Here today, gone tomato. That is the woe of the best gift from the season.
Red, yellow, big and small—tomatoes ruled our Instagram feeds once again this year. And we’re not ready to say goodbye to them just yet. Here are ways you can preserve tomatoes and cherry-sh them through the winter. (I’ll see myself out.)
Canning fresh tomatoes now will preserve their flavor for almost a year.
“Any tomato works for canning, but different tomatoes are better for different tasks,” says preserving expert Dr. Julia Skinner, author of Our Fermented Lives. “If you want to can tomatoes that maintain their shape, pick tomatoes while still firm.”
Skinner advises using varieties like Roma and plum for tomato paste, cherry tomatoes for pickles, and big heirlooms like Cherokee purple for pasta sauces. Hot water bath or pressure canning techniques will work for tomatoes. Just make sure you are using sterilized jars and new lids.
Confit means “to preserve” in French. The technique cooks an ingredient in a fat, like oil, at a low temperature for a long time. The method caramelizes the natural sugars of the ingredient, tomatoes in our case, and the oil helps to preserve it.
Cherry tomatoes are the best bet for a confit. Add them to a ceramic baking dish and cover them halfway with olive oil. Add salt, black pepper, sugar, and herbs like thyme and rosemary. Cook in the oven uncovered at 275 degrees for about an hour. Then, cool and store. You can confit garlic cloves the same way.
Tomato confit can be used in sandwiches, added to pasta or lentil stew as a finishing garnish, spread on toast with ricotta or burrata, and is gorgeous on a charcuterie board.
Green and cherry tomatoes are great options for relish. It is essentially diced vegetables and fruits, cooked down with acid and sugar. Acid helps with preservation and allows for slight pickling. Sugar balances acidity and draw out any moisture from the fruits and veggies.
“There are many ways you can make this: one would be to chop tomatoes to desired size, add flavorings, cook to desired texture, then add to sterilized jars before canning,” says Skinner. “I add vinegar rather than citrus juice before canning [for relish].”
Enjoy tomato relish on burgers, wraps, over chips, and as a substitute for ketchup.