Preserving Tomatoes Without Canning

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So now you want to learn about preserving your lovely batch of tomatoes fresh from the garden patch. First of all if you’ve gotten this far , Congratulations.! Even better you may have a bumper crop (yay!) and a good problem to have. An excess of tomatoes that you can’t use all in one whack. It happens. Now it’s time to preserve that bounty so you can enjoy them in the months and years to come. Isn’t gardening great?

If you are anything like me, are you lost on the many preservation methods out there> Maybe some of you do know about canning…someone in your family was good at this with the mason jars and paraffin wax. I’ll let you in on a little secret….I’m still learning and other that pickles and peppers, I’m not experienced in canning veggies either. But guess what there are other ways. I’ll tell you all about what I’ve been doing lately, and how to do each one.

Blanching

Blanching is the technique of putting food in a container to boil at a high temp for a short period of time than transfer them to cold water to seal in the freshness. One year, and I’m not sure when it was, l recieved a batch of tomatoes from my new neighbor (now we ‘ve been neighbors for about 5 years. And sometime later on I returned the favor, no doubt.) It was an off season for tomatoes, and I wanted to keep them for later, so I read up on the blanching process. Yes, I probably watched a youtube vido to do so. But the long and the short of it is this.

Gather up your tomatoes. Give them a good rinse-off in the sink to remove stray dirt, etc. Check them over for bad spots, trim all that part off, including soft spots, Remove remaining stems if any. Core them on the inside by removing the inside stem part , this is easy to do with a small paring knife. There’s a special coring tool that may work better, I forget what it’s called.

cutting and prepping tomatoes

Fill up a large pan with water and place each tomato in the pot one by one. Turn the heat on and wait for it to reach a boiling point. Let it boil for about 1-2 minutes and them have a slotted large spoon handy, then scoop them up one by one, and place in a bowl of cold water. This will preserve what you’ve done. The outer skins of the tomatoes will separate from the body and should peel off easily. You can add a pinch of salt and white vinegar . Let them cool and use whatever method of containing them you prefer, you can use Ziplock freezer bags, storage containers, that hold a quart or so. Make sure you label them.

They will keep in the freezer for around 6-8 months well. This is how you keep whole tomatoes. You know when you see these in the canned food section? This is pretty much how they may be packed. I’m sure you’re familiar with how tomatoes are categorized in stores. Diced, Whole, Paste, etc.

Afterward you can remove them and use them in any recipe you fancy. What they will do well in culinary wise, will have a lot to do with the type.

Preserving Tomatoes for Sauce

The best tomatoes to preserve are Romas, and mid sized. They are great for making pasta sauce. Although I’ve made spaghetti sauce with cherry tomatoes, so it can be done. I had a big number of them and it all added up.

Now here is how to preserve your tomato batch for sauce. Examine them all for bruises, flaws, bad sports, and cut them off. If you got any with blossom end rot, dont sweat t, it happens….you can cut that part off, but the rest is still okay for consumption. Since it is not caused by a fungus, it will not make you sick, but it is best to leave these out of your preservation endeavors. I got one with that and didn’t include it.

Minor flaws like splits down the middle, are no big deal, and can be included…

tomato flaws

Core them in the middle using your paring knife. Cut them in half and them fourths, and dice them up as I’m doing here. Once you h ave all of them sliced and diced add them to your large saucepan on pot. If you want to add some preservatives to it I would add a tablespoon of white vinegar. . I also added the following ingredients: fresh basil leaves, salt, oregano, thyme and parssely

Let it come to a boil on the stovetop then you may want to reduce the heat and let it simmer for awhile. I gave it about a half hour. At that point I turned off the heat and let it cool. You can get a glimpse of what you can expect Your mileage may vary of course and depending on the variety of tomatoes you used.

tomato sauce

Pour it into a storage container with airtight lid after it finally cools down. At this point you can freeze it it will keep well for about 6 months to a year roughly.

But that is a great way to turn your tomato stash into sauce and keep for the long haul. Enjoy!

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