The Art of Roasting Tomatoes!

There really isn't an art to roasting tomatoes. Once you try it, you will realize how simple the process really is!

But let me start with this. One of my favorite sights is walking up to our garden and seeing the beautiful array of colors that our tomatoes are producing this season. I also love picking them warm off the vine, and adding them to my basket. Our curious animals always seem to follow me out, either rolling around in the dirt or sniffing the fresh produce.

We tried something different this year with our tomatoes. My friend Terri (who has an amazing garden!) grew the starts in her greenhouse, several each of Cherokee Purple (large, odd shaped, with the green on top); Sweet Tangerine (large golden yellow & orange); Jelly Bean Grape; Black Krim (looks like Cherokee Purple); Yellow Pear (small yellow pear-shaped).

What we did differently was plant them in the garden using a “trench planting” method. I had never heard of trench style, but for what it’s worth – it seemed to work. We have a bumper crop this year and my kitchen can hardly keep up with all of the roasting that I’ve been doing!

I discovered a few years back the art of “roasting” tomatoes and then freezing them. Once I did this, I kissed canning good-bye. You don’t have to blanch or heat up the water bath, saving a ton of time. Besides, the flavor of roasted tomatoes is so intense to the palate and adds more flavor to what you are cooking.

Cut tomatoes to small pieces (no need to blanch or peel!)
Snip fresh basil on top
Press about 10-12 cloves of garlic
Add Sea-salt, pepper, and sugar (I use Splenda or Stevia)
Sprinkle EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil) over the top
Mix with your hands

Roast at 450 for an hour or longer, stirring once. You can roast with juices left in the pan, or until the juices are evaporated.

You then have the option to freeze as is (Ziploc bags work great!), or to blend in your Cuisinnart and then freeze – ready for sauces or soups.

I love this recipe, because even the tiny cherry tomatoes (and pear tomatoes, in my case) don’t go to waste.

It’s a sight to behold - the mixed vibrant colors – and an aroma that makes you literally feel “Fall” in the air (the scent of fresh garlic and basil).

Trench Planting Method
With this method, you dig a trench rather than a hole. You remove the lower leaves of the plants, leaving the top leaf clusters. Lay the plant on its side in the trench and cover with dirt, up to the top leaf cluster. The buried stem begins to form roots and within a day, the top of the plant will have righted itself.

This method produces more roots, and the underground stems are closer to warmth, rain and nutrients.

Yes, I’d say from our bumper crop this year that this method worked!

How about you – do you plant, can or roast tomatoes? And have you heard of the “trenching” method?


ValleyGirl said...

Ooooo, this looks awesome! I did some oven-dried tomatoes last year, but never once did I think of it as an alternative to traditional preserving!!! I have a serious bumper crop of tomatoes this year, too, so this post excites me like you would not believe.

Mod Girl said...

I planted my first tomatoes this year and enjoyed them immensely. I'm looking forward to planting a small "victory" type garden next year (it'll be my first so I have a lot to learn). I've never heard of the trench method... fascinating.

Gorgeous photo of your golden, pear shaped tomatoes!

Mary said...

I’m going to try this recipe with our bumper crop of tomatoes. Thanks.

We dehydrate our tomatoes. This method also concentrates the flavor.
We simply store them in the pantry in a Ziploc baggie as well.

It’s always good to find new ways of preserving the harvest.

Very nice photos.

Stephanie said...

I have never heard of this way of planting. Interesting! This is only my 2nd year with tomatoes (since I'm the only one in the house that eats them) and we actually do them in a pot but I may have to try this method one of these years :)

Jen said...

I froze out tomatoes this year...my plants are dying out slowly. Maybe a few for a BLT for lunch one day. This was our first garden and I know what I dont care to have next year and what I want more of....tomatoes...your look great girl....my papaw always said Jet Star were the best to plant..he was right.

:..Rebekah..: said...

I just LOVE your pictures! They are beautiful.

Anonymous said...

You are amazing! Thanks for sharing so many great recipes!

Kirstin said...

It all sounds yummy!! I have never heard of that method. I may have to try it as I want lots of tomatoes next year!

Dreaming of Mermaids said...

oooh nice, thanks for the tips! What beautiful pictures!

Anonymous said...

wow, Sandy, SO inspiring. Hats off to you and your friend! Thanks for the copious information.

I oven-dry Romas w/ garlic and sea salt then oil-pack and freeze. Lovely intense flavor, but I'm trying your method this week!

I have been doing Square Foot gardening but it is rigid looking (designed by an engineer) and I'm tired of it. Deciding right now to prepare Troughs and begin amending with llama manure and fresh compost for next year!

Today's Labor Day task: rip out the garden! Roast tomatoes!

Concord grapes soon : ) Do you?

deb meyers

~j~ said...

I am definitely trying the trench method next planting season so then I will have tomatoes to roast! :)
Great tips Sandy! Thank you.


Ms. Tee said...

Oh, these look delicious! I have never tried to grow tomatoes before - but this is definitely motivation to try. Your photos are beautiful. :)

Kristen Andrews said...

I planted tomatoes and a squirell ate every single one of them!

nel said...

Looks delicious and so simple! Going to try this one.
Nel x

Elizabeth said...

We are birds of a feather when it comes to tomatoes, Sandy!

We do the trench-planting method. We also have an almost identical tomato roasting recipe. We haven't canned tomato sauce for the last couple years, thanks to finding this much-easier roasting method. Our counter top is fully of warm garden-fresh tomatoes (and eggplant, zucchini, cabbage, carrots, and peppers), and I expect the tomato roasting will begin soon! :)

Org Junkie said...

I've just learned how easy it is to roast peppers so I may have to move on to tomatoes next. I'm feeling very domesticated these days LOL.

Melissa @ The Inspired Room said...

Oh, yummy! You always have the best sounding things here! I put you on my favorites on stumbleupon :-) because you are one of my most favorites!

Hope you've been well...I've been unusually busy towards the end of this summer and don't really see an end in sight. Sigh. Oh well...God is good and I take it all as blessings.


A Woman Who is: said...

I do trench, but I haven't roasted...but I will =] Thanks!

Christy said...


I have a little surprise for you on my blog

Sgt and Mrs Hub said...

Oh my goodness!! Roasting tomatoes sounds amazing. I wish, wish, wish I had a farmer's market I could hit up for the tomatoes. I would roast in a heartbeat. I make my own sauce whenever i need it, and a lot of our favorite recipes are tomato based. The roasted tomatoes would be perfect. Maybe I will be brave and do a garden next year... The soil is clay here so I don't know...


Lisa said...

Your tomatoes look wonderful!

Dee Light said...

My mom and dad always plant a garden, and share the produce with us. I have been makeing Roasted Tomatos as well. They are so good on sandwiches!!

Julie said...

I want to know more about this. I canned 24 jars of tomatoes this year. It was my very first time of canning.

Do you have to get the seeds out? Do you have to freeze them in special bags?

I might just go buy another box of them to freeze....tell me more...


Elizabeth G. said...

Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe and cooking/storing idea with tomatoes. I have tons and will be doing lots with them.

When you have time, stop by my blog for a link to a wonderful website/blog that is having "Fall Nesting Week", which includes wonderful decorating ideas and a Give-Away!

Take care,

Deborah said...

I've never heard of the trenching method. I think that we have super rich soil, though, because we've already harvested hundreds of tomatoes, with probably hundreds more to go! Our families have been very happy, because they've got to take so many of them!

Lynn@ The Vintage Nest said...

Trenching was the way I was taught to plant tomatoes. And have always had huge healthy tomato plants. Definitely going to try your recipe with my end of season tomatoes. :)

Wendy said...

I just found this site and love it!!! Just a note to the gardener whose tomatoes were devoured by squirrels. I can relate-squirrels get all our produce, except they don't seem to ike arrugula. I finally had to build cages around the beds .Still working on them. Using PVC and making four foot square boxes to put over the garden seem to be the way to go.