Oh. Hi there. Did you wonder where I'd gone? Did you think I'd gotten eaten by a rattlesnake? Stepped on by a rampid hog? Locked in the barn?
Alas, I have not.
I've been right here these past few days – okay, not right “here” but right here, if you know what I mean.
Summer, as we've learned, is like every season on the homestead – not for the faint of heart. If one wishes to live a lazy life, one should definitely choose a lifestyle other than this. Rather that sitting down after my kiddos go to bed at night (as I often do in the Fall and Winter), I immediately head outside with my wicker basket in hand to harvest the day's bounty from the garden. As much and as often as I harvest, there's always more left on the vines, bushes, and branches. I'm in awe. I can't believe what a productive year this has been for the garden.
And I don't say that boastfully.
I say that in awe because I've never had a year like this in all my years of gardening.
As you may remember, we expanded our garden space this year by a significant amount (like, seriously, a lot) and also had the added bonus of building our first greenhouse. There's so much garden space that I've actually got holes in the garden where more could have been planted but hasn't. I'll blame that partly on my full term pregnancy. Mama just ain't quite as motivated to bend over in the soil as she was a few months ago and thus, rotational planting has been slightly lost in the shuffle.
As has harvesting the tomatoes, which have not only shown up to the party this year, but have shown up with bells, whistles, clown hats, and a big ‘ol pitcher of margarita mix. Those tomatoes are here to party!
Unfortunately, because of said full term pregnancy, I've been having a heck of a time getting down low enough to harvest them. Whew. That's an awkward angle. And let's just pretend like last week I didn't completely crush a few basil plants by squatting down to harvest a Brandywine beauty, only to loose my balance and fall back completely on my giant rump.
Oh ya. That was womanly alright.
Luckily, my husband and Georgia have been quick to pick up my slack in the tomato-harvesting-department.
Owen? Well, he's been banished forever from the garden. Because he'll grab those beautiful, succulent, ripe gems and squash them like a bug between his fingers. Oh no you didn't, dude. That's it. Banished forever.
Each day, Stu and G-love will bring in a basket of cherry tomatoes – Tommy Toe and Yellow Pear are the varieties that we planted. HOLY COW. Talk about heavy producers. I've never seen cherry tomatoes like this! And thus, I've swiftly had to come up with something to do with basket after basket after basket of cherry tomatoes. Yes, we eat them fresh. And yes, we put them in everything we can think of. And yet still. There. Are. Cherry. Tomatoes.
I stared at them… we had a show down. Me vs. cherry tomato. And I won. Because I found the most delicious preservation method for cherry tomatoes known to man. And that's why we're here today, ladies and gentlemen. To explore said method of how to preserve cherry tomatoes.
How to Preserve Cherry Tomatoes (my favorite way!)
You will need:
– Baking sheet
– Cherry Tomatoes (duh, Shaye)
1. Con your husband into harvest all the cherry tomatoes. Ahem. Then, give 'em a quick wash and pop the green tops off.
2. Place on a large baking sheet. Or two… or three…
3. Place the baking sheet(s) into the oven. Pop it on to 300 degrees.
4. Roast the cherry tomatoes until they are slightly deflated, wrinkled, and browned on top. About 2 hours.
5. Let the tomatoes cool. Then, transfer to a mason jar or freezer container and pop 'em in the freezer for long term storage.
Here they are in all their frozen glory:
Shaye, you've shown me how to preserve cherry tomatoes. But how can I use them? I hear you whimpering.
To which I respond, go make you some homemade pizza crust and scatter some roasted cherry tomatoes over the top. Or just think about in February, when you're cold and dreary, popping some of these morsels into a warm pasta dish. Wouldn't that cheer up your tastebuds? They can be used in a million ways – just use them to replace canned tomatoes in any of your recipes. Booya.
I really like this preservation method for a few reasons. For starters, roasting the tomatoes really brings out a sweetness in the tomatoes and adds a ton of flavor. It's a worthwhile step, as opposed to just freezing the tomatoes which can leave them a bit watery and bland. For two, you can do it with a lot or a little. Some people don't have a massive enough quantity of tomatoes to can quart after quart with – with this method, you can roast and freeze the cherry tomatoes as you harvest them. No minimum requirements or huge messes to clean up – just a simple and easy way to enjoy tomatoes all through the year.
It's not rocket science. But it is life on the farm. And it's what my days have been full of!
I can't imagine much better.
Happy tomato preserving, my friends!