Tidbit Thursday – Saving Your Tomatoes

It’s hard to believe it right now, but pretty soon, my garden will be overflowing with produce. Chief amongst the culprits will be the tomatoes. Oh, those glorious, red orbs of deliciousness.

Bacon and tomato sandwiches. Fresh slices of tomatoes sprinkled with salt and pepper. Tomato and Miracle Whip sandwiches on freshly toasted white bread.

In these dreary ‘winter has clearly not got the memo that it’s time to put it to rest’ days, these sound so tantalizing. But pretty soon, you can get tomatoed out. Gets to the point you can barely look at the suckers. And yet, they multiply. Or worse yet, if you are anything like me, the exposure to high levels of acid makes the sides of your tongue look (and feel) like they have been put through a paper shredder.

Here’s how to handle such bounty.

Sundried tomatoes, recipeSo, take your average tomato. This one is getting past it’s prime, clearly. Here, in a very economical fashion, we will save this produce from becoming another bottom of the fridge statistic.

Using a sharp knife with a pointed end, cut out the middle core of the tomato. It is not good eats.

Then, using a serrated or bread knife, carefully slice the tomatoes into uniformly thick slices. If you’d like to get real fancy, use your mandolin. But for the love of pete, use the safety. It will not do to confuse tomato juice with blood.

Next, line them all up on a tinfoil covered cookie sheet. You may also want to spray the tinfoil to help with removal later.

Lining the slices up like this does something wonderful for my inner A-type

Drizzle the whole kit and caboodle with a little olive oil, a grind of black pepper, and a small sprinkle of some type of non-iodized salt. I don’t know why non-iodized salt and I don’t know if it crucial or not. I just like to find a use for the multiple boxes of sea and kosher salt in my cupboard.

Pop the tray into a 250 F oven for a few hours. Yah, you heard me – a few hours. Convection bake or regular bake will work fine. If your oven has a roasting setting, don’t use that. The tops of the tomatoes will become burned before the bottom has had a chance to dry out.

Kind of like this. Reminds me of something I found in the back of a fridge once. It wasn’t pretty. Neither is this.

Don’t do this. It is highly counter productive.

And that’s it. Once they are completely cool, store them in an airtight container in the fridge. They will keep for several weeks. Drying them out will intensify their sweetness. This also helps winter, greenhouse tomatoes, who are notoriously lacking in flavour.

They work extremely well in sandwiches, pressed or not. Chopped up, they add an intense flavour to soups and stews. They are also great for pizzas. Since most of the water has been removed, they won’t make your crust soggy. Ditto for quiches and other egg dishes.

So, do you have any tricks for preserving an overabundance of produce?

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