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Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

This is a wonderful way to keep tomatoes for future use in salads or pizza. The recipe may be halved, or even doubled.

20 ripe Roma or other Italian plum tomatoes

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1 tablespoon kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (plus enough to cover tomatoes for canning)

20 large basil leaves, washed and patted dry

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.

Cut tomatoes in half vertically. Use your fingers to scoop out the seeds and juice, but leave the fleshy middle dividers in place.

Place the halves in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper, then coat them with olive oil.

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Place tomatoes, cut-side up, on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 8 hours. Do not open the oven during this period.

Remove tomatoes from oven and allow to cool.

Layer tomatoes into clean, pint-size glass canning jars, alternating with basil leaves (about five per jar). Cover tomatoes with olive oil, leaving 1/4-inch extra oil on top. Tap the jars to dislodge air bubbles.

Tightly screw on clean lids. Place the jars into the refrigerator, where the tomatoes will keep for up to 2 months.

Bring to room temperature before eating.

After eating the tomatoes and basil, you can use the olive oil for salad dressing or sauting.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society