Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Daydreaming of...

Garlic Rosemary sauce ready for canning.

     During my Master Gardener Internship today I worked picking, weighing, and fussing over the rows and rows of massive tomato plants. Every variety we could cram into a test plot is bursting with hearty tomatoes (mostly green, but getting there). All that tomato pampering sent me dreaming of hearty home made tomato sauce roasted down with plenty of garlic; oh the craving.  
     We love homegrown tomatoes! It is no secret that I have a tendency to grow rows and rows of various tomato varieties year after year...but, I have my reasons. Aside from the delicious fresh tomatoes eaten straight off the vine or as a compliment to sandwiches and salads, tomato sauce is a staple we can't live without.

here: tomatoes spice or garlic
   From my own testing I can honestly say, every recipe I have for stewing or saucing tomatoes has worked fine cooking in the oven instead of the stove top (also does well in crock pot, but that's another post). My cooking style is extremely flexible and very "on hand demand"- yes, this drives some of my friends and family nuts, works great for me.

garlic and chilies added

oven version
for every 20 tomatoes
6 cloves garlic
olive oil
herbs (optional)

Cooking three variations at one whack.

   So here's the process. For every 20 tomatoes use: 6 garlic cloves and a 9x13 dish. Turn the oven on 375 and wash the tomatoes. Core the tomatoes and basically tear them into pieces (skin on, seeds in, you can rough chop them if it makes more sense) and place them in the dish. Clean and chop the garlic (mine is small/chunky) adding it to the tomatoes. Drizzle olive oil over the whole thing. Salt it good.
   Sometimes I stop here, stir it up and cook it - leaving herbs to be added when I use the sauce; not always. My herbs are generally fresh from the garden: rosemary, oregano, thyme- one or all or mix (remember, flexible). As you can see, sometimes, I make various mixtures all at the same time. Pictured here is one pan just garlic, one pan garlic/rosemary and one pan is garlic/chilies (oh, so good).
   The baking is 375 for about 30 minutes. From here I can put it straight into jars as roasted (stewed) tomatoes, or run it through a food mill to make a nice tomato sauce. I often freeze or pressure can it for later use. Excellent on pizzas, pasta, chicken, veggies or in soups. 
   Now, what I love about my flexi-recipe is it adjusts to "on hand". If I have ten tomatoes, adjust to three garlic. Drizzle with oil and salt/sugar. Cook. Five tomatoes..yep, just adjust. When the garden goes crazy and I harvest a bucket guessed it..just adjust! I can make one batch or several. A 9x13 or a big old roaster pan full. I can add garlic or herbs or work a straight tomato...See the joy here?

   Let me note: it takes 35 pounds of tomatoes for 6 quarts of sauce. When I use that many tomatoes, a roasting pan works just right for all of the tomatoes at one whack. Also, when I can tomatoes or tomato sauce, I add a splash of balsamic vinegar to each jar of sauce right before placing the lids on: 2 tablespoons for each quart or 1 tablespoon for each pint. This helps add acidity giving a longer shelf life.

    I don't know about you, but I am really ready for some abundant tomato harvests!



Anonymous said...

Looks delish! Makes me crave Fall weather, already! So what is a "Flex Recipe?" I am new to canning and am just starting to see the term pop up here and there.

I just skimmed through your berry post from earlier this spring. Do you can berry jam without packaged pectin? I see recipes for jam that are pectin free, but don't specify whether your apple needs to be large or medium. Many organic apples tend to run small. Which is what I'd prefer to use, to avoid trying to remove wax from apple skins.

Thank you, Michele!
Andrea L.

Simply Scaife Family said...

Hello Andrea,
Flex recipes are a project farm boy and I have been working on. These are recipes that accomodate either a large batch or small batch of produce.
As for the apple, we generally use a smaller organic/wax free apple when they are available..and, yes, we do can those jams and jellies not made with commercial pectin.
I hope this helps..feel free to ask any questions you need. Welcome to canning!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Michele. I canned for the first time today. It really increased my prayer time today. Lots of prayer, all the way through. lol! Now I know the joy of "popping"! I was very excited!

Andrea L.

Simply Scaife Family said...