Posted by: dinainsuburbia | September 3, 2008

What to do with all those tomatoes????

My mother planted WAY too many tomato plants this year.  She came over my house with about 15 pounds in a wooden bowl and asked me to do something with them.  Of course, I have my own tomato plant in a container on my patio- but only a small cherry tomato plant with a small yield that was good for my favorite tomato, cucumber, red onion, and basil salad.

But what to do with 15 pounds of tomatoes?  I did some online research and found a method to can fresh, chopped tomatoes.  But the processing time was 40 minutes.  Did I really want to have water boiling for that long in my kitchen?  Way too hot!  So what I did was followed all the canning instructions, but froze the resulting mash of tomatoes instead.  So, this coming winter when I want to make a pot of sauce, I already have the crushed tomatoes waiting- just defrost and go.

Wanna know what I did?


Wash all tomatoes thoroughly (duh). 

Fill a stock pot with water and bring to a boil.  Prepare an ice bath in another stock pot with cold water & ice cubes (enough to submerge your biggest tomato).

Once stock pot comes to a rolling boil- drop 3 or 4 tomatoes in.  Leave for about 30 seconds and then plunge directly into ice bath for another 30-40 seconds.  This will allow you to take off the skins easily.  Don’t put more than 4 tomatoes in the boiling water at a time or it will drop the temperature of the water and you’ll wind up with mushy insides and still intact skins.


Once all tomatoes are skinned- half each and deseed with your finger and squeeze out extra  juice.  You can save this juice if you want- sort of a fresh tomato juice to make bloody marys with if that’s your thing.  I put all the halfed, de-seeded tomatoes in a colander while I worked on the rest to allow a little more juice to come out.


When they are all done- empty out the boiling water and return the pot to the stove.  On medium heat, put in the tomatoes and cook down, breaking with the back of your spoon.  I simmered for about 20 minutes, until the mixture reduced by 1/3rd.  If you want to concentrate further, you can reduce by 1/2.  I added 5 fresh basil leaves at the end and let the mixture cool to room temperature.


Once cool, transfer to a freezer zip lock  (or zip locks depending on how much you want in each bag).  Make sure all your air is out before you freeze and you are good to go.  You’ll have fresh tomatoes for sauce on a winter day!


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