Usually this time of year I'm so overrun with Sungold tomatoes that I resort to throwing them into a zipper bag and throwing the zipper bag into the freezer. This deep into September, I've usually slow-baked tray upon tray of cherry tomato nuggets, and by this point, I'm just in a frenzy to get my bigger tomatoes sauced and frozen for the winter. I almost always have one pot of diced tomatoes being softened on the flame, and another pot of sauce that's been through the food mill and is now cooking down into a thick sweet paste that I freeze into cubes and use all winter. This year...well, you know what happened this year.
We certainly do not have any bags of Sungold in the deep freeze for tossing into soups and sauces. But we do have a little of our January mental-health remedy: Sungold tomato nuggets. They ward off Seasonal Affective Disorder, which in our case would be brought on not only by lack of sunshine but also by lack of sunshine-y tomato flavor-burst nuggets to sprinkle on our pasta, pizza, and even the occasional hot bubbling cheese spreads.
A few tiny jars represent our entire winter stock, but what a comfort it is to open the freezer door and see them preserved for when we most need them.
If you are in a part of the world where tomatoes are abundant and if you don't mind a little up-front labor, here's a recipe that will be a remedy for most all that ails you in the deep-darks.
Halve Sungold tomatoes (or another flavorful cherry tomato). Scoop out the seeds (and feed the seedy slurry to the chickens...)
Place the tomato halves cut side up on a baking tray.
For two quarter-sheet trays of tomatoes (or one regular cookie sheet), mix together a fluid paste of:
3/4 cup good olive oil
4 tablespoons of grated parmigiana cheese
2 (or more, to taste) cloves of garlic, crushed and minced
fresh thyme leaves stripped off the stems (or oregano if that's more to your liking)
With a little spoon, dribble the paste into each of the tomato cups.
Bake in a 250 or 300 degree Fahrenheit oven. Use your judgment. You want it to be a slow heat that will slowly caramelize the tomatoes into something like a tomato raisin -- a tomato raisin, that is, with an additional little explosion of juicy, savory olive oil.
Freeze them in jars and keep them in an easily accessible bit of the freezer because you'll want to grab a few now and then to give a flavorful lilt to toast with ricotta cheese or a broiled slab of French feta or zucchini pizza or... The possibilities are truly endless.
Oh, I do miss the tomato sauce bubbling away, especially the aroma that drifts all the way up to the attic and out to the garden itself. But at least we have our little bit of captured tomato essence in six little jars on the freezer shelf.