The warm Fall has turned to cool Fall. The tomato plants are mostly dead, though the Romas continue to ripen as they hang on desiccated plants. We store Romas with three techniques. First, we bring in crates of unripened fruit that slowly redden off of the vine in the barn. We have eaten fresh tomatoes stored this way a couple of weeks into December.
The bulk of the tomatoes that we put by for winter are canned. Sara has canned as many as 100 quarts of sauce and salsa for one season - this takes hundreds of pounds of fruit. This season she canned about 70 quarts which will generally last us until June.
Drying and oil packing is the third way. I halved, the firm but ripe Romas, and dried them on sheet pans in the oven set to 200 degrees. The tomatoes dried in about 15 hours. Some I have kept dry in jars, while others were packed in olive oil. Oil is an excellent storage medium and oil cured tomatoes richen winter sauces and spread nicely on crostini. In parts of Italy oil packed tomatoes are served on there own as a simple appetizer.