Last February I had an insatiable craving for sweet and juicy cherry tomatoes that did not dwindle even slightly over time, which motivated me to start a little vegetable garden last spring.  Now, I am jarring and canning and freezing just about anything and everything I possibly can from that garden before it frosts.  Jars of freshly homemade marinara sauce from the backyard garden are beautiful on their own, however, this is a simpler and more approachable option (in my opinion).  It’s a modernized and simplified method that adds a bit of garden freshness to your winter dishes.

I made this purée among many other things with the hundreds of cherry tomatoes we have grown in the last two weeks.  I froze it in ice cube trays (much to my husband’s surprise as he opened the freezer for an ice cube).  It’s a little cube of summer garden freshness to be used in appropriate quantities, depending on the reserve that you have at the time.  Each cube adds fresh and sweet garden cherry tomato flavor.  I added garlic, fresh herbs and a bit of aged balsamic to mine, just to balance the sweet tomatoes with some gentle acidity.   Of course, if you’re going for something more sweet and versatile, omitting the garlic and adding honey with some sea salt would work nicely as well, though be prepared to taste and balance the flavors if adding it to a savory sauce.

The fresh herbs can vary depending on what you plan to make throughout the winter, and what you have.  I put basil in almost everything in the summer and it’s quite plentiful on my windowsill still, so that’s what I used.  However, fresh thyme or a bit of oregano, used sparingly, would work nicely too.  This is a template recipe, it’s something to make your own as you see fit.  I suggest you squirrel this one away as you would your jars of pickled and preserved fruits and vegetables.  It’s a little extra something that both nobody and everyone needs to know about when they ask, “how did you do that?”.

It tastes like sweet and freshly delicious summer and can be added and melted in just a pinch to brighten up any mediocre store bought sauce on a dismal snowy evening.

 

Fresh Garden Cherry Tomato Purée

Ingredients:

  • two pints of garden fresh cherry tomatoes
  • four cloves of garlic (three if using large garlic cloves)
  • lightly salted boiling water
  • ice water
  • two tablespoons chopped shallot
  • two tablespoons olive oil
  • fresh herbs of your choice (I used a handful of fresh basil leaves and a pinch of thyme)
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • a dash of aged balsamic vinegar (about 1 tablespoon)
  • drizzle of honey (optional)

Directions:

  1. Drop cherry tomatoes and garlic cloves into rapidly boiling salted water.  Once the skins begin to split open, drain then drop into ice water.
  2. In a small nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, gently cook the shallot with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt until translucent.
  3. Once cool enough to handle, remove and discard skins from tomatoes and garlic.  You may also remove some or all tomato seeds, if desired.
  4. Drop peeled tomatoes and garlic into food processor or blender with olive oil, cooked shallot and fresh herbs.  Purée and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Add the optional balsamic vinegar and/or honey to taste if desired.
  5. Freeze in ice cube trays until solid.
  6. Store in small air tight freezer bags for up to six months.

 

Fresh Garden Cherry Tomato Purée

Recipe Type: Simple Prep Ahead
Author: Kate from Scratch
Ingredients
  • two pints of garden fresh cherry tomatoes
  • four cloves of garlic (three if using large garlic cloves)
  • lightly salted boiling water
  • ice water
  • two tablespoons chopped shallot
  • two tablespoons olive oil
  • fresh herbs of your choice (I used a handful of fresh basil leaves and a pinch of thyme)
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • a dash of aged balsamic vinegar (about 1 tablespoon)
  • drizzle of honey (optional)
Instructions
  1. Drop cherry tomatoes and garlic cloves into rapidly boiling salted water. Once the skins begin to split open, drain then drop into ice water.
  2. In a small nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, gently cook the shallot with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt until translucent.
  3. Once cool enough to handle, remove and discard skins from tomatoes and garlic. You may also remove some or all tomato seeds, if desired.
  4. Drop peeled tomatoes and garlic into food processor or blender with olive oil, cooked shallot and fresh herbs. Purée and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the optional balsamic vinegar and/or honey to taste if desired.
  5. Freeze in ice cube trays until solid.
  6. Store in small air tight freezer bags for up to six months.

 

 

 

 

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14 Responses to Preserving Summer

  1. Jeannie says:

    Fantastic idea, Kate! I do this with stock sometimes, but I never thought to do it with puree…perfect as my tomatoes are going to be coming off the vine this week. Thanks!

  2. This is a brilliant idea Kate! I have a big boxes of tomatoes too, actually and I’ve waited too long that I need to use it very very soon. Thanks for the recipe!

  3. Garden fresh tomatoes are the best! First time I used one I was amazed at the fresh smell..you don’t get that from store bought tomatoes. My garden has a lot of tomatoes too…this is a great idea!

  4. Deb says:

    We are in the midst of the annual tomato glut and next week I am planning on a trip to the U Pick. I usually can tomato sauce and whole peeled tomatoes but I am really liking your post. When I don’t want an entire jar of tomatoes I could just use the amount I need from the freezer. A splendid idea!

  5. Liz says:

    I hope I’m not inundating you with comments…they don’t seem to be sticking :/

    I LOVE this idea…I’m going to plant some pots of cherry tomatoes next summer in my shady yard. Fingers crossed for a good crop.

    PS…your apple muffins look amazing, too~

  6. Gina- says:

    Fantastic! I freeze my tomatoes, but this puree sounds so much better. No fuss when it’s time to add it to the pot. Just drop and taste. Love it.

  7. Baker Street says:

    I’m off to make some for myself. I love the idea of frozen ice cubes. So simple and absolutely brilliant.

  8. Kevin says:

    Fantastic way to update preserving. Not too many people I know jar things anymore…this is perfect!

  9. Cookingqueen (Nia) says:

    I’m going to give this a try tonight. I can’t wait!

  10. Kari N. says:

    This is such a good idea! What a great way to stretch out the season too. You don’t have to dump all your awesome tomatoes into just a few jars.

  11. Stephanie Monte says:

    What a fantastic idea! I love that you don’t have to buy jars yet that freshness is still well preserved. Great job, Kate! Have a great weekend!

  12. Mmm that does sound very refreshing – thank for summer is coming :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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