Photo: Great grandparents at their farm in Blandinsville, IL, with five of their six children .. my grandpa was yet a twinkle in grandma's eye. Stable boy and governess also pictured. Hodges farm, circa 1903-4

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Rich, Thick, Hearty ..

Roasted Roma Tomatoes!  This past summer, I canned, froze and roasted well over 140 pounds of tomatoes.  Last night I opened up a quart labeled, 'Roasted Roma with Garlic' ... and, well, they are THE BEST canned tomatoes I've ever tasted.  I found the recipe in the 2010 Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving and wanted to give a shout out if you're interested for next summer.   What makes them so flavorful is that you roast them for a bit adding great flavor.  Here's the recipe:

Roasted Roma Tomatoes

Yield about 4 quarts (I'm so glad I made 12 quarts :)

12 pounds Roma tomatoes (I used a mix of Roma and Amish Paste tomatoes)
4 bulbs garlic
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1-1/2 cups chopped onion
1 Tablespoon minced fresh oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
bottled lemon juice

Roast tomatoes on grill or in broiler until skins begin to wrinkle and become lightly blackened in spots, turn to roast other side.  Remove from heat.  Place tomatoes in a paper bag and close tightly.  Cool until tomatoes are easy to handle, about 15 minutes.  Slip skins off tomatoes, cut in half and remove seeds.  Cut into 1/2 inch chunks, set aside.  Place garlic on aluminum foil and drizzle with the olive oil.  Wrap the foil tightly (place on a baking sheet) and roast in a 350F oven until tender (about 30 minutes).  Remove from oven and cool enough to handle.  Slip the garlic cloves from the skins and add to tomatoes.  Stir in the remaining ingredients and cook over medium heat until hot throughout.  Add 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice to each quart jar.  Ladle hot tomatoes into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace.  Remove air bubbles.  Adjust two-piece caps.  Process quarts 1 hour and 25 minutes in a boiling water canner.  Be sure to adjust for altitude (consult the directions in a reputable canning guide).

This recipe is the only one I'm going to use next year!!  Yah .. it's that delish!  It will make a GREAT start to a pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce, or bruchetta.  It's nice and thick .. no tomato paste needed for thickening your sauces.  Be sure to use Roma or Amish Paste tomatoes.