How to Make Peak Tomato Season Last

Juicy fresh tomatoes, whether from New Jersey, California, or any state in between, are things of wonder. Bursting with bold summer flavor, they're almost a different species from the tomatoes available the rest of the year.

To make summer tomatoes last, you'll want to roast and freeze them.

Roasting tomatoes concentrates their flavor, making them sweeter, and provides an intense note to homemade (or even store-bought) sauces during the off season. This method works best with Romas (plum tomatoes), but I've had success with everything from beefsteaks to heirloom varieties to cherry and grape tomatoes, too.

First, line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. This will catch juices and make clean-up a snap. Halve the tomatoes and scrape out any seeds. (You can do this with a spoon, but I use clean fingers.) Fill the cavities with minced garlic, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Make sure the tomatoes are in a single layer with a bit of space between them.

Roast in a low, slow oven (about 325 degrees is good) until the tomatoes release their juices and shrivel up considerably. The time will vary depending on their size, but I generally roast mine for a good hour. Then cool to room temperature (some people slip off the skins), layer in glass jars, top off with olive oil, cover tightly, and freeze. Consider dividing the tomatoes into smaller jars to make defrosting time quicker and to make it easier to use them in smaller meals.

That's it. It's a super simple process, with a tremendous reward later on.

What is your favorite thing to do with herbs? Chime in below!

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Cheryl Sternman Rule is a widely-published food writer and the voice behind the blog 5 Second Rule. Read all of Cheryl's iVillage posts here.

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