The Tomato Diaries

Ahh, the Tomato. The glorious Tomato. These days tomatoes are the star of the show, and they’re making appearances everywhere! Every day on social media I see posts by chefs featuring their haul from local farms, and gardeners showing off the abundant tomato harvests from their own gardens.

Yes, today tomatoes occupy center stage, starring in roles like Bruschetta (my personal favorite), Fattoush, Gazpacho, Ratatouille, Salsa, Paninis, and Caprese salads. They appear sliced, grilled, and stuffed. And right now, the crowds love them any way they can get them.

Sadly, in a few weeks, their glory will fade. Then our beloved tomatoes will be forced to take on a supporting role as – heaven forbid – just another INGREDIENT! That’s right, in a few weeks tomatoes will step out of the limelight. And if we don’t plan act now - if we don’t act plan now – they will disappear into the culinary shadows for another year.

But here’s the good news: we can act now to extend their engagement! And if we act now, we can continue to showcase this year’s tomato harvest all year long. To be honest, this is one of my favorite things to do in the kitchen. I love processing tomatoes now so I can pull them out in the months ahead and treat my guests to something wonderful.

Home Chefs, now is the time to engage our canning processors, dehydrators, ovens, pantries, and freezers. If we do, we will be able to indulge our guests all year long with dishes like garden-fresh Bolognese, Roasted Tomato Pesto, and homemade Tomato Soup (and who doesn’t love tomato soup?)

I’ve told you that Bruschetta is my favorite way to serve tomatoes. So this week, I’ll be harvesting and processing grape tomatoes. I’m almost embarrassed to tell you how easy it can be. I simply slice the tomatoes in half lengthwise, sprinkle with French Grey Salt and Pink Peppercorns, toss with a little olive oil, and roast at 375 degrees for 35-45 minutes. I let them cool, then place in airtight containers, cover with a layer of olive oil, seal, and freeze. And in the months ahead, they are sure to make their way to some Bruschetta. Or Tomato Jam or Pesto. I’ll toss them into pasta, or layer them on top of homemade pizza. The possibilities are endless.

Another way I love to preserve tomatoes is by dehydrating them. I simply slice them and put them in my @excaliburdehydrator (no, this is not an ad), then store them in the pantry. Later on, I’ll sprinkle them with Vanilla Bean Sea Salt and serve them as Tomato Chips. Or I’ll re-hydrate them until chewy and layer them in lasagna.

And, of course, I’ll be canning Roma tomatoes so that I have plenty on hand all year long to make marinara sauce, chili, etc. If we act now, the possibilities are endless. So let’s get to work!

One final note: many of our seasonings at MorningStar Kitchen are perfect for making those special tomato creations I’m talking about. AND they make the job of creating a masterpiece easy. Seasonings like our Bazaar (Za’atar), Mediterranean Kitchen, Casablanca (Harissa), Napa Style, Bravo, and Shepherds Kitchen. You’re going to want to try them, so check them out today. And while you’re at it, check out our RECIPES to guide you along the way.

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