Big reds (+recipes)

By Grant Allen

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Grant Allen has some novel uses for late-summer tomatoes

So many great ideas for the last of this seasons tomatos. Photo / Michael Craig
So many great ideas for the last of this seasons tomatos. Photo / Michael Craig

Our fabulous extended summer has proven two things to me. It was not an imagined wistful, youthful, memory that hot days can go on and on. It is possible.

And that tomatoes can taste like tomatoes used to.

Apart from a bumper crop in the garden, I've been getting tomatoes from my supplier that taste great. Have the commercial growers finally twigged that people want things with real flavour, not just a pretty-looking product with an extended shelf life? Fleshy beefsteaks, rich romas, sweet cherries - a fiesta of varieties has appeared. There is a huge difference in the attributes and uses of each. Tomatoes are now named and marketed beyond the generic, and what a good thing that is.

What to do with a late summer garden tomato harvest or opportunity to preserve bargain boxes? There is always your favourite sauce or chutney. You can freeze tomatoes whole, free flow, if you have enough space.

In bottling days, my mother used to fill Agee jars with cooked down tomato puree, that became the basis of winter soups or spaghetti sauces.

I tried to find some new preserving ideas. In the end, I realised all these ideas are time tested, "everything old is new again".

Preserving is a labour of love but with a bit of effort now, you can revisit our wonderful summer by opening a jar. Get into pantry mode and try some of these recipes.

Recipes:

Tomato Jam
Bottled Tomatoes
Tomato Paste
Tomato Soup
Tomato Relish

- Herald on Sunday

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