Fire-roasted tomatoes

The long stretch of fairly sunny & warm weather this summer, plus the added protection of our little hoop houses, made for a bountiful tomato harvest. We chose good ol’ Roma tomatoes for our sauce crop, since they are a determinate variety, meaning the plants stay small and the fruits ripen close to the same time for convenient processing. Most of them have been frozen whole for later blanching, peeling and canning, but 25# were set aside for fire-roasting over the grill. The aroma and flavor will enhance many meals over the long dark rainy season. Here’s how we did it….

Get your grill going nice & hot, then slice the maters in half and spray the cut side with oil.

Depending on your facilities, you may need a headlamp and some beer.

Grill them cut side down first, 3 or so minutes, or until they start to show blackened char marks.

Flip them over, then grill on the other side for 3 to 5 minutes.

Pile them into a bowl to cool until they are safe to handle, then peel and process as desired, bagged & frozen, or canned.

We decided to pressure can the maters instead of water bath canning, since the shorter processing time makes for a fresher-tasting result. If you water bath can, be sure to add lemon or lime juice (1 tablespoon per pint, 2 per quart) to bring the acidity up to botulism-killing levels.

Follow your usual canning instructions. We ended up with 12 pints of smokey-matoey goodness.

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