Preserve the Taste of Summer: Tomato Conserva

Tomato season will soon be over, but there is still time to make a few jars of tomato conserva, a concentrated tomato paste that tastes nothing like canned. Kept in the fridge, it will add the essence of summer to even the darkest days of winter cooking.

The conserva starts with at least five pounds of tomatoes, which are chopped, briefly sauteed, and run through a food mill. The resulting puree is poured into a rimmed sheet pan and baked in a low oven for about seven hours, until it is thick and shiny. Stored in the refrigerator under a layer of olive oil, the conserva lasts for months, flavoring soups, stews and risottos until tomato season returns. It's even good enough to spread on toast!

Get the recipes:
Capture the Sun at the LA Times: Includes a few recipes for dishes using the conserva.
Tomato Conserva at The Dinner Files: Basically the same recipe as the LA Times, but with more photos of the process.
Essence of Tomato â€" ‘Strattu, Estratto, Conserva at Hunter Angler Gardener Cook: An even longer-cooked variation of conserva, called 'strattu.

Have you ever made tomato conserva? What's your favorite way to preserve tomatoes?

Related: The Easiest Way to Preserve Tomatoes: Freeze Them!

(Images: The Dinner Files)