One of the things I miss most about summer is fresh picked 'tommys' (uhm yes, that's what I call 'em) from my garden.
I go through a literal depression when there are no more to pick so before it's too late I make a massive batch of this utterly amazing and ridiculously simple tomato sauce which I freeze in mason jars, and use all winter long.
Seriously a bowlful of this deliciousness is like a warm hug, so ya might want to keep on reading....
All ya gotta do is roughly chop up a bunch of tomatoes (let's say a dozen of them, but you can do more) and yes you can leave the seeds and pulp in. Toss in a handful of garlic cloves, a generous schmear of olive oil, and a good sprinkle of sea salt and ground pepper. Spoon this mixture into a baking dish, and 'bobs your uncle'.
Cook them on very low heat for about 5 hours. For my oven, the lowest I can go is 175 Fahrenheit. I give them a stir every now and again. Cook until they are soft, smushy, sweet and tangy... like when they've lost their raw acidic taste.
Depending on your oven, you might have to cook 'em longer than 5 hours (or less) so be sure to stir the pan every hour or so. If you have a dehydrator, you can also use it instead of an oven.
You might think to yourself, gosh 5 hours is a long time but unlike cooking them at a high heat this will help your lovely little 'tomats' to pass onto you the maximum amount of their nutrients -- my most favourite of which is lycopene!
Lycopene is actually a phytochemical which gives tomatoes their distinctive red colour. Red and orange colored fruits such as pumpkin, carrots, and citrus fruits also contain lycopene and carotenoids which will help you improve antioxidant levels by maintaining the strength, thickness, and fluidity of cell membranes.
A huge bonus is that they also help to combat free radicals that are produced due to over-exposure of the sun. Yup, you read that right... they literally help protect your skin from UV rays. They are also well-known to help prevent many forms of cancer!
After cooking, all you have to do is mash them up or if you prefer a lighter (not-so-chunky texture) just give 'em a purée in your blender.
Serve them with pasta, as a thick rich soup, as a base for sauces, stews (think chili :) and/or as a low sugar alternative to ketchup!
I also like to a sprinkling of fresh herbs like finely chopped basil, parsley and/or even kale. Oh, and for a protein kick, serve with a dollop of hummus.
Just think, in a matter if seconds you can serve yourself a high fibre, low glycemic, immune enhancing, extremely satisfying, nutrient-rich, skin friendly dinner.