Harvest of the Month: Tomatoes

Courtesy Island Grown Initiative

One ubiquitous fall smell in my house is of simmering tomatoes. All week I pluck tomatoes from my garden as they ripen, and collect them in a bowl. I also go to local farms to round out my collection. Then, on Sundays, I slowly simmer the tomatoes all day until they become thick and sweet. The resulting sauce is strained and put into the freezer to enjoy all winter long.

Tomatoes are everywhere in September, and there are so many ways to enjoy them! Slice cherry tomatoes in half, toss with olive oil and salt, and roast in a 350° oven until soft and slightly caramelized. Keep a larger, heirloom or slicing tomato on hand for all of your sandwich needs. Chop tomatoes with onion, cilantro, and lime for salsa, and keep a big jar on hand for quick snacks.

The next cool, gray day we have, simmer yourself some ketchup, and fill your house with the sweet aroma of tomatoes!

Homemade Tomato Ketchup
Recipe by Robin Forte

2 lbs. tomatoes, chopped
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. paprika
¼ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. allspice
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup cider vinegar
Salt to taste

Purée tomatoes in a blender, set aside. Heat oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, add garlic and stir occasionally until softened and golden, about 7 minutes. Add spices and cook for a minute. Add tomato purée, tomato paste, brown sugar, and vinegar. Simmer until thick 35 to 55 minutes. Stir frequently toward the end of cooking to prevent scorching. Cool. Purée until smooth.