Though there are at least six or seven more weeks of truly hot weather* left in this season, I can already feel Fall starting to make inroads. Mornings have been cooler (though we are expecting another wave of heat starting tomorrow) and the air smells slightly of crunchy leaves and transitions when I leave work. Summer is waning and it’s high time that I think beyond my beloved jams and frivolous pickles and start stashing away staples.
The tomatoes you see above are part of my winter security blanket. They started life as two pints of grape tomatoes. Cut in half, drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper, they roasted at 300 degrees F for 2 hours (note: your time may vary depending on how how your oven runs, how tightly you pack your tomatoes onto the baking tray, much moisture the tomatoes contain. Start checking at 30 minutes and check every 15 minutes or so thereafter to prevent burning). Packed into 1-cup portions and frozen, these will become key players in pasta sauces, soups and braises on those cold, short days.
These are similar to the long roasted romas that I wrote about last summer. The nice thing about grape tomatoes is that their smaller size means they cook up more quickly. You can pick up a couple extra pints on a Saturday and have them halved and roasting before you get the rest of the groceries put away. A load of laundry later and they’re done.
They go down easy (particular if you have some crusty bread around), so do your best to save a few for the freezer (yes, the freezer. They can’t be canned). Oh, and if you just want to cook up a few to eat with dinner, I recommend trying them over turkey burgers in place of ketchup. It’s really good.
While you wait for your tomatoes to roast, make sure to click over to the Eat Boutique Summer Picnics Gift Box giveaway. If you like what you see and want to buy one for a friend, the nice Eat Boutiques folks are offering a free shipping code to all Food in Jars readers. Just enter “FIJ” at check-out.
*This is at least the case for the mid-Atlantic region in which I live. Pacific Northwesterners, I can’t even predict what your weather is going to be like.
What about using cherry tomatoes? I have several cherry tomato plants in my garden that should start producing any day now.
That’s totally fine. I used grape tomatoes because that’s what I had. You can substitute any small tomato for the grapes.
I do this with a variety of cherry and grape tomatoes. The very small ones I just leave whole.
Why can’t they be canned?
Cheryl, they’re not safe to be canned because they’re no scientifically tested method for doing so. I’m not a food scientist, so I’m unable to develop a technique for canning them. In order to do it safely, you’d have to either find a canning medium that wouldn’t dilute the flavor and greatly acidify them, or someone would need to develop a method for pressure canning them. The problem with pressure canning them is that tomatoes are fairly fragile and the high heat of the pressure canner would probably break them down into mush.
Oh MY! Those look amazing, I have a fridge full of tomatoes looking for something to be done with them and I think we have a winner!
Never refrigerate tomatoes!
I could eat roasted grape or cherry tomatoes every day. I miss them dearly in the winter and never really thought about freezing them. Thank you!
Can’t wait for all mine to ripen….
This looks so good. I have HUNDREDS of grape & cherry tomatoes ready, but sadly, NO extra freezer space. DRAT! Maybe I can find someone to take them and enjoy!
This sounds amazing! Can’t wait to try it out 🙂
Oh, those are some of my favorite things in the whole world. I made a ton last summer, roasted a little longer so they are halfway between roasted and dried. I tossed them in everything over fall, winter and spring. 😀
I *just* wrote a blog post about slow-roasted cherry tomatoes! 🙂 Your recipe is a bit different, and faster, so I will give it a try with my next batch. While we didn’t grow Romas this year (sad face…), I’m definitely going to be sure they make an appearance next year. They are my favorite tomato – so versatile and just the perfect size. And then I’ll be slow-roasting Romas, too!
Great minds! I love your addition of rosemary!
I adore roasted tomatoes and really should try them at home. Thanks for the recipe!
I made your slow-roasted about 2 weeks ago and FELL. IN. LOVE. I took a jar of them to a potluck and they were gone!!
I will be making these…TODAY!
I’m new to canning/preserving. Can I use yellow pear tomatoes too? PS I tried your slow cooker Blueberry Butter and it’s so yummy. I made two batches and anticipate some will be Christmas presents.
Bridget, you can use any tomato you’d like! I’m so happy to hear you like the Blueberry Butter!
I have some monster cherry tomato plants. I just posted some pictures of them on my blog. I can’t keep up with them! I wasn’t sure how they would freeze. Now I know what I’m going to be doing tomorrow. If you lived closer, I’d share the wealth!
I’ve been doing something similar for the last 2 years. I put Italian Seasoning on mine instead of the salt and pepper, but I read recently that the salt helps to draw out the moisture so they dry better. I’ll be trying that this year. And I freeze mine in smaller amounts than 1 cup by putting them in a small zippered freezer bag.
i canned strawberry vanilla bean jam and chicken breast, so far. my tomatoes are starting to ripen so that will be my next project.
i really enjoy your blog and share it with my group on facebook. thanks so much.
I am also anxious to get into the serious canning of the season. While I love my jams and pickles, there is something about tomatoes that makes things a-ok with the world.
Hurray!! I now have a direction to manage all the ripening grape tomatoes that have volunteered to grow in my garden!!!
Yummy! My dad uses his dehydrator and freezes but this is a much better technique IMO.
These look fantastic! Can’t wait to buy some grape tomatos this weekend!
Thanks for calling out the Pacific NW weather. Here in Portland we have barely had summer start and everyone throughout the rest of the country wants it to end! Hopefully we can switch weather patterns so my tomatoes will ripen…
I made a few batches of slow-roasted romas last year and loved them so, so much all year. I would sometimes just take out three or four, slice them, and add them to a pan for eggs. They are so much better than the oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes you find at the store. Can’t wait to make more!
Come on, SUN!
My parents live in Portland, so I’ve been getting the blow-by-blow update on the lack of summer. Apparently, their tomatoes just pooped out. It’s sad.
still waiting on the tomatoes to ripen here, too. thank goodness for the farmers market to get us through this (kinda pathetic) summer season!
I love roasting tomatoes (do it quite often) and with them, I actually puree them into a dressing. When I roast the tomatoes, I add a couple of whole cloves of garlic, and with the juices throw into a blender, add a bit of balsamic dressing, extra virgin olive oil, a touch of dijon mustard and a bit of mascarpone cheese. Oh my…pure heaven. Of course salt and pepper to taste!
That looks absolutely fabulous!!!
Are those roasted garlic cloves in with the tomatoes? Do you peel them before freezing?
I steamed freshly harvested garlic last weekend for the first time and it was every bit as wonderful as baked garlic. It was not as oozy and definitely not caramel colored, but the flavor was fantastic. I had the steamed garlic with steamed freshly harvested potatoes and butter! Yum!
Yes, those are garlic cloves. I squeeze out all the garlic goodness before freezing the tomatoes.
Regarding question #2. What about making tomato confit? I saw this on another blog and she oven dried the tomatoes, put them in 1/2 pint jars, filled the jars with olive oil and a sprig of your favorite herb, and water bath canned the jars. Shouldn’t this be similar to the oil packed sun dried tomatoes you buy in the store? I’ve looked everywhere (Ball, University of GA extension, etc) and can’t find anything (good or bad) about using this method. What are your thoughts? Thanks! And btw, your small batch canning was a game changer for me 🙂 I can try so many more different recipes now!
Yikes. That style of preserving tomatoes is absolutely not recommended by the USDA. Because tomatoes are in the grey zone acidity-wise, drying them, packing them in oil and sealing the jars is potentially asking for botulism. I would not do it.
I’m really glad to hear you like the small batch recipes, though!
Thanks for your reply! Wondering how manufacturers do it? You see those jars of oil-packed dried tomatoes on the shelves all the time. Hate to beat a dead horse, but I’m so curious. Thanks again for your time and advise.
Commercial manufacturers have the capacity to heat and apply pressure to far higher levels than it is safe to do at home. I don’t know the exact process that they use, but it’s just not something that can be replicated in a regular kitchen. Believe me, I wish there was a way, but as far as I know, there’s not.
Thanks for the great idea! Went to the farmer’s market this am in search of cherry/grape tomatoes…cut them in half and have them roasting in the oven…now onto the rest of my chores but I just had to hop online, first 🙂 Bought pickling cukes and hope to make dill pickle chips tomorrow! I am totally addicted to canning/preserving and even though not all my products come out perfect, I am still motivated and your blog has been a HUGE help/inspiration. Thank you!
I was just going to ask that question. I can’t see why not, but hopefully Marissa will give her intake on it.
Yafa: How do you steam your garlic?? I have never done that.
Love this! Roasted tomatoes are so good with so many things- add some crusty bread like you mentioned, plus a little olive oil and slice of sharp cheese and I’m pretty much in heaven!
I made these last summer — so yum! I’m still waiting for my tomatoes to ripen.
These are great, and one of the best ways to use tomatoes that might not be quite as flavorful as the best of the best. The roasting brings out the sweet-tart flavor and concentrates flavor. Using the BEST tomatoes means Heavenly deliciousness!
Oh wow! Thank you for this recipe. One of my tomato bushes that’s currently producing like there’s no tomorrow is giving me large cherry tomatoes, and shy of tossing them in the blender for batches of salsa, I was running shy of ideas. Roasted, they’re even yummier than fresh!
I just made a batch of these….dang! they are good!
When you pack the tomatoes to go into the freezer do you use all the juices and oil that cooks off? Do you add anything else like water to cover them? I’m brand new to food preservation techniques and I’ve never frozen tomatoes before. My freezer has a penchant for burning food so I’d appreciate any advice. Thanks!
Hi Marisa: I have done down a few grape tomatoes.
Could you please tell me if there is a ratio?
For example I have a recipe for marinara sauce.
It calls for a 32oz. can of diced tomatoes. I usually use 32oz. or a bit more of the fresh.
What would I use in the sun dried?
I’m definitely going to have to get an over thermometer. I made this with cherry tomatoes and they were getting pretty caramelized at one hour and would have been charcoal at two. I also think part of the problem was the tomatoes were probably smaller and had less water in them to begin with but I do think my oven runs hot.
Even so, they tasted pretty good. I tipped some into a bowl with some goat cheese to make part of a tasty supper at work tonight – yum! Thanks for the recipe!
I tried to make these last year, and my oven sadly died. I finally got to make these this year, and they are so yummy! If tomatoes were turned into candy, these would be it.
I had a ton of grape tomatoes from my garden, and this recipe was perfect. These are so easy, and so good. I couldn’t stop snacking on them. Great with fresh mozzarella.
300′ for 45 minutes charred 3 pints of tomatoes and 2 cookie sheets. Should this have been 200′?
Sounds like your oven cooks hotter than mine. 300 degrees is the right temperature.
Looking for ways to use roasted sun gold tomatoes. The flavor is very sweet and intense.
Was that 300 degree C or F Im assuming F, which may be the reason why previous post burnt theirs for note 300F = approx 150 C
Discovered your website a couple weeks ago and I think I’ve been on it every day since… sometimes more than once! This is the first year my husband and I have tried a large garden (16 x 10 – large for us) and also the first year I will be trying my hand at canning. Right now we’re overwhelmed with Roma tomatoes. Though they are about half the size we expected – more like overly large grape size, so I tried this recipe last Friday night. I added some fresh herbs and the flavor was amazing. Are these supposed to be dried or still have some moisture in them? Most of mine were still moist and pliable. Still love them though. My Ball Canner is due to be delivered today so I will definitely be trying out some of your other recipes. Thanks for the site!
I just made some sundried tomatoes yesterday. It was easy and sounded like a delicious idea for me to just store’em with some garlic infused oil that i prepared last week that i harvested my garlic. Now that I read all this I don’t know if I should keep everything or throw it away. I have them in the fridge. But I wonder if they are still edible or not. I would really appreciate your help. Thank you. And I’m so happy that I found your website.
Maria, if it’s in the fridge and you only made them yesterday, they’re probably fine. But garlic-infused oil can be dangerous stuff.
How long will these last in the freezer? looooooooooove the idea of prepping them ahead of time as I use them in a lot of meals (tacos, pizza, pasta….). Thank you!
Would love a recipe for soup using the roasted and frozen grape tomatoes. One of my first two batches, as per the recipe I used, called for 225 degrees for five hours — and they were burned – DRAT. Now I watch them more closely.
Hi! I just bought your book, “preserving by the pint.” It’s wonderful. I just made the pickled (dilly) beans. I do have a question about the slow-roasted grape tomato spread recipe on page 93. It includes unpeeled garlic and sprigs of thyme, but instructs you to put the roasted tomatoes in the food processor. Do you leave out the roasted garlic and thyme or do they get pureed as well? I have a bad habit of planting way way way too many cherry and grape tomato plants and this seems like a perfect way to save them! Thank you so much.
So sorry for that omission. You want to squeeze the garlic out of its skins and into the food processor. Discard the thyme springs. Then puree.
Marisa – thank you for the quick reply – perfect timing. I’ll be making this this week. Again, really glad I found your book and your site.
FYI, mine burned after 1.5 hours at 300, too, and my oven definitely doesn’t run hot. My cherry tomatoes were smallish, though, so perhaps that’s the reason. I’ll try again at a lower temperature, maybe 225 or 250.
So sorry that your tomatoes burnt! Remember that cooking times are always just a suggestion, as there are so many variables when you’re in the kitchen.
Just a question.
Here you say to do the grape tomatoes at 3oo F.
Your Roma tomatoes you say don’t do them higher than 200 F.
Why the difference in temperature?
Different year, different blog post, slightly different technique.