Use ‘Em Up: Stewing Hens

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You may have recently seen “stewing hens” on our Just Arrived menu and wondered what they were. Stewing hens (unlike roasting birds) are laying hens that are no longer productive egg producers. We encourage folks to try using stewing hens because it ensures the sustainability of our cage-free livestock operation, and because these hens have been pastured their whole lives, the flavor of the meat is incredible. They are about half the price of a roasting hen because it is a leaner, more mature bird.

Like beef roasts, stewing hens need to be cooked at a low heat for several hours before they will become tender. When cooked correctly, however, stewing hens yield delicious meat and rich, flavorful chicken stock, just in time for soup weather! Check out some tasty stewing hen recipes from the Deck Family Farm Blog.

Try this method for stock:

  • 10 qts water
  • 1 4-5lb chicken, or 2 smaller chickens.
  • 1lb carrots
  • ½ bunch of celery
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp pepper

Place all ingredients in a large stock pot or crock pot–no need to peel carrots or garlic).  Bring to a boil and simmer for an hour or two until the meat is cooked and loose on the bones. Check frequently to remove any foam that is at the top.

How long you cook the hens depends on how tough they are, and can vary from bird to bird. When cooked enough, the meat should be tender and the bodies of the hens should be starting to fall apart. Cooking a few hours too long isn’t bad, but it can make it a bit trickier to remove all of the bones from the meat because the chicken will be completely falling apart.

When you’ve determined that your hens are done, use tongs to remove the chickens from the pot. Allow to cool, then pick the meat off the bones. Use it in soups, enchiladas, casseroles, sandwiches–or freeze in baggies.

Return the bones to the pot and return the pot to a low simmer. Cook for as long as you desire, up to a total of 24 hours including the time you spent cooking the meat. Strain out the bones and store your finished broth in the fridge or freezer.

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Use ‘Em Up: Blueberry Mojito Smoothie

Please enjoy our newest guest series from Coach Sarah K., wellness expert, health coach, and Hometown Harvest customer! Her recipes and hints will help you use your bag items to maximize the healthy impact of eating local!

Delivery items: blueberries, almond milk, fresh mint, limes, yogurt

I recently got back from an awesome cruise in Alaska. In addition to seeing beautiful scenery (and wildlife!), we also got to try lots of new foods, one of which leads me to this little beauty below. We had a blueberry mojito sorbet for dessert one night, and it was so delicious! Light and sweet, refreshing and cool from the mint…a real treat! I decided that I could recreate this with a healthy spin, and my blueberry mojito smoothie was born! It is tasty, filling, refreshing, and packed with antioxidants. Blueberries are a great low-calorie snack and with the added protein from the yogurt, it would be a great post-workout refreshment.

The play by play:

fresh-blueberries

blueberries-and-mint

almondmilk-to-blueberries

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Blueberry Mojito Smoothie

1 c frozen blueberries

3/4 c. almond milk

12 fresh mint leaves

1 Tbsp coconut sugar

½ medium-sized fresh lime, juiced

½ c. Greek or non-dairy yogurt

Instructions

Place all ingredients in a blender and whirl away!

NOTE: I used frozen blueberries, but I actually had bought them fresh. I tossed them in the freezer before vacation and came back to an even more refreshing blueberry treat. You can easily use fresh blueberries here; just add a few ice cubes to the blender before mixing everything up.

Spring Delicacy: Fiddlehead Ferns

What do I do with Fiddlehead Ferns?

raw-fresh-fiddlehead-fernsYou’ve probably heard of Fiddlehead Ferns—these strange looking, green quarter-sized, coiled vegetables are the unfurled new leaves of a fern that resemble the shape of a fiddle. These young, wild edibles-turn-gourmet-veggie can be found across much of North America in the mid to late springtime.

Fiddleheads are ferns before they become ferns. They are the furled up stage of a fern when they just start to shoot through the ground in spring. As they emerge through the fertile, wet spring soil, they grow and unfurl quickly, sometimes lasting just a few days in their furled up stage. Don’t blink! Because before you can say “fiddleheads” they’re gone!

Though all ferns have a fiddlehead stage, it’s the Ostrich fern, a specific edible species, that has become synonymous with the word “fiddlehead.” Their taste is often described somewhere between asparagus, broccoli and spinach. Sometimes found at farmer’s markets, most people must forage in nature, in secret, well-guarded locations spending hours carefully examining local foliage (picking the wrong plant can be dangerous!) and then spending hours harvesting enough to make the efforts worth it.

We’ve saved you the trouble of hunting them up! For a limited time, we’ve got Fiddlehead Ferns delivered fresh to your doorstep. Now what to do with them?

How to Prepare Fiddlehead Ferns

fiddleheads-in-paper-bagFirst things first, your fiddleheads should be cleaned. If you find they have a brown chaff clinging to them, a good shake can take care of that. Place your (dry) fiddleheads in a paper bag and shake them vigorously for a brief moment. When you peek in the bag you should find that most of the brown papery flakes are now in the bottom of the bag and the fiddleheads are significantly cleaner. Lightly rub or brush the dry fiddleheads, to remove as much of the brown papery flakes as possible then finish by washing anything that remains off in cold running water. Rinse in a colander, pat dry.

How to Cook Fiddlehead Ferns

What to do with these spring delicacies? First, make sure you do cook them! You can get sick if you eat them raw or don’t cook them long enough. Raw fiddleheads contain thiaminase which is a vitamin B depleting enzyme. Heat destroys this enzyme and makes them safe to eat. There are a wide range of ways in which to cook and enjoy these wild edibles.

  • They can be eaten steamed, boiled, in soups, sautéed or stir-fried, fried or baked.
  • Use fiddleheads like you use any vegetable. They work beautifully with egg dishes like omelettes and frittatas, go great with pasta dishes, soups and stir fries but also work alone as a side dish to accompany meats and fish.
  • A classic way to cook and serve them is sautéed with just some butter or oil and seasoning. This is a great way to try them for the first time.
  • Try them tossed with crisped, crumbled bacon and sauteed garlic and wild mushrooms.
  • They are also great on pizza, in scrambles, spaghetti sauce and casseroles.

Basic Cooked Fiddleheads

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add fiddleheads. Boil 5-7 minutes.
    • Blanching ensures that the fiddleheads cook evenly. This would be more difficult, though not impossible, if they are added directly to the sauté.
    • Blanching helps to avoid overcooking. You can keep a close eye on them so that they don’t turn to mush.
    • If the fiddleheads are slightly bitter, the water will draw out the bitterness – you leave it behind in the cooking pot.
  • Drain, lightly pat dry.
  • Heat butter in a skillet on medium-high. When butter is melted, add fiddleheads. Saute til all sides are lightly browned.
  • Or, heat olive oil and minced garlic in a skillet on medium heat. Add fiddleheads. Saute til all sides are lightly browned.

sauteed-fiddlehead-fernsEat ’em!
• Enjoy sautéed fiddleheads as a side.
• Use sautéed fiddleheads in omelettes and frittatas.
• Top pizza.
• Serve as a side dish-sauteed leeks and fresh spinach—these sautés, incorporating rich flavors, will compliment the fiddleheads by contrasting their assertive woodsy green taste.
• Toss with pasta.

Wild Fiddlehead Fern and Mushroom Sauté

fiddleheadferns-and-mushrooms
serves 2
2 oz. extra virgin olive oil
half a small onion, chopped
2-3 strips of bacon (optional)
2 large garlic cloves, minced
6-8 oz. assorted fresh mushrooms, cleaned and cut to desired size
1 Tbsp. butter, if desired
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
a small handful of fiddlehead ferns (about 20 pieces)

Bring a small pot of water to a boil.
Meanwhile, in a skillet set over a medium flame, heat the olive oil. Add the onions, and bacon if using, and cook, stirring often, until the bacon has rendered its fat and is beginning to brown, and the onions are softened and golden. Stir in the garlic. Cook for another minute and add the butter if using. Add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms are fully cooked. Season all with salt and pepper.

When the mushroom and onion mixture is nearly ready, season the boiling water with salt. Add the fiddlehead ferns to the pot and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until they are tender. Remove the fiddleheads with a strainer or slotted spoon and add them to the mushroom sauté. Toss together, adjust seasonings, and serve.

Fiddleheads are best to use soon after procuring, but they will last in your fridge for at least a week. They freeze well, if you’re of a mind. Or, try pickling them!

Freezing Fiddleheads

single-layer-fiddlehead-fernsFiddleheads freeze well if you would like to set aside a bag or two to enjoy during winter. Blanch them for two minutes in small groups in 4-6 cups of water at a time—transfer immediately to and ice bath until cool. Dry the fiddleheads. Lay fiddleheads in a single sheet on a baking pan. Stick them in the freezer overnight. Remove frozen fiddleheads and place in a storage bag or container. When you thaw them just remember, you still should cook them before eating them.

Crunchy, Refrigerator-Pickled Fiddleheads

Pickled fiddleheads make a great snack and a unique gift to friends.
canned-fiddlehead-ferns

1 lb fiddlehead ferns, rinsed and trimmed
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
2 cups white wine vinegar (substitute cider or rice wine vinegar)
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
2 star anise
1 tsp Rainbow Peppercorn blend
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp crushed chile peppers
1 2-inch cinnamon stick
¼ cup sugar, Demerara or Turbinado
1 bay leaf
1 cup water

Rinse the fiddleheads under cold running water and trim the broken ends with a sharp knife.

Heat a large pot of salted water (about 1 Tbsp per quart) to boiling. Blanch the fiddleheads in the boiling water for about 30 seconds, then drain immediately and plunge them into ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain again thoroughly and place into a large non-reactive heatproof bowl.

Peel and thinly slice the shallot into rings and toss into the bowl with the fiddleheads.

In a large, non-reactive pot, heat the remaining ingredients to boiling, then reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Pour the hot vinegar/spice mixture over the fiddleheads. Allow to stand until cooled to room temperature. Cover tightly or ladle into jars and refrigerate for up to two weeks.

Feeling inspired now? Share your thoughts on Fiddlehead Ferns below!

Spring Harvest: Rhubarb

rhubarb-slicesGo ahead and stock up on abundant spring Rhubarb—we’ve got plenty of uses for it!

Don’t feel that you have to process all of your rhubarb at once. Freezing is definitely an option. Be aware that rhubarb will lose its shape as it thaws. However, as you’ll be cooking it anyway, frozen rhubarb is perfect for jam, chutney, or jelly recipes that don’t necessarily require a crunchy rhubarb texture. Put it up now and treat yourself with that tart, spring flavor once the cool weather hits and you’re ready to turn on the oven!

Freeze It

  • Slice the rhubarb according to a recipe: stalks, chunks, dice.
  • Rinse and pat dry.
  • Pack recipe-sized portions into a Ziplock bag, or airtight freezer container. Rhubarb pieces may freeze together, but if you’re just going to cook it later, it shouldn’t matter.
  • Alternately, you can line your rhubarb pieces individually on a baking sheet and freeze. Once pieces are frozen, store in a Ziplock bag or container.

rhubarb-compoteBasic Rhubarb Compote

6 cups fresh chopped rhubarb, washed
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup maple sugar or brown sugar

Combine all ingredients in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cover and simmer gently for about five minutes. Rhubarb will begin to soften. Uncover and continue to cook another five minutes.
Remove from heat, cool.

Makes about three cups. Will keep in fridge for up to two weeks (if it lasts long!)

Note: Add any of your favorite to this basic compote recipe. Strawberries and rhubarb are best friends, but peaches or cherries would also work.

canned-rhubarb

Canned Rhubarb

2 1/4 pounds rhubarb
3/4 cup granulated sugar

Trim ends from rhubarb and slice stalks into 2 inch x 1/4 inch batons. Place cut rhubarb in a large stainless stockpot or dutch oven. Toss rhubarb with sugar. Cover and let rhubarb macerate for 4 hours to release its liquid. ( I occasionally stirred the rhubarb during this maceration phase.)

After 4 hours, place pot holding the rhubarb (and all of its released liquid) onto the stove top. Turn the flame to medium-high. Stir regularly while bringing the pot to a boil. Once boiling, count to 10 and remove the pan from the heat. (If you cook the rhubarb any longer, the fibers really break down and the consistency gets soft and mushy like stewed rhubarb.)

Using a slotting spoon, immediately place rhubarb into jars and pour liquid over the top. Seal jars. Let jars cool to room temp and rest for 12 hours. Your canned rhubarb will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.
To preserve canned rhubarb for an extended period, you’ll want to immerse sealed jars into a water bath for 15 minutes, to ensure jars form a tight seal.

stewed-rhubarb

Stewed Rhubarb

4 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb
2/3 cups white sugar
1/3 cup water
2 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine the rhubarb, water and sugar and place in the crockpot. Cover and cook on low setting for 6-7 hours. Turn off the crockpot, add butter and vanilla. Combine well. Allow to cool before spooning into jars. Serve chilled.

We’ve got more Rhubarb Recipes!
Rhubarb Liquor
Rhubarb Chia Jam
Rhubarb Salad

(And so do lots of others!)

Spring Bounty: Asparagus

bulk-asparagusAsparagus is one of our favorite spring vegetables. The short season makes us appreciate it all the more. But, by employing one of our recommend preserving methods below, you can enjoy asparagus all summer long and into fall (if yours lasts that long!)

Freeze it.
Pull out a ziptop bag of frozen asparagus spears and steam for a quick side dish, or add to winter soups.

First step, blanch. Blanching the asparagus prior to freezing stops the enzyme process that causes vegetables to lose nutrients and change texture once they are frozen.

Rinse asparagus spears. Cut into ½” pieces. Bring a pot of water to boil. Once boiling, dump in asparagus pieces. Allow to boil 2-4 minutes. Remove from boiling water and immerse in a bowl of iced water to stop the cooking process. Allow pieces to cool, then freeze in a single layer, in the freezer. Once pieces are frozen, store in a zip top bag for up to a year.

spicy-pickled-asparagus

Pickle it.
Perfect for snacking, right out of the jar, or add to salad for a flavorful kick. Jars of Pickled Asparagus will keep in the fridge for up to 30 days…if they last that long!

7 pint jars
5 lbs asparagus
5 c apple cider vinegar
¼ c water
¼ c canning salt
2 tbsp sugar
¼ tsp red pepper flake (optional)
2 tbsp fresh, minced garlic

Trim asparagus just 1” shorter than your canning jars. Pack spears vertically into clean, hot jars.

In a non-reactive pan, combine brine ingredients, the apple cider vinegar through garlic. Bring to a low boil; allow to boil for 5 minutes.

Ladle the brine into the canning jars until the asparagus spears are completely covered, leaving ½ “ headspace between the liquid and top of the jar.

Process for 15 minutes in a water bath canner.

You can adjust the amounts of spices, garlic, and red pepper flakes to make your asparagus more spicy or more mild, as you prefer.

Boil it.
Heavens no…do not boil your asparagus! You’ll end up with an olive-colored mushy mess. After canning 5lbs of asparagus spears, you should 6-8 cups of leftover stalks. Don’t compost them—make stock!

6 c asparagus ends
9 c water
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large carrot, grated
1 handful parsley sprigs
1 tsp pepper

Combine all ingredients into a 4-qt saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Skim off any impurities that rise to the top. Turn the heat down to low and cover with lid. Simmer for an hour. Remove from heat and strain. Cool completely before storing. Your veggie stock will keep for about two weeks in the fridge and up to six months in the freezer.

Roasted Kabocha Squash & Cremini Mushrooms

Roasted Kabocha

I first tried kabocha (ka-BOTCH-a) squash last year when my husband and I were browsing through one of our favorite cookbooks – Clean Food. The recipe was for a stuffed kabocha squash, and it was heavenly!

I love squash that I don’t have to peel (since that can be a bit of a pain), and kabocha squash is one you can enjoy in its wholeness – skin and all!

Today’s post features another recipe from Terry Walters, author of the Clean Food cookbook and a fellow graduate of my health coaching training program. Her cookbooks focus on eating real, whole, seasonal food.

Kabocha Squash Collage

This recipe combines three of my favorite things – kabocha squash, mushrooms, and fresh fall herbs (especially sage!).

Kabocha squash, also known as a Japanese pumpkin, has an edible dark green skin covering a deep orange flesh and cooks up a bit sweeter than butternut squash. It’s one of my favorite squash, but it has a short season, so I try to take advantage of it while I can.

This dish also contains a couple of the best GBOMBS foods we can eat, including mushrooms and leeks. GBOMBS are the highest nutrient foods we can eat and are anti-cancer, anti-fat storage foods. Click here to read more about GBOMBS and how you can add more of them to your diet.

Roasted Kabocha

Ingredients

2 small or 1 large Kabocha squash
2 leeks*, sliced lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch strips (cut off the dark green top!)
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted OR extra virgin olive oil (I use coconut oil for high heat recipes, since it’s more heat stable)
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 pound cremini mushrooms, wiped clean (leave the whole)
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
1 tablespoon fresh sage, minced

This squash tastes even better the second day, heated up on the stovetop in a bit more coconut oil, some black pepper, and a touch more balsamic. You may also find that you want to toss it in a little extra oil and vinegar when you take it out of the oven the first time to restore some of the moisture.

*I found that the leeks burned when I put them in right away, as the recipe suggests, so I would recommend putting them in after the first 10 minutes instead of at the very beginning of cooking. You could also try lowering the oven temperature to 400F to see if that makes a difference.

For the full recipe click here.*

Here are a few more recipes that feature this sweet & delicious squash!

  1. Stuffed Kabocha Squash 
  2. Kabocha Squash Ice Cream with Maple Roasted Pecans
  3. Roasted Kabocha Squash Bowl with Autumn Vegetables

Curried Red Kuri Squash {What It Is & How to Cook It}

IMG_7168Remember learning about “homophones” in grade school?

I was a bit of a nerd about the English language (12 years of Catholic schooling will have that effect on you!), so I clearly recall lessons about homophones.

They’re two words that sound the same but are spelled differently.

Like kuri….and curry.

Totally different spelling – same pronunciation. No wonder English is so hard to learn!

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So, what the heck is red kuri squash...and what do you do with it?

  • It looks like a small red-orange pumpkin but without the ridges.
  • It can be cooked and eaten with the skin on (yay for saving a step and not having to peel it!).
  • It’s loaded with filling fiber, and vision/heart/immune-boosting vitamins.
  • Its golden-orange flesh is slightly nutty and sweet.
  • You can roast it, puree it into a soup, or braise it – which is what I did today!

This was my first time making kuri squash, but I just followed the same process of breaking down any other squash – cut off the top (stem) and bottom ends, cut it in half, scooped out the seeds, and then chopped it up.

I think you’ll really like this recipe and the others included below as you try kuri squash for what might be the first time! 🙂

curried kuri

Ingredients

  • 1 red kuri squash, halved, seeds removed, chopped into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (or grass-fed butter)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½-2/3 cup water

Directions

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil, followed by the squash, and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Stir in the garlic, curry powder, cayenne pepper and cinnamon, then add ¼ inch of water (~1/2 – 2/3 cup) to the skillet and bring it to a boil.
  3. Once it’s boiling, cover the skillet and reduce the heat to a simmer (low heat). Cook until the squash pierces easily with a fork, about 15-20 minutes.
  4. Drain off any excess liquid (I had some extra) and then taste and season with sea salt.

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Looking for more kuri squash recipes? Try one of these!

 

Preserving the Harvest: Roasted Tomato Sauce (Pt. 2)

Now that it’s nearly Thanksgiving and time to clear out space in the freezer for leftovers, we’re finally going to make our simple Roasted Tomato Sauce. The tomatoes have been waiting in the freezer since late summer, and with the BEAUTIFUL fall we’ve had this year, it was nice to get outside to play and not worry about “putting up” lots of summer produce immediately.

Check out our Part One post about roasting Romas with garlic and light seasoning. Really half our sauce work is already done!

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We had about 18 of these frozen pints of roasted Romas. Using a bit of olive oil at the bottom of the biggest pot we had, we sautéed up a red and a yellow onion, and about 3 minced cloves of garlic. Then, quite ungracefully, we dumped in the frozen pints of Romas.

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Over medium heat, the tomatoes defrosted and married flavors.  We added 4 pints of water to the pot (using the same pint containers from the freezer).

20131124-084240.jpgOnce the tomatoes were heated through, we used a stick blender to puree the sauce to our desired consistency (chunky, please!). Because we had seasoned the tomatoes before freezing, we didn’t need to do so now. By keeping the sauce very simple, it can be used for a wide variety of dishes later on.

20131124-084249.jpgThe finished product can be canned up according to safe canning instructions, or refrozen. We ended up leaving a few pints of tomatoes frozen in halves for later use, but the versatile sauce we created can be used in pastas, pizza, chili, masala dishes, soups, and anywhere tomato paste or canned tomatoes are called for.

New Product Alert: Hometown Harvest Apple Cider!

Local apples are blended and minimally processed to preserve vitamins and nutrients!

Local apples are blended and minimally processed to preserve vitamins and nutrients!

We are thrilled to share that we have been developing our own blend of LOCAL apple cider for you, our customers!

One of the main reasons we thought of cider is because we needed to find a way to use “juice” apples this winter for our local apple growers.  During the winter months as we receive fresh local apples, we send the best to our customers. The apples that are not as pretty, but just as full of healthy nutrients, will go to juice. Tony has been working with our dear friend Matt over at Chelsey Farm to develop our own blend and we have been fine-tuning the taste of the cider.

The new mill is called Big Hill Ciderworks, a small-batch, local cider mill that just began pressing this year.  They use a great processing method that allows for the preservation of as many nutrients as possible through UV light pasteurization.  This means that the cider passes through a UV light to kill any potential harmful bacteria. Traditional pasturization uses high-heat methods, which can hurt the nutritional value of the juice.    The cider from Big Hill Ciderworks creates a  less processed product, and tends to keep more of the natural flavors of the cider, while still eliminating 99.999% of any potential harmful bacteria (the same result as the high-heat process).

We’re so excited to have you try this healthy, local product that we will be giving away a pint of cider with every order next week! Please give us your feedback, and thanks as always for supporting sustainable, local businesses by being a Hometown Harvest member!

Preserving the Season: Roasted Roma Sauce (Pt. 1)

tomatoes

It’s bulk tomato season!

It’s Kaitlyn again, and this time I’m working through a couple boxes of bulk Roma tomatoes from my delivery this week. If you’ve been afraid to try ordering in bulk because of the work involved in “putting up” the tomatoes, let me reassure you. I am one of the LAZIEST cooks out there, so my method is nearly the easiest you’ll find.

Oh yeah? Well then why are there two parts to this recipe, you ask? Because I’m SO lazy (and am overly busy with cramming in end-of-summer activities and getting ready to send both of my boys to preschool in a week) that I’ve divided up the work to make this sauce EVEN EASIER. Here’s how.

Sliced tomatoes

Slice lengthwise, add some olive oil, S&P, and sliced garlic.

Sort the tomatoes

If you don’t have time to get right to work the same day your box arrives, take 10 minutes to quickly inspect the tomatoes for signs of extensive bruising or rotting, and discard tomatoes that won’t make it another day or two. It’s normal to have a handful of bad tomatoes in the box, and getting rid of them will help the others last longer.

Rinse, slice, prepare

It doesn’t get easier. No peeling, no removing seeds. Simply rinse the tomatoes, slice in half lengthwise, and place in a baking dish, roasting pan, whatever you have that is oven-worthy. Be sure to drizzle the pan with a little olive oil first, then drizzle a little more over the tomatoes once they’re in the pan. It’s ok to crowd them in and overlap a little, just keep it to one layer. I love adding sea salt & black pepper, and a few sliced cloves of garlic (or whole cloves…it doesn’t matter much).

Roast at 350° for 2.5 hours

This is the “set it and forget it” part. Roast several pans of tomatoes at once for anywhere between 2 and 3 hours, depending on how hot your oven is. Check them halfway through and rotate pans that appear to be cooking unevenly if needed. Your house will smell like a pizzeria in Sicily.

roasted tomatoes

Pop one in your mouth, and try not to eat the whole batch!

Cool and freeze

Pull ’em out, let them cool for a minute, pop one into your mouth and consider eating the whole pan. If you can control yourself, throw the roasted beauties into a freezer bag or plastic storage container, packed in tight, and freeze for another day. This method allows for you to work through batches of tomatoes when you have the time, and you’re not committed to making tons of sauce—there are plenty of dishes in which to use roasted tomatoes. I like to keep some in the freezer to use as a base for chili, or in a masala dish later on. The rest will be jarred up for classic tomato sauce….some other day. When I get around to it. 🙂

Stay tuned for Part 2 (Roasted Tomato Sauce) after bulk tomato season is over, and try this method on a box for yourself!