Preserve taste of summer with roasted cherry tomatoes

Roasted cherry tomatoes are little powerhouses of flavor – preserving them can provide a taste of summer year round.

There is nothing better than the fresh taste of summer in a cold winter night’s supper. The problem is it takes forethought and vision, not just while planning that evening’s meal, but way back during the summer.

I always loved the Audrey Hepburn quote, “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” I believe the same holds true when preserving the harvest.

Whether you plant a garden or support your local farmers and farmers’ markets in your area, the forethought to preserve the taste of summer is a gift that can show up in surprising ways. I see the people who spend countless hours during the summer canning, freezing, dehydrating, pickling, and the many other ways of preserving these delights, as having hope in the future. They know that their families will be reaping the rewards of this endeavor throughout the year to come.

If spending the day in a hot kitchen over boiling water and canning jars doesn’t appeal to you or if you can find little time or space to accomplish this task, I have some good news. You don’t have to dive into the deep end of the preserving process. How about just dipping a toe into the kiddie pool? A great place to start and the perfect way to get the most bang for your buck: roasted cherry tomatoes.

These little powerhouses of flavor can add a taste of summer to those soups, stews and pasta dishes we crave during the cooler months.

Cherry tomatoes always have had a special place in my heart and on my table. As a child, even when we didn’t have a full garden, my dad always planted several cherry tomato plants along our back fence. He planted a variety, including little yellow pear tomatoes. They were not only cute, but so tasty.

It was hard for me and the other neighborhood kids to not pick the vines clean before my mother had a chance to preserve them. After my dad had asked nicely that we leave some for my mom, he finally had had enough and decided to take action. He planted little red-hot peppers that looked just like those cherry tomatoes.

Needless to say, after running for the garden hose, we learned our lesson. I am not saying this was a good idea, but it sure worked.

I know this summer is unlike any we have experienced. It is hard to think about next week, let alone what we might be doing this winter.

Sometimes doing little things that inspire hope and faith in the future can help to create not only a positive mindset, but also to ground us to what really matters. The reward of a taste of the summer on a chilly winter evening may bring us back to that feeling of looking to the future with optimism. Even if it only brings happy faces at the dinner table, you will know that way back in August, you believed in tomorrow.

Kathy Nicarry is the former chef at Bernheim’s Isaac’s Cafe. Her healthy cooking style unites her passion for cooking with love of the natural world. She can be reached at kjsh956@yahoo.com.

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