Preserving Tomatoes: The Basics: Part One
Updated: Sep 1, 2021
“Homegrown tomatoes homegrown tomatoes
What'd life be without homegrown tomatoes
Only two things that money can't buy
That's true love and homegrown tomatoes.”
Grow tomatoes yourself, get them from a friend’s garden if you are so fortunate, or source 1/2 bushels from a trusted local farmer, but get some summer lusciousness into your freezer and pantry for off-season eating.
Store bought tomatoes are not acceptable product for preserving. They have been shipped from somewhere and refrigerated, probably gassed to ripen after being harvested while still green. They are ruined.
Yes it takes time and yes you need to invest in equipment. So decide if your culinary life is worth it. My absolute opinion is yes, it’s worth it. You’ll never eat a store bought canned tomato again. You will have frozen in time, literally, the tomato taste that cannot be found in any market for any price by winter. And because food is love, your preserved tomatoes make perfect holiday gifts.
I’ll be showing simple ways to process both Roma tomatoes and classic beefsteak tomatoes for freezing and canning. Deep chest or upright freezers are not terribly expensive and are an easy way to preserve all seasonal fruit and vegetables. You can freeze just about anything and retain good quality. Did you know that you can freeze pretty much anything in a Mason jar? Roma, the small, oval tomato, is a high pulp, low water, low acid tomato. It’s perfect for pasta sauce and pizza. I roast it with garlic and olive oil to deepen its flavor and then freeze it in Ziplock bags.
The classic beefsteak tomato is very fresh, juicy, acidic. It’s winter uses are for stir fry, soup, stew, chili, tacos, casseroles, any time you want a fresh tomato taste. These are great simply over rice with salt and pepper. I can it up in Ball jars using a water bath method, no need for a pressure cooker. You can also freeze them.
Sourcing excellent tomatoes and preparing them properly for preserving is an art form. it’s simple and anyone can do it. If you love great food and great tomatoes, preserve them.