The Last of the Tomatoes

Click here to go to the recipe

We still have tomatoes in Northern California but not for much longer. On each of my last several trips to the Sunday farmer’s market, I’ve brought home three or four pounds of dry-farmed early girls. I’ve been roasting and freezing these small tomatoes so we’ll have some after the harvest ends.

I no longer buy canned tomatoes. I dislike the taste, I avoid packaged food and I avoid BPA (it’s in the plastic that lines most cans). I have long fantasized about forgoing my refrigerator (not exactly Fifty Shades of Grey) but until then, I’ll stuff the freezer section with delicious roasted tomatoes.

My boss Rhonda told me about the following incredibly easy method for roasting early girls. If we share a 20-pound box of not-so-pretties sometime in the next couple of weeks as planned, I should be able to enjoy tomatoes until after New Year’s.

a glass bowl of tomatoes on a scale


  • Small tomatoes
  • Garlic (optional)


tomato quarters with smashed garlic

1. Quarter tomatoes or halve if very small. Arrange on a cookie sheet. Smash garlic, if used, and sprinkle over top.

roasted tomato quarters

2. Slow cook at low heat, around 275 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or longer if necessary, until softened, sweet and roasted.

jars of roasted tomatoes

3. When cool enough to handle, run the roasted tomatoes through a food mill if desired, to remove the skins. I usually don’t bother with this step.

Transfer to jars. The jar on the right is larger than the other two (it’s hard to make out from the photo). I would say altogether, my near 3 1/2 pound reduced to about 36 ounces, about 12 ounces per pound. I used the middle jar last night in shepherd’s pie. OMG it was good. If freezing, leave an inch or two at the top of the jar for the tomatoes to expand.

roasted pumpkin seeds

You really know you’ve almost reached the end of tomato season when you can roast pumpkin seeds and tomatoes in the oven at the same time.

Happy fall!

Slow-Roasted Tomatoes


  • Small tomatoes
  • Garlic (optional)


1. Quarter tomatoes or halve if very small. Arrange on a cookie sheet. Smash garlic, if used, and sprinkle over top.

2. Slow cook at low heat, around 275 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or longer if necessary, until softened, sweet and roasted.

3. If desired, run through a food mill to remove skins. Transfer to jars when cool. If freezing, leave an inch or two at the top of the jar for the tomatoes to expand.

My cookbook!

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US Cover

22 Replies to “The Last of the Tomatoes”

  1. My aunt Jodi dehydrates cherry tomatoes. Have you tried that? They are really good, kind of like tomato candy. 🙂 These tomatoes you roasted! 🙂 thanks for sharing the recipe!

    1. Thanks for the comment 🙂 I have dehydrated sliced heirloom tomatoes and those tasted like candy. I can just imagine what dehydrated cherry tomatoes would taste like. They would be fantastic. I’m going to look for some at the farmer’s market next week. I may still be able to get them. The great thing about dehydrating and slow roasting is they are totally hands-off. You just let the oven or dehydrator do the work.

  2. I’ve got a box sitting in the kitchen I need to deal with – I think it’s my next to last box. I’ve made pizza sauce, salsa, canned a few cases of them straight up and I’ll cram what I can into the freezer.

    1. Yum. I have a really good pizza sauce recipe. I hadn’t thought of making that. I would love to make some salsa too. I’m fermenting hot peppers right now and wished I had thrown in some tomatoes but I used them all up. I think I still have a week or maybe even two…

  3. I love that idea! I have roasted them to dehydrate them and they are good, but the possibilities available from having the taste of roasted tomato sitting in a jar are endless. Thanks for the great idea.

    1. You’re welcome. I will tell my boss 🙂 These tomatoes are very versatile and delicious. This fall and winter I’ll find more uses than jars of tomatoes, I’m sure. I dehydrated some earlier in the season and they tasted like candy. So good!

  4. Roasted tomatoes are one of my favorite foods. They’re so simple but so good for you, and they work well in so many other dishes or just on their own 🙂

    1. They make your home smell great too while you roast them 🙂

  5. These look mouth-wateringly delicious. Our tomato season has only begun (in as much as my seedlings are only now being planted) but I cant wait to give your recipe a try 🙂

    1. Oh nice. I know it’s late in the season here to post a tomato recipe, but I know for those of you in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s early, so I went ahead and posted it. 🙂 I think you’ll like these tomatoes. The flavor is intense. No canned tomato can compare. Good luck with your seedlings and happy planting!

  6. For whatever reason, we *still* have tomatoes on the vine over here, too! I never grew them in CA but I’m a little surprised your season is ending already…isn’t it still warm over there? Or maybe it’s also a function of daylight? For us, it’s the pollinators moving on as well. Two weeks ago, we still had a yard packed with bees. I noticed this week they were almost gone. Yikes! Is this another sign of a cold winter coming?! 😉

    1. Well I think they will be at the market for another week or two, but that’s it. It’s been really warm during the day (too warm) and really cold at night. I hope you don’t have another crazy winter. I guess shoveling is good exercise though. (Haven’t done it for a while myself though…)

  7. How long can these tomatoes be frozen?

    1. Hmmm…that’s a good question. We eat them all before they ever get funky, so they are all gone after about four, maybe five months. If we didn’t eat them all, I would guess more like nine months. I don’t think they will go bad in the freezer, just develop a strange consistency.

  8. Oh yes, those look marvelous. I usually make lots of tomato sauce/soup with any extra tomatoes I can get, but I’m definitely going to try roasting and freezing some this summer. Thanks for the tip!

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      You’re welcome! Enjoy 🙂

  9. Coming back to let you know I’ve been making these regularly for a long time now and they are absolutely marvelous. Hadn’t visited this page in quite a while and I see that you say to roast them at 275º. When I made a note of the recipe for myself way back when, I wrote down 225º, which is the temperature I’ve used ever since. Did I get it wrong then? Or did you change it perhaps? My tomatoes turn out beautifully roasted at 225º, but now I’m wondering if it’s a safety issue and I should perhaps up the temperature.

    1. Hi Kathryn Grace,
      I may have changed it. I can’t remember. That sounds high to me. I just looked it up in my book (it’s not out yet), and I wrote 250 in there. So maybe 225 to 250. I’m sorry for the confusion!
      ~ Anne Marie

  10. Hello.I would like to know, if you dont have a food mill, what happens to the skin?

    1. Hello! I don’t usually remove the skins from these. I don’t mind eating them. If I wanted to make something like a silky vodka sauce, I wouldn’t want them in there though. You could blanch and peel the tomatoes before roasting but you’d want to oil the baking sheet first or use a Silpat or parchment.

  11. Can you can these to be shelf stable? I’m
    Out of freezer room! And I like to split food between frozen and shelf stable in case of power outage.

    1. I haven’t canned these but it can be done! You’d need to add a small amount of citric acid or lemon juice first.

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