Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Preserving Tomatoes

At this time, we have large red and yellow tomatoes ripening much faster than we can pick and consume.  We try to pick them while they still show a hint of green and let them fully ripen on the kitchen table.  Our fresh tomatoes are never put into the refrigerator; however, some of the tomatoes end up in the freezer for using later.

For freezing, we select the firmest and most flawless of the tomatoes.  The other day, I put whole tomatoes with the skin intact into the freezer, no blanching necessary.  You may want to put the tomatoes on a cookie sheet, put them into the freezer, and then put them into a bag and back into the freezer.

To remove the skin from the tomatoes, immerse them into boiling water for no longer than a minute or until the skin rupture.  Remove them from the hot water, chill under cold tap water, and let the tomatoes cool until you can handle them without burning your fingers.

Gently remove the skin, put the tomatoes on a cookie sheet and into the freezer, remove when frozen, bag them, and put them back into the freezer for use at a later time.

You may use whole tomatoes with skin or without skin for freezing.  Yo may slice and dice them--whatever suits you best and put them into the freezer.  I prefer skinless tomatoes.  How about you?

When the tomatoes are thawed, the are mushy; therefore, they are best used in stews, soups, gumbos, spaghetti sauces and in other dishes that call for tomatoes.

When using tomatoes with skin, you might find the skin a little bit hard, difficult, or annoying to eat in an otherwise smooth dish.

You may also want to make juice by quartering or even cut into eights and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, then press through a sieve to strain.  I don't mind if I have small bits of tomatoes in my juice.  I would store this in the fridge and use within a short time.  I can't quite see putting the juice into the freezer.

Check out the "National Center for Home Food Preservation" for additional information.

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