The last few weeks have been a blur of canning, preserving, and getting our household ready for winter. In the last two weeks I’ve frozen fire roasted tomatoes and canned dilly beans, roasted red peppers, pickled eggplant, zucchini relish, tomatoes, and elderberry juice. I’m going to show you the roasted tomatoes now, but after that which would you like to see next? I winged the zucchini relish recipe and forgot to write it down, but I think I can remember what I did.
Last weekend my husband and I hosted a wood splitting party in the woods. We invited lots of friends and family to come help us cut and split our winter wood supply, and I cooked breakfast and lunch over a campfire. We also a threw a little fun into the mix with some skeet shooting. This winter when the snow is blowing and the wind howling, we’ll remember our friends as we toss another log into the wood burner. As you can see, we still have a lot of stacking to do.
These are the real deal. Not oven roasted. Not the canned tomatoes from the grocery labeled “fire-roasted” (which taste nothing like what I make on my grill). This is painfully easy, but requires a little time and patience. I think it’s worth the effort. Although any tomato could be roasted, I highly recommend firm, ripe (but not overly ripe) plum style tomatoes which will hold up better on the grill. I grow San Marzanos and think they’re the best cooking tomato on the planet.
Wash and dry the tomatoes before roasting. Instead of dunking the tomatoes in scalding water to remove the skins, the tomatoes are going to be roasted to char and loosen the skins.
Preheat your grill, making sure it’s good and hot. This works best using screaming hot temperatures. Plop those tomatoes right onto your grill, and close the lid for a couple of minutes. Don’t be surprised if you hear some snapping and popping noises as the skins dry out and char.
I check the tomatoes frequently, and turn with a pair of tongs as the tomato skins split and blacken. The tomatoes will gradually soften as they roast, cooking them just enough to freeze well. I suppose they could also be canned, but I tend to use the roasting/freezing method when I have smaller quantities on hand that I want to deal with quickly. I save canning for a day when I have a lot of produce, and lugging out all of my canning equipment will be worth the effort.
Remove the tomatoes to a shallow pan to cool when the skins are loosened and charred.
Once the tomatoes are cool enough to handle comfortably, start peeling the skins off. Do not try to rinse them, or you’ll lose the flavor you’ve work so hard to get. It’s fine if there are little blackened specks on the tomatoes. After peeling, pack the tomatoes into freezer containers, pressing down to push out air bubbles. Pour any juices left in the pan over the packed tomatoes. Freeze for use in your favorite winter recipes. One of these days I’ll get around to sharing my Roasted Tomato and Wild Rice Soup.