5 Easy Ideas for Late Season Tomatoes

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Today on Good Food, Amelia Saltsman – author of The Santa Monica Famers Market Cookbook, talks to Laura Avery about what she likes to do with the glut of late season tomatoes.  All of Amelia’s suggestions are below…

There always seems to be a bit of a last-chance tomato glut before the season really does come to an end. Here are five easy ways to use them now and preserve them for future use…

  • Use them now in soups, sauces, and braises, especially with early fall ingredients such as shell beans and winter squashes. Late-season tomatoes echo our own autumnal food mood; their deeper flavor this time of year yields more robust dishes than those made with early season tomatoes. Try grating them (rub halved tomatoes against orange-cheese-side of grater!) into sautéed onions and simmer with cubed butternut squash, cooked shell beans, or diced Romano beans.
  • Throw them whole into the freezer. Once frozen, store in re-sealable plastic bag. To use, briefly run frozen tomato under tap water. The skin will slip right off, and the tomato will be ready to be turned into sauce or soup.  I learned this trick from tomato grower Ed Munak; leave it to a practical farmer to take the simplest route.
  • Slow roast them. Elongated, fleshy Roma-type tomatoes work best for this technique, but small round tomatoes will do. Cut tomatoes in half, toss with a bit of olive oil and salt and place cut side up in a pan. (Keeping tomatoes cut side up helps them keep their shape.) You can add red pepper flakes, black pepper, herbs, or a splash of red wine vinegar if you like. Roast at 300 degrees until shrunken, browned, and caramelized, 2 to 3 hours. Use as “ketchup,” side dish, to enrich a stew, or store in olive oil in the refrigerator up to 2 months. Freebie: tomato-flavored evoo.
  • Make Roasted Sauce. Cut everything you would normally use for tomato sauce (tomatoes, onions, garlic, herbs) into large chunks. Don’t bother to seed or peel tomatoes or chop the garlic. Throw everything in a large roasting pan, toss with olive oil, sea salt, and red or black pepper if desired. Roast at 400 degrees until tomatoes have broken down and are bubbly, and onions have browned in places, about 1 hour. You can stir it once during cooking time if you like. Use as is or put through a food mill. Sauce will keep in the refrigerator a couple weeks or you can freeze in small containers for longer storage.
  • Can them. It may take you a couple of hours, but well worth the effort. The tastier the tomato, the better the canned product, hence the better your winter sauces and stews. Follow directions from your favorite canning guide.