Putting Up with Winter Is a Lot Easier When You Know How to ‘Put Up’ the Harvest

Each year, Tracy Stoloff hosts a “put up party” in Montauk, where she, family and friends preserve the summer harvest and celebrate with a Baja-inspired feast.

In the dead of winter when the trees are showered with powdery snow and the fireplace flickers an orange glow throughout the living room, the one thing that may be missed from summer is the fresh produce. But what if the end-of-summer bounty could still be enjoyed while cuddled up beneath three blankets, as the outside thermometer reads 22 degrees?

Well, Tracy Stoloff of Night Owl Bakery has quite possibly found the perfect way to make these winter dreams a reality—by hosting a “put-up party.”

Guests of Stoloff’s most recent “put up party” sipped on smoky mezcal cocktails (recipe below).

Every year, Stoloff gathers with family and friends in early fall, each person “putting up” their surplus produce. The extra tomatoes that never made it into the sauce, the tomatillos no one knew what to do with, the overflow of veggies that just weren’t used. With all that excess produce, they make sauces or salsas, canning whatever is still left, for enjoyment throughout the winter. Stoloff’s recipe of choice? Fire-roasted salsa.

Read more: The Loaves and Fishes of Montauk

Nothing is more warming in the dead of winter than fire-roasted salsa made from summer harvest leftovers.

“It’s something that I do with friends, light a few fires outside, get a lot of bulk vegetables. It only works with friends and family, when it’s a community effort,” she says.

Nothing will warm you up in the dead of winter quite like a bright-red salsa made from produce that may have ended up in the garbage.

“Waste not, want not” has never looked (or tasted) more beautiful.

“It brings such a great sense of accomplishment, to open up a jar of this really freaking good, so delicious sauce that you can add to any kind of food throughout the winter.”

Just make sure to follow her advice and “hold a few jars back for March.”

Friends and family toast to a fruitful summer, the flavors of which they’ll enjoy now for months to come.


Tracy Stoloff’s Tomato Red Fire Roasted Salsa

Yield: 10 cups

Never wonder what to do with all your extra tomatoes again.


  • Vegetable oil for roasting
  • 10 large tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 medium white onions, quartered
  • 2 heads of garlic, peeled
  • 4 dried ancho chiles
  • 10 dried chiles de árbol or cayenne chiles (optional, for heat)*
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt, to taste

* For a darker salsa negro, use 3 pasilla chiles along with the ancho chilis.

Note: Remove the stems and seeds from all dried chiles before using. To do so, cut them lengthwise with scissors, loosen and then shake out the seeds from inside.


  1. In a cast-iron skillet, heat oil. Roast tomatoes in the skillet, shaking the skillet to loosen and cook the tomatoes until blackish burn spots arise, then set aside.
  2. Roast onions and garlic in the skillet, again shaking the skillet to loosen and cook until blackish burn spots arise, then set aside.
  3. Roast chiles quickly in the skillet (they will puff up quickly), taking care not to burn, approximately 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Blend together all ingredients to desired thickness, adding water if necessary. Process with canning instructions for pantry storage, or store in glass jars in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.


Tracy Stoloff’s Salsa Verde

Yield: 10 cups

Begin by roasting the tomatillos.


  • 5 pounds tomatillos
  • 3 large Spanish onions, quartered
  • 2 heads of garlic, peeled
  • 10 fresh jalapeño peppers
  • 5 serrano peppers*
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 3 large bunches cilantro
  • 1½ teaspoons salt

* To obtain desired level of heat, add the serrano peppers one at a time and taste.


  1. Roast the tomatillos whole until softened and with burn spots, then set aside.
  2. Roast onions and garlic until spotted with black burn spots, then set aside.
  3. Roast peppers until blackened and burned, shaking skillet.
  4. Combine all the ingredients and blend them together, adding water if necessary to obtain desired thickness.
  5. Process with canning instructions for pantry storage, or store in glass jars in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.


Ryan Flynn’s Vintage Smoke Show Cocktail

Yield: 1 cocktail

Ryan Flynn, co-owner of Salt & Barrel in Bay Shore, is the brains behind this beautiful cocktail.


  • 2 ounces Mezcal
  • 1 barspoonful of coconut nectar
  • 1 ounce fresh-pressed lime juice


  1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Give it a good shake, then pour into pretty vintage stemware (if you have it).
  3. Garnish with a mint leaf and, if you have any on hand, a seasonal flower.