Celebrating, Eating, and Preserving Tomatoes

It’s high summer and a new year, and at Cornersmith that means Tomatoes! Tomatoes on our menus, tomatoes in our jars and Tomato Day workshops! We spend most of January and February preserving tomatoes for later in the year.

Bottling tomatoes is what made Alex fall in love with preserving, which then kick started the beginnings of Cornersmith.

When Alex and our head fermenter, Jaimee, met they were trying to make the best food choices they could when feeding their young families. The more research they did about food additives and food miles, the less there was to buy at the supermarket! Suddenly canned tomatoes were off the shopping list because Aussie canned tomatoes, for the most part, have additives and the Italian cans travel too many food miles. There was nothing else to do but bottle tomatoes themselves.

One hundred kilos of tomatoes and 16 hours later, Alex and Jaimee had bottled enough tomatoes to get two families through winter without having to buy a single can between them. It was through her own Tomato Day that she realised that seasonal preserving was a traditional skill that was relevant in modern kitchens. While tomatoes are abundant and cheap, you should preserve them in all different ways, so you can enjoy a  delicious tomatoey meal in the dead of winter.

Put a weekend aside to make passata, oven dry tomatoes and store them in oil, pickle them, ferment them and fill you pantry with jars and jars of chutney, ketchup and tomato jam. If you aren’t sure where to begin or don’t have your Nonna’s recipe to fall back on, book into our Tomato Day workshop and let us show you how!

We also reccommend eating as many tomatoes as you can over the next few months. Cornersmith head chef Sabine has lots of great tips for storing and serving tomatoes.
Normally we are told to never store tomatoes in the fridge, but this can be quite impractical during Australian summers. Buy ripe tomatoes and take them out of the fridge 2-3 hours before eating them for maximum flavour.

Go to your local farmers' markets and discover heirloom and less standard varieties of tomatoes and the best ways to eat them!

Ox-heart are best eaten raw, or you can semi dry them in the oven

Roma or Field Tomatoes are great for passata

Cherry tomatoes are sweet and versatile for salads and lunch boxes

Heirloom verities such as Beams Yellow Pear, Black Russian, Green Zebra, Big Rainbow and Aunt Rub’s Green  - are best eaten raw, drizzled with a good quality olive oil, some sherry vinegar and a sprinkle of salt.