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Saving the Last of the Harvest

 
Tomatoes

 

Fall finally made it, and with that, it’s time to pick over the tomatoes, beans, peppers, and whatever else you might have lingering in your gardens one last time. You’ll want to savor what you can as it’s fresh off the vine, but what do you do with the excess? We have a few ideas. 

It’s hard to believe that in the next few weeks, we’ll be waving goodbye to good tomatoes. Most of those you pick up at the grocery store during the winter months are nothing more than placeholders until next summer. Here’s a quick recipe courtesy of the Splendid Table to take your excess tomatoes and make them into a treat to enjoy around Christmastime.

Candied Tomatoes

Ingredients
Tomatoes
Olive oil
Salt

Pre-heat your oven to 400°. Cut your tomatoes – in half for "tommy toes" (some folks call them cherry tomatoes), quartered (or smaller) for larger tomatoes. Place them on a cookie sheet or flat baking pan. Cover the tomatoes with olive oil then sprinkle with salt. Bake on the middle rack for 30 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350° and bake for another 30 minutes. Then, reduce the temperature one more time to 300° and bake for another 30 minutes. Your tomatoes will be “candied” and reduced a bit. The skins may start to brown a bit, and that means they are done. Let them cool and try not to eat them all as you’re pulling them off the pan to store (it’ll be hard, trust me, but remember, you want to enjoy this treat at the end of the year). 

Put in freezer containers with wax paper in between rows. They will freeze for up to three months. 

PeppersFrozen Peppers

It’s awesome to have peppers on hand for making spaghetti sauce or a breakfast omelet. You don’t have to run out to the grocery store, just use some of the last ones from your vines. Wash and dry your peppers. Then cut and seed them. Chop into small pieces and place on a baking sheet. Make sure that pieces don’t touch each other, then put in the freezer uncovered overnight. Remove the next day and store in a freezer bag or container. You’ll have peppers ready for winter stews, soups, and other goodies.

Tomato Salad

Tomato SaladIngredients
Tomatoes
Balsamic Glaze
Shredded Mozzarella (or better yet, fresh Mozzarella)
Olive Oil
Fresh Basil

Cut your tomatoes like you’re making a sandwich or maybe a little thinner. Layer them around the plate, then drizzle with glaze and olive oil. Add shredded mozzarella, then layer on more tomatoes, glaze, olive oil, and mozzarella. Top with fresh basil. Salt to taste.

Winter is a long and “tomato-less” season, so enjoy them now while you can.