I hate to do this to you, but I’m calling it.


It’s time for soup.

Or at least time to make soup for your freezer. Multiply this recipe by as many tomatoes as you can get your hands on and freeze in pint jars with airspace on top for expansion. You’ll thank me in a few weeks.

Roasted Tomato Soup

7 or 8 tomatoes, cut in quarters

2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 onion, diced

8 cloves garlic, peeled

1 Tablespoon sugar

2 cups vegetable stock

1/2 pint heavy cream

Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 375.

Lay cut tomatoes in foil-lined roasting pan, cut side up.

Add peeled garlic.

Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast 45 minutes.

Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a saucepan.

Add onion and cook til translucent.

Add sugar and stock and bring to a boil.

Add tomatoes and garlic.

Puree til smooth.

Add cream, and blend again.

Yields about 7 pints.

Seasons In the Sun

Tomato season is exhausting, not gonna lie.


Pounds and pounds of tomatoes pass through the kitchen, needing to be processed as soon as possible to preserve them while they’re still full of sunshine.

I spent yesterday making tomato sauce, and I’ll be doing it all over again in a few days. We use about 40 pints of sauce a year, so I do two batches of 40 pounds each. If you eat less, or just want to try out a small batch, this recipe can be divided and your cooking time will be shorter. If you decide to go for the full 40 pounds, you will need a giant pot.

You’ll notice that I do not remove the seeds or skin from the tomatoes. Just about every sauce recipe does, but to me it seems a colossal waste of time. You can, of course, do it whichever way you prefer.

This is a very simple sauce, and we use it as is for lots of things, but if you want to add more ingredients – peppers, meat, anything – do so when you’re ready to eat it, not when you’re preparing this recipe. Changing the ingredients may result in an unsafe product, and adding meat definitely would.

Tomato Sauce

40 lb tomatoes, roughly chopped (about 120 tomatoes)

2 cups onion, diced

16 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil

Dried oregano to taste

1 Tablespoon bottled lemon juice PER PINT JAR (This is important. Tomatoes vary in acidity. The lemon juice increases the acidity, which keeps your food safe.)

Prep 22 pint jars

Core tomatoes and cut in chunks.

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil in giant pot until translucent.

Add tomatoes.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer 20 minutes.

Puree with an immersion blender.

Add basil and oregano.

Bring to a boil and cook til reduced by half. This can take anywhere from 5-7 hours. It’s done when you feel it’s thick enough. Stir often to prevent sticking.

Put 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice IN EACH JAR.

Ladle hot sauce into hot jars, leaving 1/2″ headspace.

Remove air bubbles with a very clean tool.

Process in water bath for 35 minutes.

Yield will be 18-22 pints, depending on thickness.

Makeover Complete

The key to making enough salsa to last a year is a willingness to chop more peppers than seems entirely reasonable.


As promised, those ugly tomatoes have been transformed into something lovely. I doubled this recipe, which adds to the cooking time. Totally worth it as we’re now set til next summer.


10 cups diced tomatoes

5 cups diced bell peppers

5 cups diced onion

2 cups diced hot peppers

1 1/4 cups cider vinegar

3 cloves diced garlic

1 Tablespoon salt

Sterilize 9 pint-sized jars.

Combine all ingredients in a large pan.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and let simmer until slightly thickened, 15-20 minutes.

Fill hot jars, leaving 1/2″ headspace.

Remove air bubbles by poking down into the jar with a very clean tool.

Process 15 minutes after canning water has returned to a boil.

A few notes on ingredients:

Tomatoes: You’ll need 9 or 10 pounds of tomatoes.

Bell peppers: You’ll need about 5 large peppers. Green bells are fine, and as they’re cheapest that’s a good way to go. I like to do a couple of red if I can swing it, because it’s an easy way to add layers to the flavor.

Hot peppers: You’ll need about 10 peppers if you use large jalapenos. For a salsa just about everyone will like, use jalapenos, removing seeds and membranes. For a hotter salsa, replace some of the jalapenos with habanero or whatever you like. Since habaneros are smaller, you’ll need more of them.

Concentrate on Flavor

Tomatoes must be saved every which way, because I will not be eating what passes for tomatoes at the grocery store come winter.


One favorite method of preserving tomatoes is to dry them in the oven. Their flavor is concentrated, and cherry tomatoes in particular are sweet as candy.

Oven-Dried Tomatoes



Cut tomatoes into small chunks of approximately the same size. The smaller the pieces, the quicker they’ll cook, obviously. Cherry tomatoes can just be cut in half.

Lay the tomatoes on a lined cookie sheet.

Sprinkle with salt. I like kosher for these, but use what you’ve got.

Bake at 250 degrees for between 3 1/2 and 6 hours. Quite a range, I know, but it depends on the size and moisture content of the tomatoes. You’ll know they’re ready when they feel like raisins.

Store in freezer in airtight containers.

Wait a Second

Canning season is in full swing.


I began the week with tomato jam (I use this recipe, minus the ginger because I rarely have that on hand) and I’ll be ending it with peaches. Our own peach trees don’t produce much of anything yet, so we get our peaches from a local farm. The trick, when canning, is to ask the farmer for ‘seconds’. This is the fruit deemed not quite pretty enough to sell, and it comes at a steep discount. A bit is lost as you trim unusable spots – you don’t want to can with anything you wouldn’t want to eat – but a great majority of the fruit is just fine.

Ordering seconds does mean I’m on the farmer’s, and nature’s, schedule. Rather than plan which day I’m going to can, I have to wait until I get the call that the fruit is ready and rearrange my days to fit the canning in. Any inconvenience is more than made up for in the middle of winter when I’m warmed by a jar of habanero peach preserves.