I love tomatoes, and I can’t get enough of them the during the summertime. Fresh tomatoes from my garden or the local farmer’s market are hard to beat! And although winter and tomatoes go together like oil and water, my devotion to tomatoes inspired me to find out whether there was any way to turn the tomatoes available in year-round in the produce department into something worth eating.
(Spoiler alert: I did! But more on that shortly…)
The Trouble With Winter Tomatoes
If you’re hoping to enjoy the same transcendent experience while eating fresh tomatoes in the winter as you did during the summer, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Out-of-season tomatoes can be a bit grainy in texture, and they just don’t have the same intensity of flavor as their peak-season counterparts.
The chill of winter makes it tricky to grow really good tomatoes. Luckily, there’s a fairly easy way to take those less-than-ideal winter tomatoes and make them taste absolutely delicious!
How To Make Tomatoes Taste Delicious, Even In Winter
Slow roasting is one of the best approaches to use with winter tomatoes because it intensifies their flavor and gives them a meatier, more robust texture. You can transform even the homeliest tomato into a thing of beauty through the magic of slow roasting.
Roasted tomatoes are as versatile as they are tasty — you can add them to pasta or salads, layer them on sandwiches, or enjoy them a delicious side dish!
Shopping For Tomatoes During Winter
Look for darkly colored, firm tomatoes that smell tomato-y — all key indicators of ripeness. The varieties that are typically available in grocery stores during the winter, such as Roma and Vine Ripe, aren’t all that distinct in terms of flavor, so you can use them interchangeably in recipes. (And both are great for roasting!)
How To Roast Tomatoes
Wash and quarter the tomatoes you want to roast, then place them on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or aluminum foil. Drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil, then sprinkle salt, pepper, and fresh thyme (optional, but tasty!) over the top.
Roast the tomatoes at 350°F for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until dark red and just a little bit charred. (Slow roasting takes time, so be patient and be sure to enjoy the incredible aromas wafting through your kitchen!)
Using And Storing Roasted Tomatoes
If you have any left after digging in, your roasted tomatoes will stay fresh for about a week if refrigerated in an airtight container. You can always freeze them if you’d like to store them longer.
Here are a few delicious ideas for putting your roasted tomatoes to good use:
Toss whole wheat linguine with a little bit of olive oil and lemon juice, then top with 1/2 cup of roasted tomatoes and grated Parmesan cheese.
Prepare a delicious, low-carb breakfast by arranging a couple of poached eggs on a bed of spinach leaves, then top with a few pieces of roasted tomato and drizzle hollandaise sauce over the top.
Use roasted tomatoes to take a standard grilled cheese to new heights! Juicy and flavorful roasted tomatoes are a perfect compliment to the melted cheese and crispy bread.
A Few Notes On Canned Tomatoes
- Some argue canned tomatoes are even better than fresh ones, especially during the winter!
- The main advantage of canned whole tomatoes is consistency, because they’re always preserved at peak ripeness. You just can’t beat the flavor of in-season, vine-ripened tomatoes!
- Whole canned tomatoes are also peeled before they’re canned, which means you won’t end up with any of those curly, papery tomato skins in your sauce or soup.
- There’s even a relatively new variety of canned tomatoes you may want to check out: canned cherry tomatoes! I love them, and I’m sure you will too!
- 10 tomatoes
- 1 tbsp thyme
- salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Quarter the tomatoes and place them on a lined baking sheet.
- Drizzle the olive oil over the tomatoes, then season with salt, pepper, and fresh thyme leaves.
- Roast at 350°F for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the tomatoes are dark red and slightly charred.
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