I have way too many tomatoes this year. Because this is a new problem for me, what should I do to preserve and use them?
What I do is peel and freeze them to be used for sauce or even diced in a recipe like salsa. To do this, you should make a little X on the bottom with a sharp knife, then drop in a pot of boiling water for just enough time for them to split. Remove as soon as they split. Then you can either peel if you can handle the heat(I give a run under cold water to keep them from cooking), or cool in a bowl of cold water first. Freeze in heavy freezer bags, or better yet, use a sealer if you have one.
I cook up a lot of sauce with the harvest a batch at a time. I just let it cook all day. Once the tomatoes are mushy I run them through my Foley food mill and it takes out the seeds and skins. Then I add garlic, onion and Italian spices and cook on low so it thickens. Then I put it into meal sized freezer containers and freeze until we want to eat it.
You can remove the stems, wash and dry them and pop them into Ziploc freezer bags and put them in your freezer. When you take them out (whatever amount you need) just let them sit for a minute and the skins are easily removed....no scalding necessary. Then use them just as you would fresh tomatoes, to make Chili, Spaghetti Sauce, etc. I have even diced them into salads while a few ice crystals still remain..or to top your tacos. If your plants are still producing when frost threatens...pick all green tomatoes that are unblemished, and wrap each one in tissue paper or newspaper and place in a single layer in a
shallow box. Tuck them away in a cool dark place.(I put mine under the bed) Check them every few days and remove any bad ones, and enjoy them as they ripen. I have had fresh tomatoes from my garden as late as Christmas using this method.
Harlean from Arkansas
On busy days I throw tomatoes along with onion garlic and peppers into a crock pot and let it cook down into stewed tomatoes. Then when I have time in the evening I either can or place in freeser containers.
Dry then pulverize into tomato powder to use in cooking and to save space
my mom used to can them as catsup or juice- very good with popcorn - I would want to dice them & make salads or use in chili - your lucky you had so many - my 6 little plants did NOTHING this year & in the past 6 plants yielded enough for me to share with neighbors !
As my tomatoes ripen in the fall I "clean them up", by first of all, taking off the skins. Drop ripe tomatoes into boiling water. 30 - 45 seconds later remove form boiling water and drop into cold water. The skin should easily come off. I squish them into tupperware containers. Sometime in the winter I take out all the containers and let the tomatoes thaw. Then put through a sieve to remove all or most of the seeds. (I have a Victorio strainer. It is like a meat grinder only it is for fruit and vegetables.)
Now I have raw seedless and skinless tomato juice.
25 cups raw deseeded and deskinned tomato juice
5 cups minced onion
2 cups deseeded minced zucchini (skin optional)
1 cup minced deseeded green pepper
3 cans mushrooms (mince them) or 2 cups minced raw mushrooms
5 tsp basil
4 tsp minced dried garlic
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp allaspice
5 tsp oregano
2 tsp celery seed
3 Tbsp plus 1 tsp salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup vinegar
Mix all of the above in a large pot that will NOT stick on. Keep stirring every few minutes throughout the whole process. Boil for one hour. Then mix together:
2 cups brown sugar
3 tins 13 oz. tomato paste
3 tins tomato soup
Add to pot and boil another 10 - 15 minutes.
Wash the jars you will need (this batch makes about 12 jars). Place the jars in a 200F oven for 10 minutes to sterilize and leave in there now until you fill them later. Place the lids in a pot of water and bring to a boil. Boil lids for a few minutes and turn off the element, leaving the pot there on the element so it is ready for later.
Now you need to thicken the sauce. Mix 1/2 cup cornstarch into 1/2 cup water. Slowly add but always keep stirring (or you will get lumps in your sauce). Boil a few minutes. Not thick enough? Add more cornstarch mixture.
Now take a hot jar out of the oven. Pour some spagetti sauce into the jar until 1/2" to 3/4" from the top. Wipe the top of the jar clean and grab a jar lid from in your pot of the stove. Tighten and leave to cool. I use old cheese jars, spagetti jars, jam jars or any jar that has the built in sealer ring inside the lid. They reseal wonderfully. The lid will indent when it is cool and sealed. My kids prefer my sauce over any jar from the store or served in a restaurant.
40 cups tomato juice (raw, deseeded and deskinned)
7 1/2 medium onions, minced
1/2 cup salt
2 1/4 black pepper
1 Tbsp celery seed
1 Tbsp minced dried garlic
Boil one hour, stirring occasionally so as not to stick on.
2 cups margarine
2 1/4 cups cornstarch
2 cups water
lowly add stirring all the time so there will be NO lumps later.
Stir in 3 cups sugar.
Boil 5 more minutes, stirring constantly because the sugar and cornstarch additions will make the mixture stick to the bottom of your pot.
Fill hot jars from your oven (same procedure as above recipe). Wipe the top of the jar and put a hot lid on. Cool.
Makes 12 to 13 jars.
We prefer this soup to any store-bought tomato soup. Do not dilute to serve. Just pour into a bowl and warm up in the microwave.
These are two of my favorite tomato recipes. If you have any problems when making them, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have THAT many tomatoes, you could donate them to a local food bank.
Make sun-dried tomatoes in your car, (If your car is outside in the sun) sliced tomatoes about a quarter inch thick, that have been spray place on cookie sheets, with vegetable spray, sprinkle with minced garlic and basil, put them in your car in the morning making sure that they're sitting level, windows are up, you will need to turn the tomatoes over at least once so both sides will dry evenly, pending on how hot it is out this can take less than 1 day. The only drawback is your car smells good like an Italian restaurant this will go away when you roll down the windows and drive.
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