What do you do with 9 lbs of home-grown tomatoes…especially when you have 30 lbs still to come?
Lots and lots of things. Besides the obvious fresh uses, I wanted to figure out some methods of preserving tomatoes. I don’t own nor do I have the cash for all the equipment needed to jar foods. BUT, I’ve got a tiny little freezer that’s just waiting to be crammed full of fruits and veggies.
Todays tomato lesson; a simple, yummy, garden fresh pasta sauce for your freezer.
To make this sauce (which yields about 48 oz of sauce), you need to peel your tomatoes. If want to freeze tomatoes whole with the skin on, all you have to do is freeze them in a ziplock and then run your frozen tomatoes under hot water. The skin will come right off…supposedly. Or you can freeze them after peeling them. Remember frozen tomatoes are to be used in cooking or baking. They will be too mushy for your salad or sandwich.
Here’s how to peel fresh tomatoes. Cut away stem and any bruised bits. Cut a X on both ends of the tomato.
Get a pot of boiling water going, and prepare a bowl of cold water (filled with ice). Pop one or two tomatoes at a time into the pot of boiling water.
You should be able to peel away the skin easily. If lots of the tomato meat is peeling away as well, you boiled it for too long. If it’s difficult to pull the skin off, you didn’t boil it long enough!
Since I didn’t go to all the work of seeding my tomatoes, I let them sit in a strainer over the sink to drain excess liquid, while I prepped everything else. (p.s. I got this sink strainer at IKEA a few weeks ago – $10 – I’ve used it almost everyday. Get one!)
To make the sauce, you’ll need to chop and saute one very large yellow onion (or two small), 5 garlic cloves, and a green pepper in about 1/4 cup vegetable oil. When translucent, add your chopped tomatoes and the following: 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons oregano, 2 teaspoons dried basil, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper and two 6 oz cans of tomato paste (I use the kind that comes with spices already in it).
Let cook on low for 1 to 2 hours, stirring frequently. Stop when you are satisfied with the consistency. It will become less and less chunky the longer it cooks.
Let cool and store either in zip-top baggies, wide-mouth glass mason jars (leave about 1/3 of the top empty), or do like I did and use some freezer tupperware. Pop in your freezer…and done.
Tomorrow I’ll share two different ways you can save all those cherry/grape tomatoes you are overwhelmed with.