I love it. I look forward to it all winter.
Winter. Those evil months when the ground is frozen and we eat our weight in root vegetables (if we’re lucky) and frozen or canned food from last summer (if we’re really lucky.)
Or fresh vegetables and fruits of every variety (if you are really really lucky and live in a tropical climate in which case I kind of hate you.)
My garden is slowing down now and I’ll give you a proper update when I get a chance to update my nerdy spreadsheet. But the tomatoes are still ripening like they are trying to beat the frost (so far, they are winning) and I’m waiting until I can give you the official harvest weight.
But let’s just say that I harvested enough tomatoes over the weekend to can 7 quarts of Roasted Tomato, Red Pepper, and Garlic Salsa and still had the approximately 5 pounds of tomatoes on this window sill leftover.
I took this picture on Sunday. Yesterday, there were more ripe cherry and yellow pear tomatoes. Lots more. That bowl is now overflowing.
I didn’t get, nor did I take any pictures of the canning salsa process, because 1) I am lazy, 2) I didn’t want to, 3) it’s kind of a pain in the ass to do a hundred things at once when canning is already a rather involved process, and 4) I wasn’t planning on doing it when I walked into the kitch at 4:30 pm on Saturday.
I used this recipe (mostly.) I roasted a pan of 5 pounds of roughly chopped tomatoes, some red peppers, 2 heads of elephant garlic, a few onions and some spices. Then I coarsely blended them with my immersion blender, and did the water bath canning thing.
It seems that I can’t get enough roasting tomatoes lately.
A coupe weeks ago, presented with a similar abundance of tomatoes, I made a HUGE batch of Roasted Tomato Soup.
Tomatoes fresh from the garden are already pretty sweet, but something about roasting really brings out the sweetness, without making them sugary-sweet if that makes sense, and gives them a little bit of a burnt taste. But not gross burnt; burnt in a good way.
So, sweet but not sweet. And burnt but not burnt. That makes sense, Katie.
For the soup, I used whatever tomatoes I had that were ripe. At the time, it was a mixture of many of the heirloom varieties I’m growing, including Puprple Cherokee, Brandywine Pink, Tie-Dye, and some Red Cherry tomaotes thrown in at the last minute.
So, this recipe gets a super fancy moniker, Roasted Heirloom Tomato Soup. Because anyone can make Roasted Tomato Soup, but can anyone make it with heirloom tomatoes?
Well, okay probably because heirloom tomatoes are getting popular at the farmers markets and whatnot, BUT can anyone make it with heirloom tomatoes that were grown in their own backyard and picked mere minutes before being roasted?
I didn’t think so.
Roasted Heirloom Tomato Soup (Makes about 6 cups)
- 1 large onion, sliced in half and each half quartered
- 3-3.5 pounds heirloom tomatoes, quartered
- 10 cloves garlic (about 1 medium head)
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1/2 tsp parsley
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 – 1 cup water (or chicken broth)
- sweetener, to taste
Wrap head of garlic in aluminum foil and place tomatoes and onion on a foil-lined roasting pan. Roast at 450 – about 25 minutes for the garlic and one hour for the veggies. Broil for the last 5 minutes to char the tops (optional, but it makes the soup look pretty and gives it an almost smokey taste.)
Transfer the veggies to a blender or a large bowl and add the rest of the spices. You may or may not need the water, depending on how juicy your tomatoes are (depends on the variety; mine were fairly juicy, so I used about 1/2 cup.) Blend or puree with an immersion blender to desired consistency. I like mine not quite pureed, but not really chunky either. Add salt and sweetener, to taste.
That’s it! You can eat it right away or do what I do – I freeze most soups in 1-2 serving portions for grab-and-go lunches when I’m in a hurry or not feeling like cooking.
Without getting to spoiler-y on you with the Big Harvest Spreadsheet Reveal that I’m planning on posting as soon as the remaining tomato plants finish up (there are still 5 big guys going strong outside!), I know that I am at over 40 pounds of tomatoes so far.
SO FAR. FORTY POUNDS.
I’ve done a fairly impressive (in my opinion) job of saving them also – 7 pints of Green Tomato Chutney, 6 pints of Curried Tomato Sauce, 7 quarts of Roasted Salsa, 6 cups of this Roasted Tomato Soup, 3 quarts of frozen (whole) tomatoes, countless baggies given away, and oh yeah I have been eating fresh tomatoes Every.Single.Day for the last month and a half.
Nothing, I repeat, NOTHING, is better than a sliced fresh tomato.
Okay, chocolate comes close. And coffee. And a good freshly baked cookie.
But nothing else.