I just have to share this today. I’ve been carefully selecting the tomatoes I want to grow this year, and as I’m doing that, I’m thinking about how wonderful the tomato harvest finally was when it started coming in. At the time, this past year, I was regretful though that there wasn’t enough tomatoes at once to can a whole bunch of them. Oh, I have a few jars, but I never seemed to have a whole ton of tomatoes at one time. The one time I did have a plethora of tomatoes, I didn’t have the time to can them, so I put them in the freezer.
And I’m here to tell you that I will likely never can tomatoes again because of it.
See, when you can tomatoes, it’s a multi-step process. First, you core the tomato and then you blanch them. This quick blanching enables you to peel the tomato. So you peel. And then you plop your tomatoes in a sterilized canning jar, and once it’s full, you make sure you have all the air bubbles out, and then you go through the canning process. For tomatoes, that means a full 45 minutes in the boiling water canner- that’s a long time! And while one of my favorite things to see is a shelf lined with home-canned tomatoes, I found a process that’s even easier.
When I froze my tomatoes, I only took three steps, instead of a whole myriad of them. First, I washed and dried them, then I cored them, and then I popped them in a gallon freezer bag. That’s it. When the freezer bag was full, I sealed it up and put them in the freezer to freeze whole. Now as I’ve needed canned tomatoes for a recipe, I’ve been heading to the freezer. I pull out the freezer bags and fill a measuring cup with frozen orbs of tomato.
Then this sits on the counter for a few hours, or in a pinch, goes into the microwave for a defrost. Once thawed, they are very squishy, and the peels slide right off. Then I simply give the tomato a squeeze or two with my hand to crush them a bit, and voila, I have tomatoes to use for whatever I need. These happened to be destined for a pot of chili.
My one bit of advice is to make sure that you don’t discard any juices the tomatoes give off as they’re thawing. That’s tomato juice- and flavor. I’ve already determined that next year I’m freezing tomatoes, as long as I have the freezer space to do so.
Filed under: Uncategorized on January 7th, 2009