If you are like me, you spend all year waiting for tomato season. Once a winter you cave and buy shitty, watery, made in Guatemala tomatoes when the need for a BLT outweighs the need to eat local, and curse every bite because it will taste so much better in August.
Than summer comes and good tomatoes start popping up in the grocery store and you will buy them up, like a mad man who just discovered tomatoes are Superman’s real kryptonite. You will eat tomatoes by the fistful and incorporate them into every dish you make because you know, soon they won’t be around and you will miss them terribly. Than your tomato plants start producing and you have sun-grown tomatoes just steps from the door, and you pick them regularly, promising not to let one go to waste, to enjoy every delicious bite before they are gone for another year. Soon kind neighbors stop by with extra fruit overflowing from their own tomato plants and before you know it you have too many tomatoes, and some are turning soft and bruising. The ebb and flow of tomato season.
The question quickly becomes, what to do in late August when you have tomatoes coming out of your ears and more going mushy on your counter top. You put em up! I can the sturdiest tomatoes in water and keep jars for making sauce and soup, but the soft almost overripe tomatoes get a second life as tomato paste. I discovered this in a moment of genius last summer when I thought: “I would rather die than watch these tomatoes, which I grew with my own two hands, rot.” I quartered and cored the tomatoes, seasoned lightly with salt and simmered on the stove top, low and slow for hours until the tomatoes break down and the water evaporates and all you are left with is deep rich tomato paste, perfect for all Fall’s stews and braises.
Once the tomatoes become paste, let cool and fill in an empty ice cube tray. Freeze overnight and than keep the tomato paste cubes in a plastic bag in the freezer. The perfect amount of tomato paste in waiting for you to defrost as you need it.