What to do with a glut of tomatoes and courgettes…

September 3rd 2015
By: Melanie Hollidge

The end of August and beginning of September has brought a real autumnal feel that acts as a reminder that we need to start planning for the winter months ahead. If you have a vegetable plot you will probably have a glut of tomatoes and courgettes and rather than giving them away you can conserve them and enjoy them throughout the winter months. So here are a few ideas on how you can preserve your vegetables to enjoy this winter:
If you want to preserve them in their raw state you will need to blanch them in hot water, and lay them on a flat tray in your freezer before you bag them up – this prevents them from going mushy.
Dry them:
Cut the courgettes into thin rounds, before adding to a baking sheet to dry out – put your oven on the lowest setting and cook for about 12 hours or overnight, then remove and add them to an airtight container.
Make a chutney:

500g Tomatoes (chopped)
500g Courgettes (chopped)
1 Onion (chopped)
100ml White wine vinegara
150g Demerara Sugar
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
2 cloves Garlic (chopped)

Place all ingredients into a pan, heat until sugar is dissolved then cook slowly for 30 mins or until sauce resembles syrup. Place into clean jars.
The best way I find to freeze tomatoes is to whizz them up in a blender and put them into freezer bags and seal, putting in approximately the right quantity so that you can add them to a bolognese, pizza topping, or whatever you intend to use them for during the winter months.
I like to make batches of tomato sauce and then jar them. Take about 8 large tomatoes (finely diced), 1 onion, dessert spoon of tomato paste and a clove of garlic. Dice the onion and cook on a low temperature for around 10 minutes, then add the garlic for about 1 minute. Then put in your tomatoes, tomato paste and some mixed herbs and cook for around 25 minutes, cool and then add to sterile jars. The easiest way to sterilise a jar is to make sure they are clean and then place them in an oven on the hottest temperature. Then leave them for about 20 minutes, turn the oven off and when completely cool add your ingredients.
Slow roasted tomatoes added to jars:
Thinly slice your tomatoes, place on a baking sheet and roast for a few hours on a low temperature until they have dried out. It gives the tomatoes a really good depth of flavour similar to sun-dried tomatoes. Once cooked place in a sterile glass container.