Finally… the bombardment of tomatoes begins.
The grape tomatoes (Ildi) have been insane this year- we can barely keep up. Almost every day I go out there with my apron with the front pocket, and every time, I come back with a belly full of tomatoes. Luckily, they are so sweet, its just like grabbing a handful of candy. I have to say, I think we’ll grow a few less of these next year- not that I don’t like them, its just, they are best fresh and I like to save some of the tomato-ey goodness by canning. My husband was in charge of labeling the little seedlings this past spring, and I can’t say he’ll be taking on that job again next year! We basically lost track of what was what!
The chocolate cherry tomatoes are beautiful too, but I gotta say, I find the skins a little tough. I canned a small batch of them and removed the skins. They look really pretty in the jars.
Anyways, last week, enough of the larger, red tomatoes were ripe that it was time for some canning. As you may know, the first week of September was HOT in Lethbridge (lovely!) and it was too hot to turn the oven inside the house. What I usually like to do is halve the tomatoes, sprinkle them with herbs, garlic, s&p, olive oil and balsamic, and roast them in the oven, puree them, and can them. On this particular day, I had full reign of the house; my hubby was gone and I thought, “BBQ!” So I prepared the tomatoes (roma and duchess) as above and roasted them on the barbecue! It was actually a lot of fun and waaay faster than the oven. Each batch of tomatoes on the grill only took about 5 minutes. I have a cast iron grill on my bbq- its quite thick so things don’t fall through- I am not sure how this would work with the stainless steel type.
Then I canned everything and ended up with two different types of sauce; one more of a puree as I didn’t strain out the extra juice, and one a true sauce with the juice strained out and thickened longer on the stove. Not bad! They definitely have some bbq essence!
I also stumbled upon this excellent post on how to preserve 100 + lbs of tomatoes with almost no work. I LOVE #2 tomato sauce for busy people. A no frills approach- seeds, skins, keep all that tomatoey goodness! (except if you have the really tough skins like those chocolate cherry tomatoes!)
Round 2 of tomato sauce is coming soon- as soon as the roma’s turn red (man.. everything is so late this year!)