sauce ever
Use to make the best Roast Tomato, Walnut & Lemon pesto ever
or just crush over toasted bread rubbed with a little garlic and the oil from the jar and have a glass of red wine.