So what do you do when your grape tomato plants went nuts and you have more grape tomatoes than you know what to do with? You make tomato sauce!
I have given some of the tomatoes away, and I’ve snacked on them, but at this point I have between 1/2 – 1 pound ripening every two to three days. They are sweet and pop in your mouth without being to mushy or seedy in the middle, so they are also great for salads. But I decided I wanted to give it a shot and see if I could get a good tomato sauce out of them.
It all started back in May when I planted a small herb garden in a raised bed overlooking the pool. I was successful with some of the herbs, like the Thai basil which is completely out of control, the rosemary, lavender, thyme, oregano, parsley and regular basil. I was unsuccessful with the sage, chives, and dill but we’ll give those another shot next year. I had some extra room, so I decided to plant a sweet pepper plant, a jalapeño, and a grape tomato plant. The jalapeño has been great, yielding lots of peppers – in fact I even pickled some. But the grape tomato plant did absolutely nothing – it didn’t grow, and it didn’t die – it just did nothing.
In June I was walking through the garden section at Walmart and picked up two of the saddest looking grape tomato plants on clearance. They were small, and the spotted leaves were turning yellow. At $.99 each, I figured what the heck, I’ll give it a shot.
Fast forward to July and those babies were growing like crazy, with lots of blossoms. We ended up having to stake them, as they were getting to tall and full, they were sprawling all over the place. By August my sickly little reject plants were over 6′ tall and full of little green tomatoes!
Now, they’re turning red every day, so I’m out there picking them throughout the week. Once I had two pounds, I decided it was time to do something with them. I spread them out on two parchment lined cookie sheets, drizzled some olive oil on them, and roasted them in a 375 degree oven until they were starting to turn golden on top. (around 30 minutes or so).
I removed them from the oven and allowed them to cool for a bit. Meanwhile, I browned a quarter cup of diced sweet Vidalia onion in olive oil until golden, then added the tomatoes with all of the juices form the pans, and threw in some fresh oregano and basil (also from my herb garden) as well as a little bit of garlic, salt, and pepper. I put a lid on the pan and let them simmer, stirring occasionally for about 45 minutes. After letting them cool, i put them in my food processor and pureed them until I had a nice, thick sauce. I put the sauce in a gallon zip top bag and popped it in the freezer. I can’t wait to use it on some fresh pasta!