There really isn’t an art to roasting tomatoes. Once you try it, you will realize how simple the process really is!

But let me start with this. One of my favorite sights is walking up to our garden and seeing the beautiful array of colors that our tomatoes are producing this season. I also love picking them warm off the vine, and adding them to my basket. Our curious animals always seem to follow me out, either rolling around in the dirt or sniffing the fresh produce.

We tried something different this year with our tomatoes. My friend Terri (who has an amazing garden!) grew the starts in her greenhouse, several each of Cherokee Purple (large, odd shaped, with the green on top); Sweet Tangerine (large golden yellow & orange); Jelly Bean Grape; Black Krim (looks like Cherokee Purple); Yellow Pear (small yellow pear-shaped).

What we did differently was plant them in the garden using a “trench planting” method. I had never heard of trench style, but for what it’s worth – it seemed to work. We have a bumper crop this year and my kitchen can hardly keep up with all of the roasting that I’ve been doing!

I discovered a few years back the art of “roasting” tomatoes and then freezing them. Once I did this, I kissed canning good-bye. You don’t have to blanch or heat up the water bath, saving a ton of time. Besides, the flavor of roasted tomatoes is so intense to the palate and adds more flavor to what you are cooking.

Cut tomatoes to small pieces (no need to blanch or peel!)
Snip fresh basil on top
Press about 10-12 cloves of garlic
Add Sea-salt, pepper, and sugar (I use Splenda or Stevia)
Sprinkle EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil) over the top
Mix with your hands

Roast at 450 for an hour or longer, stirring once. You can roast with juices left in the pan, or until the juices are evaporated.

You then have the option to freeze as is (Ziploc bags work great!), or to blend in your Cuisinnart and then freeze – ready for sauces or soups.

I love this recipe, because even the tiny cherry tomatoes (and pear tomatoes, in my case) don’t go to waste.

It’s a sight to behold – the mixed vibrant colors – and an aroma that makes you literally feel “Fall” in the air (the scent of fresh garlic and basil).

Trench Planting Method
With this method, you dig a trench rather than a hole. You remove the lower leaves of the plants, leaving the top leaf clusters. Lay the plant on its side in the trench and cover with dirt, up to the top leaf cluster. The buried stem begins to form roots and within a day, the top of the plant will have righted itself.

This method produces more roots, and the underground stems are closer to warmth, rain and nutrients.

Yes, I’d say from our bumper crop this year that this method worked!

How about you – do you plant, can or roast tomatoes? And have you heard of the “trenching” method?

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