Now that Tomato Season 2016 has launched, I am turning my attention to the freezer.
Last October, right before a major rain storm, I raced into the garden and gathered the last of the season’s tomatoes. I had tons of them and simply didn’t want them to get ruined by the cold rain coming my way.
I had no time to start stewing and brewing over a hot stove to make sauces so I grabbed some quart size Ziploc freezer bags and shoved the washed tomatoes (of all shapes and sizes) straight into the bag. Ripe, whole and raw, they all went into the freezer. We’ve been using them in slow cooker vegetable and minestrone-style soups all year.
Earlier this week, I decided I really needed to use up the stash so I grabbed a couple bags from the freezer and let them defrost overnight. Yesterday morning, I had very soft tomatoes and lots of excess liquid. Admittedly, that visual holds little appeal but I quickly tackled the mess with my Cuisinart Stick blender and my All-Clad Slow Cooker.
The tomatoes went into the slow cooker with a bunch of chopped basil found in the veggie bin. I blended the concoction with my stick blender and turned my attention to the stove where I sauteed one sweet onion and four or five cloves or garlic over moderate heat until softened. I then added a little flour to the onions, stirred in some chicken broth and made a thickener of sorts which got added to my tomato basil mixture.
The slow cooker got set for six hours on low and later that day I had a beautiful tomato basil soup ready for a simple meal. It needed little more than a blast of sea salt and pepper. Served with croutons, it was just what I needed for a quick pick me up mid day.
So, if you are planting your tomato garden, make a note to harvest and freeze some of your crop once the colder weather circles our way.