Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Last of Summer . . .

There are a few benefits to living in the deep south.  It's mid-October and we haven't had our first frost yet.  Tomato vines will keep producing until frost . . . 
I made the most delicious soup with some tomatoes, some basil from the garden a dash of olive oil and the Vitamix.  It was so good that I wished I had started making it earlier in the summer.  It was so good that I figured it would be worth trying to freeze a few tomatoes so I could have it in the colds of winter.

The farm stand we use was still open the other day so I went for tomatoes.  You might as well eat them as long as you can right?  Tommy, the man who runs our stand, gave me this whole box of bruised tomatoes.  They are too bruised for him to sell, but for the most part the bruises were so small that I would have expected to buy these tomatoes with the rest anywhere else.  He suggested a preserving method for keeping them through the winter so I figured I would try it.

Of course, I did buy a set of the perfect tomatoes too.  Two of these went straight into tomato-basil soup in the vitamin and the other six went into the freezer, sealed tightly in individual zip lock bags.  When they come out, the texture won't be the same but if I'm just going to grind them up for soup, who cares?

 Back to the box of tomatoes - first I gave them a good bath.

 Then I laid them out to dry - ended up drying them because I am not a patient person.

 Tommy said not to bother to core them but I did take off the outside edge of the belly button.  

Then I just cut them in half . . . 

 and laid them out on baking sheets.

 We sprinkled them with dried basil (my favorite herb), a little oregano, and some of them got some italian spice mix.

 Then we drizzled them with a little olive oil.

 And they went into the oven with the temperature at about 225 - there to stay the entire day.

 This is what they looked like after a few hours.  You can see in the bottom corner and in between a couple of tomatoes that the olive oil is making it's way to the bottom of the pan.  By the time they were done, they were small and flat and the pan was filled with olive oil.  I didn't think I had used that much but maybe it was just mixed with the tomato juice.

 Finished they didn't look much like tomatoes anymore.  

I packed most of them up to freeze but I did leave one container out so I could try them in some soup - maybe today.



Jane McLellan said...

Your tomatoes look wonderful - I can almost smell them.

Cindy said...

Mmm, they look delicious. So you freeze them in the olive oil, and they are sort of dried? I would love to know how the soup is in the winter! Basil is my absolute favorite herb too.