Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Preserving Tomatoes, part 2

As I mentioned in my first post about preserving tomatoes, I am overwhelmed by all the tomatoes I have this year from my vegetable garden. I am determined not to let any go to waste. And, since I am afraid of canning and have limited freezer space, I need to be smart about my preservation methods.

Oven-drying tomatoes is, hands down, the best way to save a lot of tomatoes in a small amount of space. But I need to be realistic – there are only so many oven dried tomatoes two people can eat in a winter.

So my second method for saving tomatoes is freezing them. This is a fast, simple way to save tomatoes. And, although it takes up more space in the freezer than the oven-dried, it still takes a lot less space than freezing whole tomatoes.

Here is the process:

After washing the tomatoes and cutting away any bad parts, place them in boiling water for a minute. Then remove and place in an iced water bath.

preserving tomatoes - local food from my vegetable garden
preserving tomatoes, local food from my vegetable garden
This will make it easy to remove the skins – do so.

preserving tomatoes, local food from my vegetable garden
Then, grab the tomato and squeeze it over the sink. Lots of juice will come out. Some people save the juice and use it for another purpose, I did not.

preserving tomatoes, local food from my vegetable garden
Once you have a big pile of tomatoes, throw them in a zip-lock bag. Label the bag, remove as much air as possible, and pop it in the freezer! You now have crushed tomatoes waiting to be thawed.
preserving tomatoes, local food from my vegetable garden
That’s it! The whole process takes less than 30 minutes.

The only other thing you might want to consider is using a series of small bags and putting a cup or two of tomatoes in each bag – that way you have pre-measured portions that you can pull out of the freezer when you need them. I did not do this, but probably will next time.

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