Preserving Summer

In the community garden where I work, yellow pear tomatoes grow abundantly. They don’t seem to be terribly popular, though, with many people besides me. 

I adore them. The plants produce abundant fruit that ripens quickly. The delights of popping them straight into the mouth from the vine are well known and do not need to be recounted here. Furthermore, it’s far less devastating to find one infested cherry tomato in a cluster of otherwise-fine fruit than it is to anticipate harvesting that one big slicing tomato you’ve been nursing along, only to find that on the back side of the fruit there’s a huge, oozing hole edged with gray-green fur.

I came home last week with two healthy pints of fruit, to add to the remainder of the two quarts I had from last week which we haven’t finished yet. The tomatoes will never be as good as they are right now – unless, perhaps, they’ll save in a sauce?

I’ve never tried making a sauce with cherry tomatoes.

In a medium saucepan, I warmed about three tablespoons of olive oil. To that, I added three tablespoons of chopped garlic from a jar. (Next year, it will be my home-grown garlic, but we all must start someplace.)

I washed and capped the tomatoes, and sliced them in half. I didn’t bother to peel them (can you imagine?), but I like a chunky sauce. I then added the tomatoes to the pan, covered it, and left it in a warm oven (275) for two hours to slowly melt together. I think this technique would also work in a slow cooker.

For the final 30 minutes, I snipped in a tablespoon’s worth of the last fresh basil leaves I’ll see this year, and stirred in a pinch of coarse salt.

This sauce is glorious. I am freezing it in a small glass jar.  I hope it tastes just as good in January!

Published on Oct 15, 2013

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