Went to a local farm in a neighboring town and picked up 6 lb gorgeous tomatoes ($1.75lb) along with a big celery with tons and tons of leaves ($1) and two small pickling cukes ($1). All for under $13.50!
As soon as I returned home, I washed and chopped the tomatoes into halves/large chunks and put them in the oven to slow roast @ 260F.
Never ever throw away fresh celery leaves when you buy them fresh at the farm or farmer’s market. They dry out so easily in a low oven and will keep in a air-tight container for awhile. Use like any dry herb, for soups, sauces, etc. Penzey’s Spices charges over $8 for a 4 oz bag of celery flakes and the dried leaves work just as well!
Just tear off most of the deep green celery leaves (thin stalks too), rinse and spin dry. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet and into the (260F) oven. I had mine drying along with the tomatoes.
Watch the celery leaves in the oven, remove when they get crispy and can crumble completely in your hands. It takes about 30 – 45 minutes. Then allow to cool (only takes a few minutes) and crumble the leaves and stems into an air-tight container or plastic baggie. They keep for awhile, but will lose flavor the longer you keep, just like other dried herbs.
Back to the tomatoes. It’s about 2-3 hours to roast the tomatoes, and once they’re all roasted to sweet goodness, allow them to cool. I transferred into quart freezer bags, ready to use in the winter months when I’m longing for fresh tomato sauce! You can also freeze fresh (uncooked) tomatoes. I just core them and freeze them whole. Works great!
I’ll probably buy more tomatoes from this farm and freeze those raw, but this time, I wanted to get them roasted up first.
Oh it will be soo nice to have summer tomatoes available for my tomato sauce in February…if they last that long!