A certain ambiguity takes over when tomato season comes bursting in. Vine ripened, locally-grown tomatoes are hands-down the best veggie in the world. Not only are they delicious sliced and eaten on their own, but they also lend themselves to so many cooking applications. Just image what Italian or Indian food looked like before Columbus brought back this versatile fruit to the Old World—a dull culinary landscape for sure!
But as much as I love tomatoes, the short season can transform me into a galley slave as my inner ant kicks in, and I begin to work feverishy to squirrel them away in anticipation of the winter months to come. While I am passionate about preserving, canning 22 pounds of tomatoes could steal anyone’s joy.
That is why gazpacho is such a blessing. Not only is it a refreshing, easy-to-make, ready-to-eat, delicious cold soup, but it also freezes very nicely. I know what you’re thinking–more processing?! But relax. Gazpacho doesn’t require the hullabaloo of removing skins, and you get a preserved product at the same time you made dinner.
- 1 small clove garlic
- ¼ cup fresh chopped herbs (any combination of basil, tarragon, parsley, dill, oregano or chives)
- 2 or 3 slices stale bread
- 1 small red onion, quartered
- 1 lbs. cucumber, peeled and de-seeded
- 2 lbs. tomatoes, cored and de-seeded
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 T red wine vinegar
- salt and black pepper to taste
- Add ingredients one by one to a food processor or blender and puree. If you don't have a food processor, finely chop ingredients and mix. Serve with bread, cheese or summer sausage for a light quick meal.
Preserve It: Place gazpacho in freezer-safe bags or plastic containers in desired proportions, then label and freeze. I like to put the gazpacho in 1 – 2 cup plastic containers leaving 1-inch headspace for expansion in the freezer. I use these later in packed lunches. They keep the lunch cool while defrosting.