Monday, September 14, 2009

Preserving the last days of summer

It's always sad to see the lengthening shadows and creep of autumn's brown. Luckily there's so much preserving to do it's easy to find ways to not dwell.

My mother brought me over a peck of apples last weekend. And this weekend I found a really good deal on some tomatoes so I had my work cut out for me.

The apples were mostly seconds, I expect she spent between 10 and 15 bucks for all of them. I made an apple pie, and I filled up my dehydrator with apple slices. Tonight I'm going to make applesauce with what's left and I'll freeze up part of it as baby food.

The tomatoes were all either small or spotty or both, it's been a rough year for tomatoes. But at less than a buck a pound, it's hard to say no. 10 bucks later and I have enough for a pressure canning batch. Most of them went into my much loved Roasted Tomato and Pepper sauce.

Cut up a bunch of tomatoes. 4-5 lbs per 9x11 pan. Quartering is fine, no need to dice. Make sure there's at least an inch to the top of the pan, fresh tomatoes are going to make lots of juice while roasting down, and if you put too many in one pan you'll just f*ck up your oven when it boils over. Anyway, I used ~9 lbs of tomatoes and filled two 9x11 pans.

Cut up onion, about 1 per pan. Cut up peppers, about 2 per pan. A word on peppers, last year I used bell and they were wonderful, this year there are lots of gypsy peppers at the market so I'm using those instead. Don't be afraid to use what's fresh and local at your market. The roasting caramelizes the peppers, which makes them sweeter, so you can even pick up some peppers that are usually too spicy for your palette. Cut up garlic, about one head per pan. (1 head of garlic should be 6-10 cloves) Toss onions and peppers and garlic in with tomatoes in the pan(s).
Drizzle olive oil over veggies, about 2 tablespoon per pan. Salt and pepper to taste, a handful of basil.
Roast for 1.5 hours at 450, stirring occasionally.
After roasting there should be nicely burnt/caramelized bits and the whole thing should be cooked down significantly.
At this point some people blend the whole mess into a smooth consistency. I don't, I prefer to be more honest with my vegetables. The sauce is good either way.
2 pans made me 3 quarts of sauce.

I made another 3 quarts of whole tomatoes with the best 2-3 lbs I had set aside from the initial tomato pile.

All 6 quarts went into the pressure canner, 15 minutes later at 11 pounds pressure and I was done. :-)


1 comment:

Ken said...

Looks awesome!