How to Stew Tomatoes

Have more tomatoes than you can handle? See pictures of international tomato recipes.

The autumn bounty of homegrown garden tomatoes by the bushel almost seems unfair because there are often too many to use before they spoil. Imagine the bright, flavorful goodness of a wedge of ripe tomato as the side dish for your scrambled eggs, grilled ham and cheese sandwich or dish of Welsh rarebit. Instead of being a seasonal pleasure, you can have the intense flavor and sun-seasoned goodness of tomatoes from your own garden all year long.

Clever cooks have come up with some fast, sophisticated and diabolical ways to make tomatoes a year-round staple, but none packs more flavor and comfort food appeal than stewed tomatoes. The concept is simple: clean tomatoes, cut them into sections, add a few flavor enhancers like salt, pepper and sugar, and cook them long enough to for their flavors to deepen. Twenty minutes at a light simmer will do it, but some seasoned cooks make it an all-day affair to give their stewed tomatoes added richness and depth.

Stewing tomatoes is a wonderful way to turn a big tomato harvest into hearty winter fare or the secret ingredient in prepared spaghetti sauces, stews, minestrone or chili. Once prepared, stewed tomatoes will hold well in the fridge for a few days. They're a great canning and long-term freezing candidate, too. If your tomatoes are plump, juicy and ready for a makeover, you can stew them to perfection either on the stove, in the oven or in a slow cooker. You'll be surprised at how easily you can integrate soft, succulent fresh stewed tomatoes into your recipes. They'll keep their vivid flavor and make a lively addition to your cooking ingredient arsenal.