I went to the superstore a little over a week ago and got caught up in the frenzy of bulk tomato buying. While elderly Italian men were carting away four or more boxes of these gorgeous Ontario-grown Roma tomatoes, I thought I would start with one. I had visions of a pantry full of home-canned tomato sauce to keep us warm during the long dark winter.
But... I had never canned before. I blanched, peeled and chopped half a box of tomatoes, (which felt like an absolute MOUNTAIN of tomatoes) and set two pots simmering. I added fresh herbs and simmered. I stirred. And simmered. I prepped a dozen jars. And simmered. I anguished over the process of canning. I stirred. I simmered. I hauled out my mother's pressure canner and shed a tear (or two). I nixed the pressure canner (the seal was dried out... okay that's an excuse; the thing terrified me) and went with a water bath. I stirred. Simmered.
Six hours later, I had four (yes only FOUR) jars of sauce. Enough of that.
I decided instead to do something different with the rest of the box (which still felt like a MOUNTAIN of tomatoes). And while these also took six hours, they were six blissful hours where I went for a walk, read a book, sipped wine...
Wash tomatoes and slice in half. I used Roma, but any tomato can be used, just adjust roasting time. If the tomatoes are particularly seedy, you can pull out the juice and seeds to leave just the flesh. They will roast down faster that way.
Toss tomatoes with olive oil and arrange on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Add fresh herbs and chopped or pressed garlic if desired. I made a tray of basil and parsley, and a tray of parsley, rosemary and thyme. Sprinkle generously with freshly ground sea salt and black pepper.
Set oven temperature to 250 degrees F. (I used convection because I had three trays of tomatoes.) Place tomatoes in oven and roast for 4-6 hours until they are visibly dehydrated but still meaty. Cool. Freeze on a cookie sheet (so that they are individual, then transfer to a freezer bag.